I'm a New Zealander married to a Canadian and cultural differences exist. They're subtle, granted, but nothing highlights how American Canadians are than the way they take to the stage. They bound up there like labradors; the big bowl of food being recognition and applause. Any audience will do. Like the know-it-all kids on those American TV shows their theatre sports confidence levels are just higher.
The Canadian I married is also a musician so being on stage is as comfortable as Sunday dinner at your parent's place, maybe even more so depending on your parents, but he went next level in New York.
"I think I'm going to go to a couple of open mics," he said to me, gesturing to a couple of comedy clubs we were walking past in Greenwich Village. His total research included sitting in for 15 minutes of comedy at one of them and deciding that New Yorkers are super friendly and totally supportive of people giving it a go. Besides all his friends tell him he should do it because he's funny. You know, the way all your good friends tell you that? I think that's the only way people decide on friends: are they funny? Does that mean we're all amusing? Or is there really a lid for every pot thing with people? I think it's the later because we're definitely not amusing to everyone we meet. Some people really dislike us. Some people really disliked him.
"SHUT UP!" an angry guy yelled at Tameem. His steroid pumped voice was not messing around. After failing to get any laughs for some minutes on his first go at it he had decided to insult the crowd, blaming them for not laughing. The "shut up" - lots of emphasis on the "sh" - created even more silence. A bubble of silence within a bubble of silence within a bubble of silence. He had to turn it around so out of his mental sleeve he pulled his dirtiest work. "Oh my god!" a woman gasped in a truly horrified whisper that was so full of emotion it carried across the silent audience to Tameem on his silent stage. This is where he got down and this is where he left but he didn't go home.
This is where most New Zealanders would go home, I'm pretty sure, but he's North American. So instead, crushed, he decided to go directly to the next open mic comedy stage and get up. It didn't put him off that some of the angry and hurt audience members from the first place were seated in the audience. Reviewing his notes he decided not to insult the crowd, but still had to try out the dirty joke that so offended the previous female. Much better. As well as affirming that New Yorkers are friendly he learned that Hasidic Jewish guys are funny.
Hasidic Jewish guy: "So our religion forbids us from watching television and people are always asking me: 'aren't you bored?