Let me start with this…
When you are looking for stand-up comedy tips online — no matter where you find them, you should consume them with this in mind:
Stand-up comedy tips should be provided with the goal of helping someone understand various aspects of stand-up comedy in a way that is beneficial and not detrimental.
But they should not be depended upon as some sort of “sole source” information resource when it comes to getting detailed, step-by-step methods for creating, developing and delivering stand-up comedy material that will get you the laughter results you want on stage.
However while not all stand-up comedy tips are same, I am not going to tell you that the tips you get here are any better than those elsewhere.
You really need to be able to determine that for yourself in order to reap the greatest benefit in your journey of discovery about becoming a comedian.
But what I will do in this article is this:
- Explain the difference between my approach to the stand-up comedy tips I provide here in contrast to what you will get almost anywhere else.
- Provide you some specific examples of stand-up comedy tips from other sources that I consider largely valueless, inaccurate or misleading and why I consider them to be that way.
- Provide some questions you can ask that may help you determine the value of the stand-up comedy tips you are reviewing, whether they are on this website or elsewhere.
The Differences Found In The Approach
My approach to providing the tips you will find on this blog can be summed up in a single sentence:
I take an inside out approach instead of an outside in approach.
Here’s what I mean by that…
With an inside out approach, the foundation of the information I provide works like this:
- You already have all the comedy talent you will ever have. That’s the foundation for anything involving the creation and delivery of a stand-up comedy act that will actually get laughs on stage.
- Writing and talking are two very different forms of communication. There is no talker’s block, only writer’s block.
- Writing down talking and your expression of that talking (because words are invisible until you do) is different than “writing” jokes from thin air and hoping they will magically work on stage.
- The methodology you choose to use to develop your stand-up comedy act should capture, distill, concentrate and enhance your existing and already developed sense of humor and comedy talent.
An outside in approach works like this:
- A better or special comedy talent is learned from an outside source and/or from performance trial and error. Whatever comedy talent you have now doesn’t have much bearing when it comes to developing or delivering a stand-up comedy routine that works.
- There is no discernible difference between writing and talking. Both forms of communication involve the use of words and the primary mechanism for getting laugh lies primarily on the use and structure of the words being used.
- Writing jokes from a blank piece of paper using fabricated premises that are supposed to be original and funny is critical to success as a comedian.
- A different persona or “character” is needed for success as a comedian.
What I have presented is not intended as an all-inclusive list of differences but as a mere sample for illustrative purposes.
Now let me give you some examples of just a few of the stand-up comedy tips you will find online and why I don’t particularly care for them.
Stand-up Comedy Tips I Don’t Care For
Here is a sampling of stand-up comedy tips you can find online that I don’t find of much value from a professional stand point.
Study the acts of professional stand-up comedians. Record their shows, and watch them over and over. Get a feel for their techniques and how they deliver their material.
Here’s my question regarding what appears to be a “solid” stand-up comedy tip:
What EXACTLY would you be looking for when you are studying the acts of professional comedians?
I ask that question from this context:
When you are reviewing an online video of a pro comedian’s stand-up comedy act, you are viewing the finished product — NOT the process the comedian used to produce that finished product.
There was no mention of that in the information supporting that tip.
A pro comedian’s act is created, developed, honed and refined specifically relative to THEM — their unique sense of humor, points of view, attitude, delivery style, and on and on.
How does that even begin to relate to you and what you need to do when it comes to developing your own big laugh comedy material?
Well, it doesn’t in any way.
As a matter of fact, reviewing pro comedian videos to somehow magically learn the secrets of producing a killer act is much like reviewing only the outside of houses and somehow learning how to build one yourself from the ground up.
Don’t get me wrong — there certain very specific things that can be learned from watching and studying pro comedians perform. For example, I learned how to format and deliver stories by observing the late comedian Ron Shock.
However, here is why I could do that…
I already knew how to develop a stand-up comedy act for me that worked — from the idea stage to the final delivery. That’s how I could recognize what Ron Shock did when he told stories on stage would work for me and my material.
So I will submit to you that if you really don’t know what you are looking for when you study the stand-up comedy acts of other comedians, it can be a HUGE waste of time.
Listen to yourself. Use an audio tape or preferably a video tape to play back your routine. Take notes. Develop your comic timing. Pay attention to body movement and language.
Develop your comic timing by listening recordings of yourself — how in the heck is that supposed to work? What’s the connection with body language as it relates to a recording without an audience present?
The reality is that you already have much of the “timing” you are ever going to have in the way you talk and express yourself.
Not only that, the natural body language you already use to express yourself doesn’t need any adjustment provided the material you are delivering is natural to you and your sense of humor/comedy talent.
But in order to use your built-in comedy timing to your advantage, you need to have a solid rehearsal process that incorporates those important timing attributes right from the beginning.
Merely using audio or video beforehand has no real benefit I can identify (except under specific circumstances), primarily because you don’t use a video or audio when you cause people to laugh in everyday life (which is you effectively using stand-up comedy techniques that are specific to you).
The real danger in this approach is that you would be working on (and ultimately delivering) some type of phony, prefabricated version of you, your sense of humor and your comedy talent that is simply not natural to you.
Audiences are smart and detect that sort of thing a mile away. Subsequently, it reduces or even eliminates the laughter response you can get, even with the funniest stand-up comedy material at your disposal.
The timing aspects beyond those you already have (which are specific to stage skill and performances) are also what you should be aware of.
But you can only really do anything about these AFTER a stage performance you can review (audio or video), not before as timing on stage involves audience reactions (laughter).
Objective self-evaluation is one of the most important things you can do to develop and tighten you stand-up comedy act quickly.
But again, you need to know exactly what you are evaluating in order to benefit from any post-performance self-evaluation.
Develop your own onstage persona. This may take years to do. Rodney Dangerfield took 20 years to create his famous “No Respect” routine. Keep at it. Perseverance pays off.
If you have studied the Killer Stand-up Online Course, you know that this information is FALSE. You DON’T have to develop any sort of special onstage persona to develop and deliver a powerful and funny stand-up comedy routine.
If you are a naturally funny person in everyday life, you already have a well-developed persona and the chances are very high that the natural persona you have now is more than suited for the comedy stage — if you will learn how to simply hone and refine it for the stage.
If you will work to capture that already developed persona — being the person you are right now – for the stand-up comedy stage, you can literally shave years off the time it takes to develop that “special” onstage persona that the stand-up comedy tip above describes.
Otherwise, you end up adding an additional, unnecessary layer of difficulty to an already challenging process, literally adding YEARS to creating a noteworthy stand-up comedy act.
The Questions You Can Ask
There are only a relatively few questions you need to ask for yourself that will help you determine whether any stand-up comedy tip is valuable or not:
- Does it help me understand the comedy talent that I already have?
- Is there any real value in this tip or is it simply a waste of time?
- Does the information resonate with me or not?
- Is this tip a springboard for further exploration for more extensive information or is it just page filler that seems to sound good and make sense?
These are just a few starter questions you should ask, whether you are reviewing information here or anywhere else.
As a matter of fact…
I would take the time to develop some of your own questions that will help you determine the validity or value of any stand-up comedy tip.
What I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt is this:
The overwhelming majority of stand-up comedy tips that you will find elsewhere are presented from an outside in approach. My inside out approach is the exception, not the rule – even with many years of online presence under my belt.
Subsequently, you will find plenty of verification and duplicity with regards to an outside in approach. With my stand-up comedy tips, you will be hard pressed to find any sort of direct source verification.
What I have to offer is simply not, nor will probably ever be “mainstream” and I am good with that.
So the bottom line is this — only you can determine what tips you should “hang your hat on” in your own stand-up comedy adventures.