How To Become A Comedian

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For those wanting to know how to become a comedian…

It is pretty much a self proclaimed affair, meaning that once you are in a position to tell others that you are a comedian, well — you are one.

But let me be a bit more specific on the process that almost everyone takes to become a comedian…

The very first thing an individual usually does is to locate performing opportunities in their area — places to “work out” their stand-up comedy material.

This can consist of comedy club open mics, coffee house gigs, talent shows and contests, etc.

It is prudent to observe a number of these open mic gigs, if for nothing else to get the flow of how the performance opportunity is managed, how much time is allotted for new comedians, etc.

The next thing a prospective comedian does is develop 3-5 minutes of stand-up comedy material for the stage.

As a general rule, this represents the most difficult part of the process for new comedians. I say that because if you observe the line up of comedians at any stand-up open mic night, you will find that the majority of them are seriously unprepared to deliver stand-up comedy act that will generate noteworthy laughs, much less any laughs at all.

You will actually run into open mic comedians who have literally been at it for years and still can’t generate laughs, which is somewhat amazing when you consider that very comedian has 100% control over the process they use to develop and deliver their stand-up comedy material.

Once a comedian has developed 3-5 solid minutes of initial stand-up comedy material, they must continue working to develop more solid stand-up comedy material.

A new comedian’s upward mobility in the world of stand-up comedy tends to be dependent upon 3 factors:

  • The laughter levels they can generate
  • The amount of solid stand-up comedy material they have (performing time)
  • The consistency at which they can generate laughs from performance to performance

In a nutshell, the new comedian is in the process of developing and delivering a comedy entertainment product that will move them from the ranks of the amateur comedian to a paid pro comedian.

If a new comedian can’t generate noteworthy laughs, they tend to be confined to the stand-up comedy open mic scene.

I should also mention that there are some tremendous opportunities for comedians who can actually “deliver the goods” show after show.

That aspect if stand-up comedy is relatively easy to understand once you see for yourself how unprepared and unfunny many new comedians are.

Becoming a comedian can be relatively easy or very challenging depending upon the process a comedian uses to develop and deliver their stand-up comedy material.

Most people who start in stand-up comedy already have a vision as to what stand-up comedy is all about and how it is done. Unfortunately that vision doesn’t line up with reality and can hold talented people back from making headway as a comedian in a timely manner.

It takes a great deal of skill and ability (on top of having comedy talent) to entertain audiences at a high level as a comedian.

So if I had any initial advice to offer to those who are looking to take a shot at stand-up comedy, here’s what I would tell you:

1. Check out several stand-up comedy open mics from beginning to end. That will give you a very good idea of what your “competition” is.

Hint: If you pay close attention to open mic performances you will also be able to pinpoint things you DON’T want to do or say that doesn’t get laughs or may cause heckling.

2. Chances are that you have watched a ton of stand-up comedy performed by popular comedians. Just know that what you were viewing was a finished stand-up comedy entertainment product.

What you don’t see are the adjustments and refinements that comedian made to that material and its delivery before it was a finished product — which may have actually taken months.

While pro comedians make stand-up comedy look easy and conversational as if what they talk about just popped into their head, make no mistake:

It takes skill and ability to develop a stand-up comedy routine that generates 4-6 quality audience laughs every performing minute, show after show.

3. It doesn’t have to take long to develop and deliver a powerful stand-up comedy routine if you truly know how to do it.

As you meet other open mic comedians, you may assume that is must take a long to become proficient as a comedian because some of those folks have been doing open mics for years without making a lick of progress.

Don’t be fooled. The only reason that a person with comedy talent doesn’t get the laughs they want is because the process they are using to develop and deliver their stand-up comedy is not working for them.

The new comedian who knows how to develop, structure and deliver a tailor made stand-up routine designed to get 4-6 laughs per minute from scratch will always have a HUGE advantage over other new comedians.

Just know that there is much more to developing and delivering a stand-up comedy act that actually works and works well than meets the eye.

The information provided on this blog should help you verify that for yourself.

Becoming a comedian is both an exciting and challenging adventure. But it can become an exercise in frustration when a new comedian can’t get the laughs they want when they hit the stage in a timely manner.

Results rule big time in the world of stand-up comedy. And I want you to have those results as a soon as possible.

And you won’t find any other activity on the planet that can allow you to command more respect and admiration faster than causing an audience laugh loud and often.

The sense of accomplishment and excitement for the comedian is simply overwhelming.

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.

3 thoughts on “How To Become A Comedian

  1. You can call yourself whatever you want but it doesn’t mean it’s true. (Like I’m a millionaire!) I like how Steve used two terms: comedian and professional comedian. The one term says I am not just reading books about it, but I am doing it. I am committed to growing in my skill and honing my craft. The other term says I am getting some income from performing. I don’t think you have to wait to call yourself a comedian; unless you are just reading books about it and not actually performing. Though calling yourself a comedian doesn’t mean you have arrived. I am guessing even professional comedians have to challenge themselves and keep improving or they may find themselves not producing as high quality of a product!

  2. When people ask me “Oh, how long you been a comedian?” I usually answer “I’m not a comedian until I get paid more than my bar tab” The title comedian should be earned either by getting the 18+ seconds per minute of laughs or when your comedy pay becomes a secondary income.

    • I really like your definition, Chad! I would add that you also need to be currently performing — i.e., you recently had a gig and/or you are anticipating doing so again in the near future. Cheers!

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