Pundits, the press and even Joe Six-Pack himself all seem to agree on one thing today: Governor Mitt Romney cleaned President Obama's clock in last night's first debate.
As a result, say pundits, the press and even Joe Six-Pack, if the race wasn't a dead heat before, it sure is now.
I won't repeat what others have already said, but I will add my take as a trained, professional stand-up comedian who routinely rakes in as much as $30 or more per performance. Obama violated the number one rule of stand-up comedy performers in last night's debate: he didn't have fun.
I'm not suggesting he should have been wise-cracking or borrowing a page from the Steve Martin playbook and strutting around the University of Denver stage in a King Tut impersonation, but he didn't allow himself to be in the room or enjoy the moment (Indeed, he acted as if he was in the middle of a root canal procedure).
Being in the room and enjoying the moment enables one to better connect with the listener. And, trust me, audiences of all type, no matter how sophisticated or doltish, can read a presenter's non-verbals. They know if a performer, executive or president is in a good mood, feeling good about himself and in command of his material. Obama was none of those last night and, as a result, paid a heavy price.
I always dread the 30 seconds or so before I'm introduced to a packed house at the Broadway Comedy Club or, as is more often the case, about to perform in front of three, lost Belgian tourists sipping lager and sitting in the back row of The New York Comedy Club. But, as I've been trained by my professional comedy coach, Clayton Fletcher, I use those nerves to elevate my energy levels and feel really good about myself. In fact, I've performed about 150 times now and, just before I reach the microphone, I repeat Clayton's advice to myself: “Steve, have fun.”
So, here's a note to the West Wing: hire Clayton Fletcher (www.claytonfletcher.com) before the second debate. The presidency you save may be your own.