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Comedy Articles

Tips for Standup Comedians

Successful stand up comedians need more than a talent for being funny. Stand up comedians also need some smarts and a talent for improv and "working a crowd." The following tips will take you from funny guy to professional stand up comedian. 1. Know Who Your Audience Is - When working out your material for a show, keep who your audience is in mind. A comedy set that will work for a rowdy out-of-towner convention of toilet salesmen may not work for a company's annual afternoon family picnic. Do your research and know whom you will be performing for so that your set is both funny and appropriate. 2. Memorize Your Set - This doesn't mean you can't veer off with some improv or totally go in a new direction once you've started, but never step foot on stage not knowing where you will begin or what you will say. Lead your audience into your set and let them know where you're going. This will help you avoid the dreaded "train wreck"; or "lack of direction"; comedy set. 3. Realize That Everyone Will NOT Love You - It's hard for many comics to digest, but every person in every audience you perform for will not think you are incredibly fabulous and may not be totally receptive to your set. Get over it quickly and move on. Who cares if everyone doesn't think you are brilliant… do you think every other comic is brilliant? 4. Bring It - From the second you step foot on stage, bring it… "it" being confidence. Your audience will have formed an opinion of you before you even hit the microphone, so with that first step grab their attention, be confident, and bring your winning "I'm funny" attitude. 5. Own the House - Come on stage and take control. Own the ho... read more

Stand-up Comedy - Top Ten Tips for Writing Jokes for Your Own Act

Stand Up Comedy - Ten Tips for Writing Jokes for Your Act 1. Stick With Formula - The basics of joke building include a traditional two-step formula: the set up that explains the joke and the punch line that delivers the funny, making people laugh. If you are new to stand up comedy, stick with the formula. The more unexpected your punch line is, the better laughs you will get. Make sure your jokes are about things commonly known to the average person. For example, telling jokes about building an airplane will only be funny to people who build airplanes. Everyone else in the audience will be left in the cold if your airplane building jokes are not made up using common knowledge. 2. Look for the Joke in Everything - Try to find the funny in every situation. It is great practice for writing jokes, even if they do not all end up in your act. The more you make up jokes, the better you will get at making up jokes. Even if it is a situation as simple as waiting in line for a half hour at the Post Office, find the funny. 3. Embarrassing Moments - If you have any experience (or friends and family) with embarrassing moments that would make for a punch line payoff, they are great material for your act. Everyone loves to hear about funny embarrassing moments, especially if your audience can relate to the situation. 4. List Jokes - List jokes, like "Top Ten Lists" or "Top Ten Reasons Why," are a fairly simple and easy way to beef up your act. 5. Comparison Jokes - When writing a comparison joke, you should point out wide differences between two people or situations to come up with a punch line. 6. Simile Jokes - A simile is w... read more

Stand-up Comedy: Tips for Open Mic Night

If you want to be a stand-up comedian, one of the best ways to get started is with open mic nights. Providing a low stress way to work on your act, open mic nights are great for up-and-coming stand-up comedians. The following ten tips will help your open mic night performance be a success. 1. Visit the Club - Go to your local comedy club to watch an open mic night a few times before you decide to perform. By visiting the club, you will better know what jokes will work well with the crowd. When you visit a club to observe an open mic night, get to know the club owner, the servers, and other comedians. You will feel more comfortable at the club during your open mic night performance if you are familiar with the surroundings. 2. Write your Set - Since you have visited your local open mic night, you should know the length of a typical comedy set. A comedian’s set at open mic night usually last three to five minutes. Write your comedy act before contacting a comedy club to book a spot in an open mic night. By writing your set first, you will not be rushed to come up with material for an open mic night set that is days away. 3. Call and Book a Spot - Once you have written your set, call your comedy club and ask for the person in charge of booking comedians for the open mic night. Sign up for a spot, verify how many minutes you will have to perform, and ask for any other information you may need. 4. Rehearse - Now it's time to learn your set inside out. Don't just read your written notes, rehearse your set aloud. Rehearse in front of a mirror or a video camera so you can watch it back. Some comedians find it uncomfortable, but it really helps to make you look more comfortable on stage. Practi... read more

Top Ten Tips for Struggling Stand-up Comedians

Don’t Attack a Member of the Audience – That is, unless he asks for it. It can be fun to joke about audience members, but be careful which ones you mess with. A good rule is to go after the audience members who heckle or seem to “ask” for it. If they ask for it, they want it. Don’t Joke About Bombing Until You’ve Really Bombed – If one joke doesn’t go over as planned, you haven’t bombed. If three or four go bad, then bring in the bombing jokes. Your audience may think you’re doing great, but if you joke about bombing too early, you’ll let them know that something went wrong. Never admit defeat until you’re sure. Take Jokes Well – Many comedians can tell great jokes, but they can’t take one. Keep your sense of humor. After all, the best source of funny material is often yourself. Realize That it’s Hard to Make People Laugh – It’s easier to scare someone than it is to make someone laugh. People laugh for different reasons. Some people like witty jokes, but hate physical comedy and others hate dirty jokes, but love funny stories. A successful stand-up comedian knows how to “read” what an audience will think is funny and can deliver the goods. Stay Within Your Time Limits – Finish your set when you’re supposed to. It’s unprofessional go into the next stand-up comedian’s time. You wouldn’t appreciate it if another stand-up comedian took your time, so don’t do it to others. Don’t Attack a Member of the Audience – That is, unless he asks for it. It can be fun to joke about audience members, but be careful which ones you mess with. A good rule is to go after the audience members who heckle or seem to “ask” for it. If they ask for it, they want it. ... read more

Stand-Up Comedy 101 - How Do I Become a Stand-Up Comedian?

You may be the funny person at work, but being a professional stand-up comedian is more than just making people laugh. Sure, you have to be funny, but you also have to be tenacious about making it in comedy. It can take years to hit the big time. The following tips will get you started on a successful career as a stand-up comedian. • Watch and Learn – Watch great comedians and learn from them. Study their personalities, comedic timing, delivery style, what makes them funny, and how they handle hecklers and jokes that bomb. Do not copy them. Use what you learn to come up with what works for your stand-up as a comedian. • Take Classes – Comedy classes and workshops will get you up in front of an audience, sharpening your jokes and delivery skills. Classes will also help your writing and joke structuring techniques. Many good comedy workshops provide performing opportunities for students. Improvisation classes help with handling hecklers and coming up with funny lines spontaneously while doing your stand-up comedy. • Write – Keep a notebook or recorder with you at all times so you can record every humorous thought. Write or record everything, even if you think the idea may not lead to a good joke. Weed out the great ideas and put them together into an stand-up comedy routine. Consider sticking with what you know when coming up with your act. Adding new material is easier when your comedy act it is about what you know. • Practice – Videotape your comedy routine and watch the video to refine it. Practice your timing and delivery on your friends, family, and anyone else willing to listen. Per... read more