2. Don’t Be Needy
People can smell any sense of urgency, and they’re easily turned off. An audience wants to feel like it’s in good, stable hands, and a comedian needs to exude that tone while putting aside her own insecurities. This rule of thumb applies to just about any attempt at persuasion. If I get the feeling that a person desperately wants something from me (not including one of my kids), I am more reluctant to give it up. For instance, when an agent goes overboard trying to ingratiate himself with me, I run the other way. So the next time you want something from someone (no matter how much), try acting cool and blasé.
Susie Essman, a stand-up comedian, is a regular cast member on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and the author of What Would Susie Say? ($25, amazon.com).