How to perform digitally

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 some basic 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! 

 

Be experimental

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.

Did I miss anything? Tell me please.

 

RoboCup Junior at Ideenexpo 2019 in Hanover

I’m on Comedy summer break which means I have time for other tasks – yay!  These past two weeks I worked for one of the world’s biggest youth fairs: Ideenexpo 2019 in Hanover. It’s basically a playground for future professions with a focus on technology, science, crafts and IT. I was moved to see young girls and boys naturally play with the exhibits like car racing, explosive chemical labs, wild robot arms. I wished there would have been an Ideenexpo when I went to school. Maybe I would not have become a comedian but an aerospace engineer.

My job was to host certain programs on stage as a member of the Impulspiloten entertainment team. Amongst others, I interviewed animal ethicist Prof. Hoppe and he explained how to reduce animal testing and the ownership of experimental cells. Masons described to me how they can never walk past a construction sight without looking at what exactly they are building. And a young paramedic told us what’s it like for her to drive an ambulance and rescue people.

I hope to get photos from the fair soon but for now I do have one video. Next to all the experimenting, 500 girls and boys from 21 countries came to the fair to enter the contest RoboCup Junior. Their self-constructed robots competed in disciplines like soccer, rescue and onstage entertainment. It was pure joy! For the opening ceremony I was asked to illustrate and animate a video of all contesting countries. My main focus was to stress every country’s uniqueness without being too on the nose. And I did not double- but centi-checked every flag. Too bad I was not able to see the show myself but I was told later that the teams jumped up and cheered when they saw their country on screen and I might have shed a tear when I heard that. Here’s the full video: 

 

Neue Comedytalks online – Shahak Shapira – Jan van Weyde – Jamie Wierzbicki

Liebe Leute, die youtube meiden, wie ich Weihnachtsmärkte. Ihr müsst youtube nicht nach den besten Buden absuchen. Ich präsentiere euch hier die neuen Leckerbissen (dafür komm ich in die Hölle). Es sind nämlich drei neue Comedytalk Videos online:

Die eine Sache, die ich vergessen habe, Shahak Shapira zu fragen war: wie zur Hölle hat er es geschafft über 150000 Follower zu bekommen. Ich kratze bei Twitter ja an der vielversprechenden 225 Marke. Alle anderen Fragen seht ihr hier:

Jamie Wierzbicki und ich kennen uns schon seit dem wir vor fünf Jahren mit Stand-up angefangen haben. Seit dem hat sich viel verändert. Nur eines bleibt gleich: keiner ist sicher vor Bombings. Nach einem furchtbaren Auftritt in Monheim klärt Jamie über’s Bombing und Heckling auf:

Jan van Weyde und ich hatten ein wunderbares Interview. Er erzählt von süßen Fans, wie es ist Carolin Kebekus’ Support Act zu sein und wie er einmal ein Promovideo aufgenommen hat. Und ich freu’ mich am Ende reinzurufen, was ein Callback ist:

Einige Leute sprechen mich an, warum nicht jeden Freitag ein Video kommt. Wir kommen nicht hinterher. Wenn uns jemand Geld gibt, gerne. Machmal werden Videotermine kurzfristig verschoben, manchmal gibt’s Probleme bei der Veröffentlichung. Und manchmal müssen wir halt arbeiten. Aber das nächste Video kommt so sicher wie der Weihnachtsmann! Einen schönen dritten Advent euch!

Comedy Talk – Two Comedians in a Bar Drinking Coffee

Comedy Talk Youtube
Ingrid beim Comedy Talk Intro Filmen in der Kupferbar Berlin

 

Comedy ist nur was für Leute, die Humor hassen.
Es gibt keine guten, deutschen Comedians.
Deutsche Comedy ist nur Witze erzählen.

Comedy heißt immer nur andere schlecht machen.
Alle Comedians schreiben Witze von Facebook ab.
Comedy ist niveaulos.
Seit Loriot gibt es keine lustigen Comedians mehr.
Deutsche Comedians klauen alle von US Comedians.
Youtube ist nur was für unlustige Selbstdarsteller.
Jeder Affe mit ‘nem Mikro hat ‘nen Podcast.

Ich kann’s nicht mehr hören. Ok, außer das mit dem Podcast stimmt.
Dass es nämlich auch anders geht, versuche ich beim Comedy Talk auf Youtube. Die Comedy Konterrevolution:
Jede Woche* unterhalte ich mich eine gute halbe Stunde mit Comedians über Comedy. Wir gehen’s in Detail, was Comedy angeht und streifen alle anderen Themen, die uns spontan einfallen: Comedy als Handwerk, die ersten Schritte, glorreiche und schmerzhafte Auftritte und welche Tipps sie gerne am Anfang selbst bekommen hätten. Just two comedians in a bar drinking coffee. Ich hoffe euch gefällt’s auch?

Hier ist das aktuelle Video mit Maxi Gstettenbauer:

Und alle Videos gibt es hier:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSoyoGalEnHmXc3XybPUTVQ

Die kommenden Wochen kommen jetzt immer neue Videos. Wen sollte ich auf jeden Fall noch interviewen? Am 26. Oktober ist ja Dave Chappelle wieder in Berlin, vielleicht hat er ja Zeit für uns?

Comedy Talk Youtube

Some Behind the Scenes und dabei ein big shout out an Christopher von Comedy247 für’s Filmen, Schneiden und Organisieren.

 

*also immer so, wie wir Zeit haben, da wir dafür keine Kohle kriegen.

Comedy Talk mit Stefan Danziger

Comedy Talk
Stefan Danziger und ich beim Comedy Talk (c) Comedy247 Christopher Stein

Vor zwei Wochen habe ich für Comedy247 und RTL104,6 spontan den Komiker Stefan Danziger interviewt. Das Video von unserem Comedy Talk ging heute online. Wenn ihr Feedback habt, immer gern her damit!

Mit Stefan rede ich über seine Auftritte im Ausland, Autogramme im Wald geben, wie es beim RTL Comedy Grand Prix war, Michael Jackson, die Magie von offenen Bühnen und welche Sprache er eigentlich spricht. Besonders stolz bin ich auf ein Wortspiel von mir und dass ich am Anfang einen Monolog halte, der eigentlich nur für’s Radio gedacht war, aber den die Kamera anscheinend schon aufzeichnete. Nächstes Mal schau ich dann schon mal in die Kamera : -) Wenn alles gut läuft sogar schon nächste Woche Freitag.

Und jetzt viel Spaß beim Comedy Talk mit Stefan Danziger:

 

 

 

Shred your Fear – Push Any Button feat. HAW Hamburg & Thalia Theater

“The Last Action Heros”: Our artist group Push Any Button did a “shred your fear” ritual for the Hamburg University of Applied Science.

On Sunday morning, the Hamburg University of Applied Science welcomed almost a thousand new students at Thalia Theater and I hosted the event. Together with PUSH’s Regina and Martin, we collected the students’ “fears” and transformed them into confetti for a fresh start. Also, president Prof. Teuscher gave a speed speech, the HAW choir sang, former student Steve Fotso performed a poetry procrastination slam, I interviewed four amazing international students and afterwards, Thalia’s Thore Strothmann invited the new students for coffee and pastries to the theatre’s club Nachtasyl. I wished I would have had such a semester start (maybe then I would have finished my Masters, ha)! Thank you for everyone involved and all the best to the new students <3 !

Push Any Button says “thank you and bye” and now takes a creative break (which has, btw., nothing to do with the shredder breaking on stage).

All photos shot by Paula Markert and taken from HAW’s facebook page:

The first time I saw the Thalia Theater from this point of view (c) Paula Markert
When I walk into the club and pretend I know someone (c) Paula Markert
Zoom in for a tear of joy (c) Paula Markert

Photos from Stand-up for the Ladies in Hamburg

Stand-up for the Ladies with ten comedians!

The German stand-up comedy underground is growing and last week’s show was proof of it. When I started my Show Stand-up for the Ladies last year, I said „when I get more than four female Comedians on stage, I achieved my goal and quit“. Because statistically, a Comedyshow books like 0,3215 women per show. I want to show the opposite. And with time it is possible. At last week’s show, TEN comediennes performed! And I’m not quitting. Because it’s too much fun. And because it’s an important stage for newcomers to test their material, their act, their craft. As a new comedian, you need to perform perform perform. There are no short cuts in comedy!

The more comedians the merrier comedy

A colleague recently asked me “aren’t you happy, that there aren’t that many female comedians, because that way you stick out more?”. No no no hell no. The more the better. The more female voices we make heard, the better! The more diverse, the better. Generally, we need more comedians. We also need more shitty Comedians. Yes your read that right. People sometimes ask me why there are so many good comedians from the USA? Because they have so many shitty comedians. The bigger the ice berg, the better the peak. And I want to build a giant ice berg as if there is no climate change!

That’s why I keep asking: Do you want to perform? Do you know someone, who has to go on stage? We are always looking for more womenx and menx to try stand-up comedy. You can contact us also via email: standupfortheladies@gmail.com

The last show for this year

I’m just quitting for this year. Next year, Stand-up for the Ladies will be back! When exactly is not certain yet, but I will post it here and on our facebook page. On there, I also just published nice photographs from last week. Because I had my favorite photographer Sergey Sanin there and he took stunning portraits of everyone. Here are some of them.

This episode’s comedians were:

Martina “Matze” Schönherr, Jenny Kallenbrunnen, Kristina Bogansky, Katarzyna Kamosiak, Stephy Bauer, Anton Grübener, Ghasal Falaki, Anni Winter, Natalie Schröder, Headliner Birte Rehberg and yours truly, Host Ingrid Wenzel.

 

 

Running Order (c) Sergey Sanin

 

Women in comedy
Best class photo thanks to (c) www.SergeySanin.de

 

Women in comedy
Big Thanks to our location Jolly Jumper/Haus73 Hamburg (c) Sergey Sanin

 

 

All ten Stand-up Comedians plus Stargast & “Quotenmann” Anton Grübener (c) Sergey Sanin (From left to right, top to bottom: Martina Schönherr, Ingrid Wenzel, Jenny Kallenbrunnen, Kristina Bogansky, Katarzyna Kamosiak, Stephy Bauer, Anton Grübener, Ghasal Falaki, Anni Winter, Natalie Schröder and Headliner Birte Rehberg.)

 

women in comedy
Passing the Mic. This is what a proud parent must look like. It was Anni’s first stand-up performance and it was MAGIC! (c) Sergey Sanin

 

 

My Comedy Keynote at Rednergilde Hamburg

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).

 

I drew the (german) google picture result for “Zukunft” and “Future”. Whereas “Zukunft” gives you only signposts, “Future” gives you only a rapper named Future.

 

 

I drew the (german) google picture result for “Zukunft” and “Future”. Whereas “Zukunft” gives you only signposts, “Future” gives you only a rapper named Future.

 

 

My first comedy gig in a business hall, not a dingy backroom.

 

 

 

I talked about if the future was as clear and easy as following a signpost, as google suggests. Hint: no

 

 

I created the WENZEL FONT just for this event

 

WENZEL FONT

 

 

 

 

Busy sniffin’ flowers with the other speakers

Stand-up for the Ladies

There are 72.246.655 hashtags with the word #blessed on instagram. Enough reasons to not use that word myself. But this week I was blessed. On Monday, my first comedy and cartoon gig went great (pics coming soon). And on Tuesday, I hosted my show “Stand-up for the Ladies” at Haus73 Hamburg. We were seven female and two male comedians. Take that, mainstream comedy shows booking only one woman, if at all! And three of them had their first gig ever that night on my stage. First performances are always historic! It was a great show. So great, that afterwards I didn’t even mind taking the 4 hour night bus from Hamburg to Berlin. I expected the bus driver to announce the stop Berlin – he did not! I didn’t set an alarm. Thankfully, I woke up by myself. If not, I would have woken up at final destination Prague! Auch schön.

And thanks to Sergey Sanin, I got nice photo proof from the show.

PS: On Thursday, I commuted again to Hamburg. I hosted a comedyshow at a hair salon. (yeah, big theaters, my time will come eventually). At the end, eight police officers showed up. “Neighbors alarmed us. They suspected a burglary because they heard a strange noise”. What, laughter? A burglary disguised as a comedyshow! Only in Germany. And yes, after the show I again took the night bus back to Berlin – and set an alarm. 

 

Host und Holzfäller

 

 

Me and my improv Buddy Regina performing GRUNZ & REMPEL (A German improv version of Antique Roadshow)

 

 

Our “company logo”

 

 

I had to make sure I had the right crowd in the room because in the room next door there was a political panel discussion – and a few guests actually confused the rooms and came a few minutes late to my show

 

 

The show title could also be “Nice people performing good comedy” <3 thankful and…. #blessed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Comedy in Hamburg

This month, we combined the German Kaffeeklatsch und the English tea time and did a Sonntagsspaziergang to an English Stand-up comedyshow called “Ladies of Laughter”. It took place Sunday afternoon at 4pm and was it’s first of a kind. Our location Haus 73, Hamburg’s alternative heart pacer, served tea, coffee, beer and cake. My “comedy brother” Khalid (for some reasons, he refers to me as “sister”, so I give him back the favor) organized the show and booking, did a guest set and brought Rwandan comedian Michael with him, who happened to hang out in Hamburg.  I had fun hosting this afternoon comedy parlor with an international audience. It’s nice to give Hamburg some international comedy flair. Or some comedy flair at all. Opener was Carmen Chraim, originally from Lebanon. In Berlin, she organizes the German-English comedy show “Comedy in Deuglish”. And our headliner was Caroline Clifford (UK), who co-hosts the longest running English comedyshow “We are not gemüsed” in Neukölln. (Running so long, that it actually was the first live comedy show, that I have ever seen in my life. And then thought “I can do that, too”. Four years later, this week, I performed there myself for the first time. Comedy Nostalgia). Recently, I found out how to do photo galleries in WordPress, so I made one for this post. Thanks to Luisa Esch for taking photos that day: