There’s a secret every comedian should know about stand-up comedy material.
And if you don’t know what this secret is…
You can literally waste months if not years trying to “write” stand-up comedy material that works well for you on stage — provided you have comedy talent to begin with…
Here’s the secret:
If you write your stand-up comedy material in the literary way we learned how to do all through school, there is a very good chance that you will have significant difficulty getting even a minimum of 4 quality laughs per minute in your stand-up comedy material, no matter how well you deliver that material.
Now if you will bear with me, you should be able to understand exactly why I can say that and why it matters greatly.
First, let’s start with some observable and verifiable basics:
1. A comedian’s primary task is to generate as many laughs as they can from the beginning of their stand-up comedy act.
2. A comedian’s progression in stand-up comedy is tied directly to the amount of laughter they can produce when they perform.
3. Every comedian is afforded the exact same 60 seconds each minute they are on stage, whether they are performing for 5 minutes or 50 minutes.
4. There are two things that happen each minute a comedian is on stage:
The comedian is talking or the audience is laughing. Both of these things take up time each minute.
5. Comedians who want to progress must generate an average of 4-6+ laughs per performing minute (to be more accurate, they need to closely approach, meet or exceed generating an average of 18 seconds of laughter each performing minute).
Related Article: Setting Standards For Stand-up Comedians
That means the comedian needs to deliver an average of 4-6+ punchlines each performing minute along with the set-up lines for those punchlines.
I’m telling you this because I want to you fully understand that every comedian only has a limited amount of time in any given minute they are on stage to set-up and deliver 4-6+ punchlines.
Now let’s talk about why “writing” stand-up comedy material in a literary fashion can prohibit a comedian from getting a minimum of 4 good laughs per minute, much less 5 or more.
Why “Writing” Is Problematic
Writing as we are taught to do involves only words and sentences compiled to be consumed by a reader.
Since only words and sentences are used to communicate using that method, many more words are needed to communicate jokes or other stand-up comedy material.
Talking on the other hand naturally involves much fewer words because multiple communication mechanisms are in play.
The bottom line:
If you try to “write” your jokes or stand-up comedy material in a literary way, you will have great difficulty in getting even 4 laughs in any performing minute, much less any more than that.
Is There An Easier Way?
Let me start with this:
You do not have to possess or acquire ANY type of literary “writing” skill in order to be able to produce high quality stand-up comedy material.
But you do need to know how to:
- Use and apply the comedy talent that you already have in the most effective way possible
- Develop stand-up comedy material that is structured from the beginning to get 4-6+ laughs each performing minute
- Professionally prepare to deliver your stand-up comedy material
- Evaluate, edit and adjust your stand-up comedy material for bigger laughs
And let me also say this:
It’s also pretty darn easy to do if you have a proven system that shows to how every step of the way.
There’s a hard way and a much, much easier way to develop stand-up comedy material that works well on stage — provided you actually have comedy talent to begin with.
Writing anything designed for someone to read is tough. Developing stand-up comedy material that actually gets frequent laughs? Not so much if you truly know what you are doing.