Just a quick note before you continue: If you are looking for some solid, detailed (and free) information about becoming a comedian, you may want to check out the Stand-up Comedy Secrets For Beginners downloadable audio series.
There’s a pretty good chance that you have landed on this page looking for the best comedy topics — for a speech, presentation or a stand-up comedy routine.
Note: The comedy mechanics used to generate laughter in a casual conversation, a speech or a stand-up comedy routine are exactly the same — only the content structure is a different for each.
So, let’s get to the burning question…
Is there such a thing as a best comedy topic?
Well, you might be surprised to know that…
That question is actually too broad to answer intelligently or accurately.
Some Better Questions Regarding Comedy Topics
Here are some better questions that may help you in your search for the best comedy topics:
Are there “generic” topics that can lend themselves to laughter generation? The answer is no.
To set out to try to find a generic list of topics that anyone could use to generate laughter is much like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
What you must keep in mind as a comedian is that your task is to develop original stand-up comedy material.
Developing original stand-up comedy material is NOT about trying to talk about some topic or concept that has never been done.
Will watching stand-up comedy videos help me nail down comedy topics for my act?
The answer is possibly yes, but probably no.
If you review any number of stand-up comedy videos of performances delivered by established professional comedians you will notice that they tend to talk about the same sorts of things — relationships, pets, driving, sex, paying bills, blah, blah, blah.
In other words, as far as broad stand-up comedy topics go with rare exceptions they have been delivered by any number of comedians in one form or another.
What makes stand-up comedy material original is not the topic per se but rather how the comedian approaches and addresses a topic from their unique point of view, perspective or experience.
While watching other comedians perform may give you some very broad topic ideas to tackle on stage, that won’t give you any valuable information on how to develop your own original stand-up comedy material.
Let me put this another way:
Even if you could get some comedy topic ideas from watching other comedians, what then? Are you going to attempt to try to dream up something that may be funny to an audience?
I submit to you that if that is the approach you take, you are in for a potentially long and frustrating process before developing stand-up comedy material that will actually generate decent laughs.
One of the biggest challenges new comedians face is what to talk about on stage in the first place. That’s why it is a major focus in the beginning of my online course where I show folks exactly how to develop comedy topics that are best suited for them right from the start.
I should also mention that in my course I demonstrate that process from the idea or concept phase all the way through to the actual performance of that material on stage (an audio of the performance of that material is included as well).
Determining comedy topics, ideas, concepts, etc. to use as the foundation for producing original stand-up comedy material that will get laughs when performed is NOT difficult at all. But you do need a process that works.
So unless you plan on performing another comedian’s material (which is stealing and hugely frowned upon), you are probably not going to get much in the way of comedy topic ideas that you can run with to develop your own original stand-up comedy material from watching stand-up comedy videos or live performances.
The whole concept of “original” stand-up comedy material is a big deal even though most new comedians don’t really have a clue about what “original” stand-up comedy material really is.
Let me tell you a story that illustrates some of the absurd things that can happen in that regard.
A Story About “Original” Comedy Topics
I was at an open mic at the Comedy Store in La Jolla to work out some new stand-up comedy material. I had already been headlining for awhile, but I could get a decent spot at the beginning of the open mic show because I was an already established strong act.
I was in the lobby after my performance when I heard a new comedian approach another new comedian and say this:
“You did a space shuttle joke. I do a space shuttle joke and I have been doing mine longer. You you need to quit doing that joke.”
The problem with that is that I heard both space shuttle jokes and they were completely different and unique. The only thing in common with either joke is that they were about the space shuttle.
I’m telling you this because NO comedian can lay claim to ANY topic. As long as their material is original (as I have described above) and it gets laughs, comedians can certainly talk about the same topics.
So let me be perfectly clear about this:
It is NOT the comedy topic that makes a comedian’s material original or funny. It is the approach they take with a comedy topic that will make it original and funny.
A Great Source For Stand-up Comedy Topics?
There is one particular topic category that seems to lend itself easily to great stand-up comedy material and that is…
Strange and unusual news stories.
This can be evidenced by the frequent use of strange and unusual news stories in the comedy monologues delivered by late night TV hosts.
I used strange and unusual news stories frequently in my own stand-up comedy act when I was actively performing. And I will admit…
Just by the nature of the articles themselves, I have found it super easy to develop great and original comedy material from these colossal tales of incredible stupidity, sometimes developing 1-2 minutes of headliner material just from a single strange and unusual news story headline alone.
But when it comes to comedy topics overall, there are really no “best comedy topics” with the exception stated above — an even then, if strange and unusual news stories don’t interest you, you will have a difficult time “fabricating” funny from those (just like with any other topic).
Just remember this:
Every single topic and premise has been done by at least one of hundreds (if not thousands) of comedians who mostly talk about the very common things we all know, can easily recognize and relate to.
If you hear someone who has been in the stand-up comedy business for awhile say “It’s all been done”, that’s what they mean.
What makes any comedian’s stand-up comedy “unique” or original has little to do with the topic or premise they are talking about — it has to do with that comedian’s unique point of view, passion and delivery of that material.
Stand-up Comedy Tip: The absolute best comedy topics you could ever find are already inside you. You simply need to know how to identify those comedy topics and develop the skill to turn them into a tight and funny stand-up comedy routine.
Related Video and Article Link:
Article Link: How To Write Stand-up Comedy Material