You need only attend stand-up comedy open mics anywhere in the world to experience this undeniable fact for yourself:
Literally anyone can suck at stand-up comedy. It happens nightly with remarkable consistency.
Because of that fact, it should be very easy to understand why so many opportunities are available for those who don’t suck at stand-up comedy.
But the real question is:
Why do so many people stink at stand-up comedy — in many cases for years?
If you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you should know that I don’t engage in “theory” or conjecture when it comes to stand-up comedy.
It’s really all about the process and getting measurable and noteworthy results from that process.
There are only two primary reasons why anyone who takes a shot at stand-up comedy doesn’t do well when they hit the stage:
1. They don’t have the baseline comedy talent, sense of humor or audience appeal needed to make any headway as a comedian or…
2. They do have all the comedy talent they need, but they simply don’t know what they are doing when it comes to developing and delivering stand-up comedy material that capitalizes on their natural comedy skill and talent.
In other words, sucking on a comedy open mic stage for those who truly have comedy talent is NOT a natural condition that goes away without intervention — it is a personal choice made by the individual attempting to be a comedian.
I also know this beyond a shadow of a doubt:
Until a comedian can approach, meet or exceed generating 18 seconds of laughter each performing minute they are on stage — they are pretty much empty handed and simply do not yet have a stand-up comedy entertainment product to attract agents, bookers or talent buyers.
This is also the reason why most comedians never get beyond the comedy open mic aspect of the business.
Let’s assume for a moment that an individual has plenty of natural comedy talent, skill and audience appeal potential.
What is it really that keeps these talented folks from killing audiences night after night?
I strongly believe that talented individuals who want to excel at stand-up comedy fall prey to false perceptions about stand-up comedy that severely holds them back and keeps them from realizing their full comedy potential quickly.
Here are my top 10 predetermined beliefs, notions, ideas, views and opinions that many comedians have on how developing and delivering stand-up comedy material “works” that can severely limit their progress in stand-up comedy (along with links to a couple of articles on this blog you may want to take a serious look at)…
The Top Ten Reasons Talented People Suck At Comedy Open Mics
1. They believe that generating laughs as a comedian is vastly different than what they do in everyday conversations that causes others to laugh (like most comedians and comedy teachers would lead them to believe) — in other words…
They don’t understand that the mechanics of generating laughter on the comedy stage are EXACTLY the same in casual conversation or how to use these comedy mechanics to their advantage to develop their stand-up comedy material.
2. They believe that they must “write” jokes or comedy material in a literal sense in order to develop stand-up comedy material, even though “writing” and talking are two completely separate and distinct methods of communication.
Trying to develop stand-up comedy material that is developed for a reader (writing) that will work as high impact stand-up comedy material designed for an audience (talking) is like trying trying to fit a size 10 foot into a size 6 shoe…
It doesn’t work and it hurts when you try.
3. They believe that they need to develop a “special” stage character in order to be effective or recognized as a comedian because they are under the false impression that who they are in everyday life is not good enough or funny enough for the comedy stage.
4. They don’t realize that they don’t have to hold the “title” of headliner in order to deliver headliner level material if they know how to capitalize on their comedy talent — right from the start.
5. They believe that they need to “fabricate” funny from phony “premises” that they can somehow “make” funny using a “joke writing” process.
6. They are under the false impression that it is necessary to use some sort of “formula” approach in order to make their comedy material work well on stage.
7. They don’t understand that recognizing set-up lines and punchlines on paper is only valuable AFTER they have identified, developed and structured what they want to take to the stage.
8. They don’t know that punchlines have a common and identifiable sentence structure that is used both in casual conversations. Truth be told, they don’t actually know what a punchline is or how to generate them effectively to get laughs.
9. They don’t know how to prepare in advance to effectively deliver their stand-up comedy material at the highest levels possible using the comedy talent and skill they already have.
10. They don’t have a clue about performance improvement strategies in order to minimize the time it takes to deliver headliner level stand-up comedy material.
Note: You will notice that NONE of the 10 reasons above have anything to do with audiences. Why?
Because you have virtually no control of the type or size of audience you will be performing for at a stand-up comedy open mic.
You DO have 100% control over everything identified in the top 10 reasons comedians suck at comedy open mics above.
Unfortunately, these preconceived notions and ideas are fueled by the “conventional” books on “writing” stand-up comedy (#ad) as well as comedy workshops and classes that actually provide little to help a talented individual actually know what they are doing when it comes to developing and delivering a stand-up comedy act that actually generates big laughs on stage.
One of the questions I frequently get is this:
How is the Killer Stand-up Online Course different from everything else available?
Just look at those top 10 false perceptions again and you should have a pretty good idea.
Like I said before, if an individual truly has comedy talent, sucking at stand-up comedy open mics is a personal choice — not a condition like the common cold that will go away by itself.