If someone were to ask me how to write stand-up comedy material…
You might be surprised to find out that I would give them this stand-up comedy tip…
Don’t “write” anything — at least not the way most people think of writing (which is in the literal sense the way most comedy books, workshops and courses say to do).
I say this because…
The second someone sets out to “write” stand-up comedy, they immediately fall into the trap of believing that writing something that “reads” funny on paper will generate big audience laughs.
And the folks who follow that path are sorely disappointed, time and time again.
Note: For a much better understanding of the information that follows, you may want to review episode 2 in the Stand-up Comedy Secrets For Beginners series (it’s FREE for download or online review).
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that developing stand-up comedy material for LIVE audiences is vastly different (and much, much easier) than trying to learn how to “write” stand-up comedy material.
Below is an overview of just some of the most basic, yet critical information you MUST know when it comes to easily developing stand-up comedy material for the stage, if you want to move quickly and NOT take years to produce comedy material that actually generates big laughs for you.
Please note that the information below is an overview only and should not be confused with the detailed and comprehensive step-by-step instruction for creating a powerful stand-up comedy routine from scratch as provided in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.
But first, here’s a video that explains why folks struggle needlessly when it comes to trying to “write” a stand-up comedy routine in the “literary” sense….
The Stand-up Comedy Basics You MUST KNOW
1. Identify what you want to talk about on stage. This is a fairly easy process unless you are trying to pluck something funny out of thin air that you simply guess may have some sort of comedic value.
Ideally, you want a process that allows you to pinpoint what you want to talk about on stage quickly and gives you the best chances of generating laughs right from the beginning of the process.
2. Develop your bulk stand-up comedy material.
If you are developing topic based stand-up comedy this is also easy to do. The same cannot be said when it comes to trying to “write” one joke at a time.
3. Incorporate your comedy talent into your stand-up comedy material. The stand-up comedy material you develop is directly impacted by this aspect and should be considered right from the beginning of the creation and development process.
4. You need to structure your stand-up comedy material to generate 4-6 laughs each performing minute.
This can be very challenging for those who are trying to “write” individual jokes in a literary fashion designed for a reader instead of an audience.
Related Article: How To “Write” Stand-up Comedy Material The Hard Way
Stand-up Comedy Tip: The reason why stand-up comedy material is written down is because you cannot physically see words as they are being spoken and expressed, nor can you visibly see how they are being expressed.
Words and sentences on paper merely provide a map, as opposed to being the sole means of creating a stand-up comedy act that will actually work on stage.
Words and sentences on paper alone will NEVER accurately represent all the critical aspects that must incorporated in order to develop and deliver a powerful stand-up comedy routine.
No matter what you decide to talk about on stage, your ultimate goal is to generate an average of 4-6 laughs per minute while you are standing before an audience.
Stand-up Comedy Tip: You DO NOT have to be a headlining comedian in order to generate headliner level laughter levels with your stand-up comedy material — provided you have real comedy talent and you actually know what you are doing when it comes to developing and delivering stand-up comedy material effectively.
Note: You won’t find even this basic information in ANY of the popular books on “how to write stand-up comedy material”.
While what I have provided in this article is merely a basic overview of how to write stand-up comedy material using my system, know this above all else:
Creating quantities of stand-up comedy material that actually gets laughs is not difficult at all if you truly know what you are doing.
It is difficult at best to put everything you need to know about developing and delivering stand-up comedy that ACTUALLY works for you into a single article.
But let me just say this again: The process for developing and delivering stand-up comedy material is much, much easier than you could ever imagine — far easier, effective and faster than trying to “fabricate” funny from a blank piece of paper for sure.
And this process is also certainly much easier than trying to write one joke at a time, then trying to cobble them together in order to deliver a tight stand-up comedy routine.
Unfortunately, developing stand-up comedy material is often referred to as having been “written”, as if words and sentences on paper make up all the “magic” needed to entertain and audience.
So almost everyone sets out to “write” jokes, which is not only very difficult, but can literally take years to master because HUGE pieces of the puzzle are missing.
Honestly, do you want to take YEARS to be able to develop and deliver headliner level stand-up comedy material?
Unfortunately people are so hell bent on “writing” their way to being funny on stage that I needed a reference point that people could relate to.
Just do this before you do anything: Go find a YouTube video of your favorite comedian and transcribe one minute of their act on paper. Verify the information that I have provided in this article for yourself.
So the big stand-up comedy tip for this article is this:
If you are trying to learn how to write stand-up comedy, don’t try to write it in a literary fashion. Don’t try to pluck what may be funny out of thin air.
Be yourself and learn how to effectively use, structure and harness the well developed comedy talent and sense of humor that you already have.
Learn how to identify, structure and edit what you want to say and express on stage (in the most compact and efficient way possible that is natural for you) and to ensure you have the punchline frequency you need to slay audiences when you perform.
The approach I have just described is far, far easier and much more organic than trying to learn how to somehow “write jokes” the hard, old school way.