Analysis of Michael McIntyre; Holding the audience

Michael McIntyre needs no introduction. With global recognition and as the highest selling artist at London’s O2, there's no doubt of Michaels comedic success. The O2 Arena in London holds an audience of 20,000 people, of which Michael sold out for 28 shows in a row! 

Yet if we put Michaels comedy skills aside, he's still a masterful communicator. 

Watch and enjoy this brilliant clip and then read my reflections on how Michael has skilfully utilised to hold the attention of huge audiences across the world. 

 Engages the audience with a question 

Rather launching into his routine about windscreen wipers, he asks the audience a simple question and confidently hand-signals them to cheer in response. Given that a large majority of those attending will have come by public transport, he's assured of this response. 

Immediately, having been provoked to engage vocally through cheering - the audience has bought in.

Of course, Michael McIntyre doesn't need to win his audience over, (they've just spent good money on tickets to see him) however, if the principle of engaging your audience physically applies to him, it most definitely applies to the rest of us. 

He's hooked into something we all relate to

The performing arts relies on being relatable. When we're watching a theatre production or film, we need to find a connection point to the characters. We need to appreciate what it feels like to be in their circumstance, have their mindset, feel the way they do or be able to share in their viewpoint.

This couldn't be truer for comedy. Humour, and particularly observational humour, needs to be rooted in something we know. All of us are familiar with the use of windscreen wipers - even if it's not at the forefront of our minds. 

When communicating, be sure to hook into something that the audience is familiar with. Enable them to experience a 'Oh yes' or 'Ah ha' moment before you make your points. 

He builds upon one small concept 

I wonder whether you could speak for more than 4 minutes on the subject of windscreen wipers. The skill of observational comedy, is the ability to take a relatively small, insignificant but relatable activity and maximise it for all it's worth in terms of laughs. 

Whatever Michaels' process for writing is, he's clearly sat on this concept for a while, exploring all the possible avenues for gags, building gags upon gags, upon gags. This creates a sense of rolling laughter, rather than a sequence of separated laughs. THis is the ambition and dream of everyone who works in comedy. 

When you are communicating, try to apply the same principle. Take one concept. One point. One metaphor. Build upon it and mine it for all it's worth. This will require you to give it time, thought and a commitment to crafting your message, but it's worth it for the engagement and memorability factor. 


Michael McIntyre is a master of his skillset. I encourage you to apply the above skills to your next presentation and see what difference it makes.  Start with a question, use a relatable hook in your theme and then build upon a single concept, maximising it's impact. 

From Comedian to Communicator 

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