In the mad dash to “write” just the right words, sentences and phrases (jokes) that are going to make an audience howl with laughter…
Many new comedians largely overlook the most powerful laughter generation aspect of stand-up comedy, which is delivery…
NOT the words written on paper or merely spoken per se.
When I speak of delivery, I am more specifically talking about…
Natural body language that includes, but is certainly not limited to:
- Facial expressions
- Head movements
- Hand gestures
- Body movements and posturing
- Voice inflection and tone variations
These are the critical aspects that give what is written down and what will be ultimately said or expressed the real power to generate laughter from an audience once a comedian takes the stage.
Question: Is it just the mere words you say in everyday conversations that cause you to get the laughs you get when you talk? If that’s what you think, you can stop reading now — there’s nothing for you in the rest of this article.
What is hugely important for ANY comedian to understand, regardless of their style or content is this:
If what you are saying (your stand-up comedy material) doesn’t match up with what your face, your body and your voice are saying…
The audience immediately knows on some level what you are saying is not genuine or “made up” and they are being “joked” or manipulated.
The second that happens…
Your laughter generation ability just went in the toilet.
What I have been referring to is often called body language alignment (or the lack of it). It could also be accurately called communication alignment or expression alignment.
It a nutshell: if the alignment is not there when your stand-up material is delivered, then neither are the laughs.
It is this aspect of perceived “genuineness” by the audience — whether a comedian’s stand-up comedy material is 100% true or 0% true — that keeps an audience’s guard down, their attention on the comedian and laughing at the highest levels.
There are two ways to help make sure your body language alignment or expression alignment is lined up properly and naturally, both of which require extensive rehearsal before show time:
1. If you are more comfortable being a character other yourself on stage, you may want to look into an online acting course or a local acting class.
I know very little about acting and have said this before:
Great actors are masters at being someone else.
Great comedians are masters at being themselves
So I would say if you are going to have a “character” act, I would highly recommend getting some information from an acting pro (not a stand-up comedy coach) on how characters are developed so that you can ultimately capture the “genuine” body language alignment for your comedian stage character.
2. If you are more comfortable being yourself on stage, rehearsal that captures how you express yourself naturally is key, for reasons that should now be obvious. That’s what the Killer Stand-up Online Course is about.
Related Article: Should I Rehearse My Stand-up Comedy Act In Front Of A Mirror?
As I say in most of my articles…
Check out if what I am saying is actually true — don’t just take my word for it.
Go to ANY stand-up comedy open mic night. Make a note of the instances where what the comedian is saying doesn’t match up to how they are saying it.
Make a note in the drop in laughter levels or the absence of laughs altogether.
Determine for yourself if delivering stand-up comedy material in a less than “genuine” manner has an affect on the laughter a comedian generates.
For those who take a more academic approach and like references, you may want to check out Tanya Reiman’s book The Power of Body Language which supports the information that I have provided in this article. It’s a fast read and chock full of actionable information.
There are no “magic pills” to instantly help make comedians funny. But if there were…
What I have presented in this article would be in the top spot for funny people who really want to rock the stage with their talent quickly (as well as for any speaking professional).
But if you are only concerned with the order or structure of the words you say as the sole source of the laughter you get when you communicate with other people offstage and cause them to laugh…
Make no mistake — you have a very hard “row to hoe” when it comes to getting the laughs you want onstage as a comedian.