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When a stand up comedian is getting either a bad or no response from their audience, it is known as ‘Dying’ on stage.

Typically, once this downward spiral has started it is difficult to stop.

Tommy Cooper famously suffered a heart attack on stage, and actually died. And the audience loved it. Never before had he had such rapturous applause or roars of laughter. They didn’t realise what had just happened, they thought it was a joke, and ate it up.

Thus, I think, when a comedian is doing badly on stage, this should not be called ‘Dying’. Instead, when they are playing the set of their life, when they are doing extremely well, when they have the audience rolling in the aisles, this should be called ‘Dying on stage’. Instead, we reverse it. We say to the comedian, about the audience; ‘You were killing them.’

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