Diesen Monat haben wir eine Spendengala für den Dachverband der Clowns in Medizin und Pflege gefeiert. Ein online Event für alle und am Ende wurden insgesamt über 10000 Euro gespendet. Ich habe mit einer illustrierten Performance und Graphik Recording beigetragen. Hier sind erstmal nur ein paar Eindrücke von Social Media, die professionelle Aufzeichnung der Impulspiloten poste ich dann noch mal. Wer noch spenden möchte: macht das unbedingt schnell bis zum 31.12 dann könnt ihr es nächstes Jahr schon absetzen:-)))
Wie arbeiten Klinikclowns überhaupt mit Abstand? Ein Beispiel ist hier: klickediklick
Als Stand-up Comedian bin ich natürlich Fan von allem Artverwandten. Ich habe auch selber mal bei mehreren Clown Workshops mitgemacht. Oft war ich die einzige „vom Fach“. Und immer war ich die Schlechteste. Warum? Weil Stand-up Comedians und Comic Zeichnerinnen einfach total verkopft sind. „Was könnte ich als nächstes Lustiges sagen“. Aber Clowns denken (so) nicht, sie fühlen einfach, from heart to heart. Imagine Stand-up Comedians working in hospitals, ugh kill me now! Let’s support these clowns!
These past months I’ve been performing at digital art shows and virtual business events. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Invest in a basic set-up
Use a computer, avoid phones and tablets.
Get somebasic light: some have spots, which are easy to control. Softboxes make a cozy light, but take up more space. Some use rings, which are cheaper but also less flexible. Do some research what’s best for you, ask colleagues. Background: depending on the type of event I’d say find a neutral background. Sit on the „wrong“ side of the desk facing away from the wall. I personally find wallpaper charming so I did not buy a fancy background. I would advise against funky digital backgrounds, they make your hair look like distractingly bad photoshop and all I am thinking is “what is this person hiding???”. Mic: get one. Do some research depending on budget and personal taste. Or have at least a basic headset.
Rule of thumb: a cable is always more reliable than wireless. But too many cables are hell. You will have to demummify every time you use the bathroom. Find the sweet spot for your own sanity. Mine is two.
Get familiar with the audio settings of your computer and browser one day before the event. Ask the event organizer which browser they recommend for the video software.
Now you’ve prepared. Now let’s do the event.
Be always ready
Virtual events are volatile. A speaker might not show up and suddenly you’re on earlier. And then you say „oh shit“ and the 1000 attendees heard you. Sometimes the technical team presses a wrong button and accidentally throw you on the livestream without you knowing. So when you’re on, you’re on.
The camera is never off
When you’re off, you’re on, too. Even though you turned your camera and mic off, people might still hear and see you. Yep, these video apps have been quite leaky so once a camera is directed at you, it might be taping you. Even if you do not see yourself, even if you turned your camera off. My advice: a post-it on the camera. Or smile erratically the entire time:
Don’t make it weird
Yes, virtual events are weird. We all know it so you do not have to say it. It’s like at a show with only three people in the audience. If the host addresses how no one showed up, I want to leave immediately. The people who are there, in person or digitally, are at the right spot, at the right time. Now give them a feeling of appreciation and belonging. Don’t make it weird. If you feel weird yourself prepare yourself (see next points).
Do I look at them or at myself?
I do not know. Some only look at the camera (can be too intense), some only look at themselves (seems aloof). I like to let my eye wander, like I would at a live show. If I can control it, I place my own video under the webcam so it kinda looks like I am looking at the camera and can still control my performance if I feel like it.
Less is more
Attention online is limited even more. Anything that could distract from your performance will distract from your performance. I love a physical, powerful performance. But online, less is more. Sit still. No wild gesticulations. The audience’s internet might be low and then you just look like a glitch on the loose. Keep the volume even, do not give the people with headphones tinnitus.
But too little is even less: Be aware of how you appear in the frame. Can you use the space creatively? A white shirt on white background? Boring. Also: Get a big fluffy brush and neutral finishing powder. Throw it on your oily spots. The audience does not need to be reflected on your forehead. The nurturing brush also helps against anxiety.
What am I doing here?
You might ask yourself talking to yourself into the camera. Ask yourself instead: what do I want the (invisible) audience to say about my performance afterwards? Generally good advice for every performances. In the beginning of my career I would often hide in the venue’s bathroom after my performance to see what people really think of me. Ugh, I miss analog events.The plus side: you usually do not see your audience anymore and thus cannot focus on those faces, that tell you they hate you. Just imagine people being happy to be here with you. Think of what you have to say and why it is important. Then say it in a genuine, authentic, conversational way. No script reading or you will loose your audience to another tab open!
This is all new to everyone (ok except to youtubers) and you might be able to create some unprecedented performance art. Do not listen to my advice or anyone’s. Make your own mistakes and become a one of a kind performer. Digital events are full of mistakes so the audience is also more forgiving of yours.
It’s almost funny: Comedians write comedy but all they read is hate. Though it’s a problem theoretically easy to solve: Don’t write hate comments. Don’t read hate comments. But the problem with online hate for comedians lies deeper, beyond the comedian’s ego.
This week, I performed at a comedy show that is streamed online on youtube. From previous experiences the comments are brutal, so I’ve heard. Especially, and this shouldn’t be a surprise, for female comedians. But: more comments, more clicks. Right before I went onstage, one colleague read to me out loud the mean comments people wrote during his performance just minutes before. I wondered why he did that.
Because I don’t care if someone presses thumbs down on my videos. I don’t care if some dude leaves an expert comment like „unfunny cunt“. If you don’t like me, you’re probably not my target audience. Case closed. For me.
What I do care about is that hate online propagates hate in real life. It radicalizes, moves boundaries of what’s considered acceptable, away from empathy to apathy. Simply put, words matter. They change how we think and thoughts change how we behave.
People who write hate comments live among us like normal people. They don’t wear an asshole badge on their forehead. We sit on the same bus, work together, we might have matched on Tinder. Somewhere some guy, who insults me online, might go on a date. If she’s lucky, he shows his hate as bluntly as online. Worst case, he slowly dribbles his misogyny on a women, who might not have a hard-boiled fuck off attitude like me. I cannot protect these women and that makes me sick. My only hope: if you meet someone who lets your asshole radar ping: run, block, repeat! You’re better off alone.
Comedians often say they’re dead inside. In fact, I still feel something: pity – for those who tragically think their poisonous opinion online matters. Who waste their time hating instead of looking for something they love. Or have you ever seen jazz enthusiasts heckle a rap concert? I want to hug them, give them the attention they so badly need. Face to face. I want to show them love, listen to them, talk to them about what they find funny. What scares them, what do they feel threatened by? I want to look them into their eyes while we talk about hate. Marina Abramovic style. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for all of them.
So I can only say: Do not indulge in hate, but dare to show love.
In May, I was invited by the speaker convention Rednergilde to speak at their business and networking event in Hamburg. I performed a stand-up comedy set in combination with my cartoons. It was my first time performing at a nice, fancy business hall. And not like usually, inside a dingy back room in between passed out drunks. The theme of the night was “future” (in German “Zukunft”).
The first thing I did to prepare myself? I googled it!
Surprisingly, when you google picture search “Zukunft”, you only get signposts. Is creating the future as easy as following a signpost, as google suggests? Hint: no. Even more surprising: when you search for “future”, google picture only gives you images of a guy named Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn. He’s a rapper and his alias is future. He obviously wanted to challenge Search Engine Optimation. And succeeded. I’m happy when people google my name at all. And then find me.
It was fun creating a witty and insightful stand-up set about one certain topic. And now I’m a speaker. I only need other businesses to find me when they google “speaker, comedy, cartoons”. Let’s hope for the best. Until then, let’s have a look at some impressions of my performance, thanks to photographer Peter Walther (c).
The google search term, that (mis)directs most visitors to my page is: „Luke Mockridge Freundin“. (Luke is a German comedian and Freundin is German for girlfriend.) Since when did my website become just the girlfriend of someone else? Isn’t it so much more than just Luke’s girlfriend? His father maybe? (This is the first and only Star Wars reference on my website ok). So now, whenever my website gets extraordinary traffic, I get immediately suspicious. I mean I’m awesome but not that awesome that thousands of people a day check out my open mic dates. Damn right: Whenever visits go up, I found out it’s either Chinese hackers or Luke’s fans. (Don’t think they overlap).
According to google, there are four Ingrid Wenzels in Germany. One has a hardware store, one is a doctor and one runs a gay club in Bochum. I’m the comedian, just making sure okay. I get it why some look for a different Ingrid and accidentally find me. Just recently, a man emailed me and asked me if I can rent out the gay club to him. But also every day, people search something completely differently – not even remotely Ingrid-related – and still get directed to my website. And thanks to google analytics, I know now what these people were originally looking for.
How did it happened that my number one search term is “Luke Mockridge Freundin”? And why do people search/wish/are afraid that I’m Luke’s girlfriend? The answer is pretty dull. (And if you belong to the elite, that has read my old infamous blog, before it got hacked, you can skip this paragraph.)
Google’s algorithm simply mismatched my usage of the word “Freundin” in one of my old blog post with the picture of me and Luke from a comedyshow in another posting. So whenever you try to find out who his girlfriend is and click on “google picture search” – you’ll see that pic of me. To make matters even worse, it’s a pic where we hold hands – just for fun. It’s not what it looks like. I deleted my website months ago for safety reasons (damn hackers). But that rumor is still out there. The internet doesn’t forget. Not even rumors it created itself. So here’s the Corpus Delicti:
Besides that, these many searches may have changed the algorithm and thus the suggestions, that pop up after my name, when searching for me. You know, it’s like when you type into google “why are all Russians…”, “all men want…” and you’re shocked by what google presents you after those dots. Actually, nowadays you can sue google, if you’re not happy with whatever insults pops up after your name. So did Germany’s former First Lady, because google suggested “prostitute” for her name. One of my girlfriends googled my name recently and was suggested „Ingrid Wenzel girlfriend“. She was like „do they mean me?“. Or are people trying to figure out if I am a lesbian? I’m totally cool with it. As long as they stop googling “Ingrid Wenzel Weight” and “Ingrid Wenzel Age”. Like I’m sort of a quartet card game. “The Comedians edition”. Ah, my Louis CK card beats the Ingrid Wenzel card, in weight. But there are more absurd search words! May I now present to you marvelous search terms, that mislead people to my homepage:
Best of Search Words:
Even though I finally found an explanation for this “girlfriend situation”, I often can’t explain other search words. How big of a disappointment is my website to those, who got here searching „getting tattooedod today“ and „Männerstrip im Dorfkrug“. Sorry I can’t provide that (yet).
Other search terms are more personal, e.g. „wedding first night with Inge“.
I mean, I’m also dying to find out how my first wedding night will be. Maybe I should google it, too. Or maybe they were just searching for my favorite Baseball player Brandon Inge. And his wedding night. Which is weird, too. Unless there was some crazy Baseball action involved. Then I wanna know as well.
There are some more search words, which lead to me, that I’m actually happy about. Someone googled „room heater for comedy events“ and somehow got to me. Thanks I guess? Where I perform the room blows up. Also, do “room heater for comedy events” not work in other facilities?
Others are random like “bean art project”, “German party snack” and “DJ Ingeborg” (Granted: Sometimes, when I think my name „DJ Ingrid“ is too cool, I name myself „DJ Ingeborg“ to not intimidate people). One other recurrent search word theme is “trash”. Totally fine with that. I love trash. How else would I craft my collages and low budget birthday presents.
I now installed new SEO programs. Because Ingrid means big business. No, geez, I just hope to provide you with more silly search words soon! Keep googling!