There is additional important information related to this article located on the new Addendum page.
If you have seriously considered taking a real shot at becoming a pro comedian, here are the very first steps I would take to improve your chances of success as a comedian right from the start:
Step 1: Know the goal. If you check out ANY stand-up comedy program that has been televised, no matter what television channel it is on, you will find that 98%-100% of the time the comedian or comedians performing generate an average of 4-6+ solid audience laughs every performing minute.
If you want to be more precise, virtually any comedian on a televised stand-up comedy program will generate an average of 18 seconds or more of audience laughter each performing minute. That’s because…
If you cannot generate the level of audience laughter that I have just described, you can pretty much exclude yourself from any sort of performances beyond the opening act level, much less landing any sort of TV appearances.
Please note that what I have just described is 100% verifiable by simply reviewing previously televised stand-up comedy performances (from any year or genre) on YouTube. You need only note the time on the video player and simply count the number of laughs generated each minute.
Knowing the goal is very important to understand on a production level as well. Consider this – pro comedians have an average of 42 seconds or less per minute to generate the 4-6 laughs per minute needed (or 18+ seconds of laughter) each performing minute.
If you want to be more precise, you are talking about using an average of just 50-75 words per minute to generate the laughter levels I have described that are needed to move forward professionally or get on TV as a stand-up comedian.
What I have described is not difficult if you approach the production of stand-up comedy material from a talking live in person aspect as opposed to a “writing” perspective.
Which brings me directly to the next step…
Step 2: Know the difference. Just a quick question before I get into this important step…
How did you “write” your comedy material when you got laughs from others in everyday life – before you decided to become a comedian?
I am going to bet my house that you did not develop your sense of humor by passing handwritten notes to people that you knew or interacted with live and in person.
So the difference you need to be acutely aware of is that there is a colossal difference between talking and writing when it comes to laughter generation.
Talking and making people laugh in everyday conversations is easy. Trying to make people laugh live and in person using “written” jokes or other concocted material tends to flop for the following reasons:
- Writing is a standardized means of communication intended for an individual reader. Talking is not nearly as standardized and is intended for a live and in person communications.
- Because only words are involved with the “written” word than with talking, the prospect of only using 50-75 words per minute to generate the laughter levels I have described each and every performing minute pretty much evaporates.
Note: It is the addition of visual and auditory enhancements (body language, facial expressions, voice variations, etc.) that causes talking to involve far less words that “writing” in order to get the desired laughter results.
The bottom line: No one ever seems to get talker’s block when it comes to talking to people and using their sense of humor. But writer’s block is very common, oddly enough…
Virtually every other stand-up comedy book or educational resource approaches the development of stand-up comedy material as an exercise in “writing” as opposed to identifying,applying and structuring the sense of humor you use everyday for the stand-up comedy stage the way my online course shows how.
Step 3: Prepare to succeed. If you attend any sort of stand-up comedy open mic nights (which you should), you will surely find that 85%-95% of the comedians who get on stage (no matter how long they have been doing it) are absolutely NOT prepared to succeed in stand-up comedy.
What you will see is:
- People reading their material or using notes
- Little consideration for the audience
- Absence of any sort of rehearsal or advanced preparation
- Long time talking with little or no laughter response
I could go on and on. The reality is that there is a lot to know about developing and delivering a stand-up comedy routine that gets the big laughs performance after performance.
Those are the first three steps you should take if you are serious about becoming a comedian and you want to succeed.
Next steps? I can only recommend that you check out the Top 10 page on this which has not only has the top 10 articles that everyone is looking at but it also has my personal recommendations for articles that don’t usually hit the top 10.