This is the most often asked question from audience members after seeing their first Set List show. Why? Because the best performers in the world are able to make what they create in the moment look easy. It’s very much not easy, but they do it anyway.
In over 300 Set List shows, not a single comic has even been shown their topic. Yes, there are moments that don’t turn out perfect, but that’s so much more interesting than seeing someone pretending to improvise when they actually know what they would be talking about. Sure, there may be other shows that on some level are fake, but most of the time, people who can improvise are much more interested in the opportunities of an unknown challenge than they are interested in fooling the audience.
So when you see something you like on Set List, tell the comic after the show. They probably won’t remember much of what they did, but they’ll appreciate that you took the time to do so.