Decoding Virtual Audience Responses: A Guide for Online Comedians

Performance Tips

Greetings, fellow online comedians! In the realm of virtual performing, understanding your audience's responses is essential to gauging their engagement and adjusting your set accordingly. While interpreting responses in a virtual room may be different from an in-person setting, today we'll share insights on how to decode those responses and enhance your connection with your virtual audience.


1. Visual Cues

In a virtual setting, visual cues are invaluable. Watch for audience members nodding, leaning in, or smiling. These actions often indicate agreement, interest, or understanding.


  a. Facial Expressions:  If audience members have their cameras on, observe their facial expressions. Smiles, raised eyebrows, or expressions of surprise can help you gauge their emotional reactions.


  b. Body Movement:   While you might not see full-body gestures, pay attention to any hand movements or shifts in posture that suggest audiences' reactions to your content. Know the difference when people are attentive versus getting restless.


2. Virtual Applause & Emojis

Encourage your audience to turn their audio on providing they don’t have distracting background noise. If that’s not optimal, encourage them to use the comedy emojis throughout the event.  Hosts can also encourage/remind your audience to use digital applause/emoji features. It's a virtual equivalent of applause and demonstrates appreciation.


3. Active Chat Engagement

Remember to monitor the chat box for comments, questions, and emojis. An active chat indicates that your audience is actively engaged with your content and might have questions or thoughts to share. Not everyone will be able to turn their audio on so the chat box is a great alternative to interact.


  a. Direct Questions and Comments:  Before the show (or if you do crowd work you may incorporate then) encourage your audience to ask questions or leave comments.


  b. People might be more likely to leave feedback here. It’s less confrontational and draws less attention to the individual.


4. Engagement Level Over Time

Track changes in engagement levels throughout your performance. A sudden spike in engagement might indicate a particularly good joke, while a drop might signal a need to shift gears and change the energy.


5. Crowd Work

This is a very hot topic these days. Hosts should definitely know when to interact and when not to. When done well it works.  Online rooms are much more intimate than an in-person show.  Proceed with caution. Know how to read the room.


6. Seek Feedback Post-Show

Upon exiting the show (when the audience clicks the hang up button on the bottom toolbar) they receive a prompt to leave feedback for each performer. The host should remind the audience to do this and let them know what type of feedback they’re seeking (i.e. Did they like the jokes? Would they like less crowd work?). This allows your fans to share their thoughts, allowing you to assess the effectiveness of your performance.


7. Analyze Audience Retention

Note if anyone leaves early or turns their video off. This can indicate when attention wanes and when engagement peaks.


8. Adapt and Respond

Use the insights gained from audience responses to adapt your performance in real-time or for future shows. Process and address their feedback and ensure that you're meeting their needs.


Deciphering your online audience's responses requires attentiveness, adaptability, and a keen eye for visual cues. By honing your ability to interpret these responses, you'll not only keep your audience engaged but also elevate the impact of your online presentations. So, embrace the digital realm, decode those virtual reactions, and connect with your audience on a whole new level.

Written by