One day two things happened. My container of Silly Putty became available, and I’d written a fake newscast I was ready to perform at a weekly sketch show. I’d created a news anchor character at a small network who was very concerned about low ratings.
She tried to enhance viewership during a live broadcast by filling the studio with 4 month old kittens. When that didn’t work she made an appeal. If the audience didn’t start goddam tuning in, they’d be responsible for putting a broadcaster out of a job, leaving her with just a pearl necklace and a Hot Pocket. She glared into the camera and vaguely suggested a knife was on the set.
But on this particular night she fashioned a little Silly Putty pancake, rolled up a cute nipple and plopped it in the center, taped it over her clothes on top of her real boob, and then delivered the news as if absolutely nothing was askew.
The energy in the room changed. The audience felt awkward and didn’t know whether or not to laugh. They were looking at me for cues about how to respond but I didn’t rescue them by winking or letting them in on the joke; I felt people checking in with each other about how to act instead of trusting their own responses.
I wouldn’t want to create that environment often because I’d prefer that people enjoy themselves. In return, People often prefer entertainment to unwittingly taking part in a social experiment. But I wondered if there’s some mysterious, psychic audience agreement to conform that got slightly disrupted that evening. We’ll never know. Never!
Use your natural awkwardness, people, let it further your education like I did!