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One of the things that people who are considering stand-up comedy want before they start is some sort of assurance that they have what it takes to succeed as a comedian.
Subsequently, they may use this justification as a basis to get started:
“My friends think I’m funny.”
Is that a sign that a person has the comedy talent they need to do well as a comedian? Maybe yes and maybe no.
Here’s the deal with the whole “my friends think I’m funny” justification for becoming a comedian:
1. ANYONE can accumulate friends who think they are funny. One need only hang out with people who are less funny than they are to be funny to those friends.
It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic or cultural class an individual belongs to, everyone can acquire “friends” who will think they are hilarious.
The problem is that “friends” may not necessarily be representative of a general public audience when it comes to ones sense of humor and laughter generation capabilities required of a professional comedian.
If they were, then everyone would automatically be friends with everyone else that they meet and everyone would think everyone else is hilarious.
That is NOT the case.
2. By nature, friends and family tend to be more empathetic and tolerant of friends — which can give an individual a skewed sense of how funny they really are relative to the rest of the population.
Friends will laugh at things that are not that funny for a number of reasons — courtesy, issue avoidance, embarrassment, etc. because they have a connection with that friend outside mere humor aspects.
That established personal connection is simply NOT there initially with a general public audience as a comedian.
A professional comedian must quickly establish that connection through confidence, content selection, preparation, likeability, believability and natural, yet flawless delivery of comedy material that connects with at least half of an audience–right from the beginning.
3. Conversations with friends that generate laughter usually contain direct or indirect references to information, events, shared experiences, etc. that need little explanation or requires little, if any set-up to cause the laughter to occur when the “punchlines” are delivered.
Such is not the case with a general public comedy audience.
All points of reference (commonly referred to as premises) must be provided by the comedian quickly and effectively (set-up) before they can generate laughter with that information (punchlines and tag lines).
Here’s the bottom line:
I have said for years that one of the best indicators of an individual’s overall comedic ability doesn’t necessarily involve interactions with friends or family that generate laughter, but interactions with people who are merely strangers and acquaintances whose paths are crossed in everyday life.
Related article: Are You Funny Enough To Be A Comedian?
Even then, the second an individual with real comedy talent makes the decision to become a comedian and starts trying to “write” jokes in order to get laughs on stage…
They are automatically screwed by essentially ignoring most of the laughter generation ability they have and use to get laughs (body language, facial expressions, voice and tone variations) and focusing on “writing” the best one dimensional words and “lines” they can call “jokes” — which is a very small part of the equation when it comes to generating laughs.
One of the reasons I appreciate stand-up comedy and talented comedians so much is that…
Only the smartest, strongest and most persistent of those who do have real comedy talent will ever make any noticeable headway in stand-up comedy.
Everyone else — the comedy know-it-alls, the idiots who are always “on”, trying to make their friends laugh with rude sexual and racial jokes, those who are already comedy legends in their own mind and those who are cemented in denial about the true lack of comedy skill they actually have…
Well, these folks get crushed like bugs on a windshield night after night in the arena of public humiliation. Why?
Denial doesn’t produce laughter from comedy audiences — no matter funny someone’s friends or family think they are. Lack of knowledge on how to develop a comedy routine that actually works doesn’t produce laughter from audiences either.
But there are plenty of so-called stand-up comedy “experts” that are more than happy to have folks believe that anyone can be “taught” how to be funny using some mechanical and arcane “joke writing formula” nonsense.
That’s hilarious to me all by itself.
And I suspect there’s at least one reason why the so-called comedy “experts” seem to stay in business — they give hope to the terminally hopeless — those who rely solely on the “my friends think I’m funny” as a gauge of their true comedy talent.
Plus, you can get their books cheap too. 🙂
There are several reasons why Killer Stand-up Online Course clients have an edge over everyone else when it comes to success on the stand-up comedy stage:
1. They know that they have to bring real comedy talent to the table right from the beginning — not the “my friends think I’m funny” kind of talent.
2. They understand that merely trying to “write jokes” is like trying to dig a swimming pool with a toothpick.
3. They know it takes a lot work, extensive rehearsal and intelligent rework in order to develop a comedy routine that is natural, tight and generates laughs.
4. They know that they have to generate a minimum average of 18 seconds of laughter per performing minute (PAR Score 30) to be delivering headliner level comedy material — regardless of what stand-up comedy “title” they hold.
So the real question anyone who is considering becoming a stand-up comedian must answer for themselves is:
Am I really funny enough to be a comedian or am I just funny with friends and family?
Like I said before, only the smartest, strongest and most persistent will ever make any real headway in stand-up comedy — provided they have real comedy talent to start with.
But I will also say that the majority of people who endeavor to become a comedian have all the comedy talent they will ever need to do well in stand-up comedy if they learn how to effectively apply that talent to the stand-up comedy arena.