My Stand-up Comedy Material Works Well Sometimes, Not So Well Other Times – What Gives?

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Here’s a great question that comes up from time to time regarding “hit-or-miss” stand-up comedy material when it comes to generating laughs:

This seems to happen to me a lot – I will perform a new bit or use a new line in an existing bit and it will work great the first time I do it.

But when I try the material again, it doesn’t get near the laughs or it tanks. Do you know why?

Provided that the audience dynamics are similar each time you performed your comedy material, I can tell you with great certainty EXACTLY why stand-up comedy material works one occasion and not another…

Contrary to popular belief, most of a comedian’s ability to generate audience laughter comes from their delivery — how they say and express their stand-up comedy material, NOT from the literal words and sentences they say as they are written on paper.

Stand-up comedy material that works one time and not another (given similar audience dynamics) happens specifically because…

The comedian did not deliver their stand-up comedy material in the exact same way they did when they generated the laughs.

As a matter of fact, it only takes subtle changes in energy level, voice tone, a facial expression and/or a hand gesture to make a HUGE difference in the laughter response a comedian can generate with their stand-up comedy material.

But if you unaware of this, you can end up like most comedians — rewriting material until you are blue in the face, looking for the “right” words, when in reality…

Rewriting wasn’t the issue at all.

The problem was in small, yet very important differences in the delivery of the material that is the true cause of the problem.

Here are two ways to minimize “hit-or-miss” laughs with your stand-up comedy material:

1. Get a video of every performance. This is especially important when you are experimenting with new comedy material.

If you will carefully review your videos, comparing your stand-up comedy material that worked in one show but not in another, you will be able to pinpoint the subtle (or maybe not so subtle) differences in delivery that caused you material to not work or work as well.

Otherwise, you are simply left guessing about what really happened to cause the differences in audience laughter response.

2. Professionally rehearse your stand-up material BEFORE you hit the stage.

Sadly, the only time most comedians “rehearse” their stand-up comedy when they standing before an audience.

By that time, it’s too late. Not to mention the fact that this is one of the reasons it takes most comedians YEARS before they can generate significant laughter with their stand-up comedy material.

Professional rehearsal is NOT just about “memorizing” lines — it’s also about making sure that your body language is in alignment with what you are expressing to an audience (otherwise the audience will know you are merely trying to “joke” them and…

It’s also about making sure that you are able to deliver and express your stand-up comedy material in the same effective way, over and over again with consistency and the body language alignment that works best with that material.

One of the reasons the Killer Stand-up Online Course is so effective is because of the emphasis on delivery and professional rehearsal which is overlooked or ignored by most comedians.

So, now you know why stand-up comedy material works well one time and not another, given similar audience dynamics.

About 

Leading stand-up comedy educator and trainer, providing proven 21st century strategies and techniques for individuals who wish to become comedians on a professional level. For a detailed stand-up comedy resume go to: Steve Roye’s Stand-up Resume.