Posted by Reuben, 2012-03-20 11:18 GMT
Other than performances which just aren't available on the web (often because the performer doesn't want them to be) the reason live shows turn out to be more enjoyable strikes me as being the same for comedy and performance art: things going wrong or not according to plan. Two particular examples spring to mind:
In the 2008 Byjoty,a guy called Luke did an act which required a table (a small square board, in this case) entirely propped up by clubs. This was set up before the performance by the stage hand, Tom Derrick, but he couldn't quite get it to stand up, so in the end Tom had to crouch down and hold it up himself. Luke didn't realize this during his act at first and there was a pretty hilarious contrast between Luke's routine and Tom trying to look inconspicuous at the back of the stage. You can see what is possibly the moment of realization at about 20 seconds into this: http://juggling.tv/3187
Another great moment was at Crawley 2008, when a double act (Victor and Guillermo) had a gangster themed passing routine. There were some serious failures with the sound tracks going on at the right time, but Guillermo managed to keep in character and started (jokingly) threatening the sound technician in the style of a gangster. Although the whole act was great, this really made it.
I think it's fair to say that everything seems more impressive live though, just because you feel part of what's happening. One of the best and funniest shows I remember going to was by Paul Daniels, a magician, who did an hour long set. By the end I had a headache from laughing. While there is some material of him on line, I doubt I'd find any of it as funny as I did that show.