There is additional important information related to this article located on the new Addendum page.
I find it somewhat interesting when folks find this blog using the search term “examples of stand-up comedy material”.
The reason I say that is because…
There are literally many tens of thousands (if not more) of YouTube videos featuring pro comedians from all over the world performing stand-up comedy at the highest levels in front of live audiences.
Not only that, if a stand-up comedy routine on YouTube was uploaded since 2014, there is already an AI transcript made available right there on YouTube (click the 3 little dots on the right just below the video, then click open transcript from the menu that pops up).
Can one get any better examples of stand-up comedy material than that both live and written? I really don’t think that is possible..
Over the years I have gotten several emails from Killer Stand-up Online Course Members that went something like this:
“I transcribed the routines of over 15 top comedians that I found on YouTube looking clues on how they wrote their stand-up comedy material. I couldn’t find a single thing from doing that that I could use to help me develop my own act. After reviewing your course, I now understand why that was a serious waste of time.”
Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we:
You will have better luck trying to drown a fish than you will trying to find some sort of “technique” or “tactic” you can use for your own stand-up comedy act by trying to study the transcripts of the acts of other comedians.
There are several key issues why you won’t find much of value from stand-up comedy act transcripts:
- The act a comedian develops and delivers is personalized specifically for them.
- Words on paper only represent a fraction of what a comedian uses to generate large and frequent laughs from an audience.
- You simply will not be able to nail down any specific formula or technique any comedian uses from transcription not only is the material personal to the comedian — if you didn’t have the video as proof, you wouldn’t be able to tell which parts of a comedian’s material was funny just by looking at transcripts alone or what “techniques” were used to get the laughs.
What most new comedians are completely clueless about is this:
Writing is different than talking. Talking is different than writing. You can verify that using any search engine.
If a comedian tries to talk on stage in a way that is reflective of the way they have been taught to write since youth, they are basically screwed when it comes to getting any sort of significant laughter on stage as a comedian.
This is what most new comedians do (just like I did when I first started out) and the results are not favorable (I’m trying to be nice here).
But let’s get back to the notion of trying to somehow find stand-up comedy material example, in particular “written” examples that should “unlock” the inside secrets for developing a big laugh stand-up comedy routine.
I am most curious about is this:
When people are searching for examples of stand-up comedy material, are they expecting to find pages with stand-up comedy material in a “written down” format?
And if they did find examples of stand-up comedy material written down somewhere, what would they expect to discover from those examples?
Note: That is not a trick question. It makes absolutely no sense to find written examples of stand-up comedy material if you don’t know what you expect to garner from finding those examples.
Unfortunately, I suspect these folks are among the masses of prospective comedians who don’t seem to understand these 4 very important aspects when it comes to stand-up comedy material AND…
I also provide a link to the one “written” example of stand-up comedy material that is available on this blog:
1. “Writing” in the literal sense is a one dimensional communication medium — which is significantly different than stand-up comedy which is an expressive, three dimensional communication medium, of which words and sentences have the LEAST impact by themselves when it comes to generating laughter from a live audience.
Related Article: Are You Using A One Dimensional Approach In A Three Dimensional Performing Art?
2. Trying to study “written” examples of stand-up comedy material is like trying to study the steering wheel of a car in order to try to figure out how the engine works. Much of what makes stand-up comedy funny in the live audience environment (93%) is not the words or sentences used.
Note: I am well aware of the challenges that can be found online to Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Communication Model involving the assignment of the “hard” number percentages as it relates to the weight of the various communication elements involved with speaking (7% words, 38% voice inflection and tone, 55% body language and facial expressions).
However, for anyone who has issues with that model — one need only refer to any number of references on reading body language (#ad) to confirm that MOST of an individual’s in person verbal communication comes from facial expressions, micro facial expressions, body movement, gestures, voice tone and inflection, etc.
Knowing the exact numerical weight of any particular verbal communication element is not as important as understanding that the vast majority of spoken word communication DOES NOT come from the actual words being spoken but from the other communication elements that are involved.
Words and sentences on paper don’t even begin to accurately represent the context, intensity, attitude, etc. of words and sentences as they are actually expressed to an audience (delivery).
3. Unless an individual can visualize a comedian and their delivery style — the vast majority of stand-up comedy material simply will not read funny from a piece of paper.
As a matter of fact, many punchlines in stand-up comedy material won’t even make sense as they “read” from a piece of paper because of the absence of numerous delivery aspects in the “written” word vice the “spoken” word.
Related Article: The Delivery Style Secret Every New Comedian Should Know
4. Studying stand-up comedy material examples of other comedians is pretty much a waste of time unless the comedy material being studied is delivered by a comedian who has a very similar sense of humor, demeanor, attitude, expressive traits, etc. as individual studying the comedian’s stand-up comedy material.
Even then, individuals usually fail to recognize that the vast majority of a comedian’s laughter power simply does not come from the literal words and sentences as they “read” from paper as previously mentioned.
All I know for sure is this:
As long as the masses of prospective comedians keep expecting “written” examples of stand-up comedy material to magically reveal the “secrets” they need to generate big laughs from their own stand-up comedy…
Talented individuals will continue to struggle needlessly to reach their stand-up comedy goals and ambitions.
That is exactly why I developed the Killer Stand-up Comedy System for myself — the conventional “writing” methods simply did not work for me, for the same reasons I have identified in this article.
I found this using the search phrase you wondered about several times as to why people use it. In my case it is because I was hoping to see what a routine looks like on paper, particularly how detailed. I realize it isn’t for memorization, but I see a lot of mention of having a tight set, and the importance of removing extra words. The second reason was to see how this would then be condensed into a set list to keep just in case when on stage.
The answer you are looking for is covered in detail in my online course at http://www.killerstandup.com.