Why I Didn’t Go To Your Show (And Why You Probably Won’t Go To Mine)

Empty Seats

Josh Bowman explains why he didn’t go to your show. It’s not personal.


  1. I’m broke.  Ok, I’m not broke. I can afford food and rent. But as I get older, I’m realizing that my discretionary money has to be saved sometimes, and it means I have to make choices about where I spend it. I’m sorry, but your show is not my priority anymore.
  2. It’s going to suck. I hate to say it, but it might be that your show will suck. And what will happen is I will go to your show, and sit through an interminably long series of sketches/improv scenes/songs/modern dance numbers and then you will come up to me and I will have to tell you it was a great set, or I found it interesting. It’s even worse if you bomb, and you know you bombed, and we both have to sit there and be encouraging. So, let’s avoid it all and I’ll stay home and send you a Facebook message later.
  3. I’m socially awkward. I don’t know why, but over the past year, year and a half, I have found it harder and harder to make small talk. So, instead of putting both of us through the awkward and uncomfortable motions of trying to communicate as two functional humans, I’m going to stay home and watch Dewey Cox, which won’t be that great, but at least it’s pretty inoffensive.
  4. I’m not trying to get laid. I used to go to shows all the time because they were good places to meet fellow performers and acquaintances who might be interested in sleeping with me. Now that I am in a stable relationship with somebody who would definitely cut my balls off if I cheated (also I would never cheat because I love you!! Smooches!), the incentive to get gussied up and paint the town red is mostly gone.
  5. I’m not trying to get drunk. As per above. Getting drunk was often a prelude to gathering the courage to ask somebody out. Now, getting drunk is just a way to feel terrible the next day, and spend money I don’t have. No THANKS.
  6. It’s not my job. I have worked in theatre and I have worked in the music business. I have also been producing comedy shows for a while. When you work in the arts, going out and socializing at shows and concerts is part of your job. You have to be out and about, schmoozing, meeting people, and seeing what’s ‘out there’. It starts to become a real chore after a while. Now that I don’t work in the arts anymore, I don’t see all that much theatre/live music/comedy. It’s sad to say. Maybe when I’m older and (hopefully) richer, I’ll start getting subscriptions and seeing live shows again. Until then…sorry, but that ain’t part of my job description no more.
  7. I’m not trying to guilt you into seeing my show. In the arts world, people just go to each others’ shows. There is an unspoken understanding that if you want me to see your show, you have to come to mine. This is particularly common in the Toronto comedy scene, I’ve noticed. So everybody goes to everybody else’s thing, and the audiences just migrate from one theatre to the next. Well, I’m out of that equation. I still perform, and I’d like you to see me perform, but if you don’t…I get it. I wasn’t at your thing, after all.
  8. You didn’t invite me. Sometimes, I’m not invited to things. When I’m not invited to things, they aren’t on my radar. So, I don’t go. Honestly, I don’t really understand why I’m invited to anything these days, but I appreciate it! You never know, I might just show up cause I’m bored!
  9. I don’t know any of the acts. I’m less exploratory than I used to be. If I don’t know anybody on stage, or any of the acts, or any of the songs…I’m probably going to stay home. My time is precious (“but all you do is sit at home and watch Dewey Cox? WTF?” “Yeah, well…it’s a sweet movie ok! Leave me alone!!”), and I’d much prefer to see something I know or know of. Same goes for restaurants, generally. I need somebody to tell me it’s good. Then I’ll go.
  10. I’m depressed. Number one reason, generally, is that I’m depressed or tired. Maybe I’m stressed out from work. I don’t have the energy to make it out. I’d like to see it. I really would. I just…can’t.

—Photo net_efekt/Flick

About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. Emily Schooley says:

    Right there with you on all of those. I want to get out and support other people’s work – and do when I can – but sometimes I’m just broke/tired/busy/depressed or any of the other above.

    And despite working in the arts, I still don’t see a lot of live entertainment, partly because sometimes I need downtime away from it. I also know how much it sucks to have a low-energy audience or people who are texting and checking email throughout, and don’t want to be That Girl.

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