The first time I bombed in front of a large audience was at my old cousin’s wedding in front of a crowd just shy of four hundred people. My cousin asks me to MC. I say yeah, sure, if it means I don’t have to bring you a wedding present, great. But it was only great insofar as it was a great public humiliation.
I got up to the front of the room, not having prepared anything, and thought of a joke at the table right before I got up to say it. I said the joke. The room was silent. Four hundred people silent. All the eyeballs on me. It felt like the scene in jaws where the guy’s sitting there realizes there’s a shark in the water, with that phototelescopy effect with the dolly supercut (you film buffs will know what I’m talking about, for the rest of you, this: