How To Be A Stand-up Comic

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For those who are looking for information on how to be a comic, it’s a fairly straightforward process.

Here’s a basic outline of what you need to know:

1. Locate places to perform. Development as a stand-up comic is dependent upon live audience performances.

The vast majority of comedians start out performing at comedy club open mic nights.

The number of performing opportunities on a weekly or monthly basis for a new comic can vary widely depending upon where they live.

Individuals who desire to develop and deliver an “adult” stand-up comedy act are pretty much restricted to the comedy club arena.

Individuals who have the ability to develop and deliver clean stand-up comedy material potentially have many more performing opportunities outside the comedy club market as well as at open mic nights.

2. Develop a 3-5 Minute act. Usually comics are afforded 3-5 minutes of stage time when they first start at open mic nights.

It will be during these 3-5 minute performances that a comedian will develop their initial core stand-up comedy material that provides the foundation for developing additional material.

3. Progressing as a stand-up comic. Once a comic has a 3-5 minute stand-up comedy routine that consistently generates audience laughs, their next order of business is to move forward and develop 10-15 solid minutes of stand-up comedy material.

When this happens, a comic is in a position to obtain opening act spots.

Moving forward to the feature act, then headliner spots is a matter of simply having enough material that kills for each spot, along with developing a reputation for being able to perform at a high level with consistency.

While it takes time to develop a reputation, the speed at which a comic can progress is directly related to the speed at which they are able to develop and deliver a stand-up comedy that rocks audiences.

Note: If you are new to stand-up comedy and would like a detailed, “insider” view of the world of stand-up comedy, I highly recommend that you get your hands on a book called Comic Lives by Betsy Borns.

This awesome book details the humble beginnings, challenges and successes of many of the “household name” comics you know today.

What I have presented here may seem somewhat simplistic, don’t be fooled.

It takes talent, dedication, persistence, experience and knowledge to be able to entertain audiences at a high level — a level that will lead to more and more performing opportunities.

So if you wanted to know how to be a comic, those are the basics in a nutshell.

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.

6 thoughts on “How To Be A Stand-up Comic

  1. Very clear and concise description of how to begin. I like your suggestion of polishing the initial tiny bits and waiting to build your material. For the beginner, it’s tempting (and potentially discouraging!) to work hard at developing a 30-or-so-minute routine before hitting the stage — only to find out there is nowhere to use such a long and unpolished act. You certainly present a clear and logical plan in this article. Thanks!

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