Can I Know If My Stand-up Comedy Material Is Funny Before I Take It To The Stage?

question9One of things almost every comedian wants to know, no matter what level they may be at is:

“Is there any way to know if my stand-up comedy material will work before I deliver it on stage?”

That is a very difficult question to answer with a simple yes-or-no answer because there are a number of very important variables that must be considered in order to provide a meaningful response.

So here’s what I am going to do in this article:

First, I’m going to present just 5 variables that you must consider when trying to determine if your stand-up comedy material is funny before you deliver it to an audience.

Then, I am going to directly answer the question:

“Is there any way to know if my stand-up comedy material will work before I deliver it on stage?”

Hint: The answer is conditionally yes, depending upon your knowledge and understanding of the variables below:

1. Does the comedian have real comedy talent and the audience appeal required to generate laughs on stage?

Roughly half the people who attempt stand-up comedy don’t have the comedy talent (or audience appeal) God gave toenail clippings.

It’s no different than watching the people who think they can sing and try out for American Idol, but simply don’t have the baseline talent needed to actually compete in the first place.

Talentless singers can be hilarious to watch:

Watching talentless comedians however is much like enduring fingernails on a chalkboard.

In other words, none of what I have to offer in this article (or anything else I offer for that matter) to help someone determine if their stand-up comedy material is funny before they take it to the stage has any bearing if baseline comedy talent and audience appeal are absent to begin with.

But let’s assume that you DO have all the comedy talent and audience appeal you need to get the big laughs on stage (which the majority of people have)…

2. Is the comedian trying to “write” their way to being funny on stage or are they structuring their existing sense of humor and comedy talent for delivery to an audience?

Most stand-up comedy material DOES NOT read funny from paper. That’s because “writing” is a completely different form of communication that talking or communicating verbally.

Comedians who expect material that “reads” funny from paper to work magnificently on stage end up sorely disappointed because they are unaware of the fact that words and sentences on paper make up the smallest aspect of getting big laughs as a comedian.

It’s only if a comedian can visualize their delivery of comedy material (which constitutes the bulk of the laughter generation power that a comedian has) that they can make a determination if their stand-up comedy material will be funny or not when delivered and expressed on stage.

3. How “tight” is the stand-up comedy material that the comedian is delivering?

If a comedian doesn’t really know what a punchline is relative to context and delivery in the stand-up comedy material that they are going to deliver to an audience…

Note: Knowing only that a punchline is the funny part of a joke is worthless when it comes to trying to determine if your stand-up comedy material is funny or not.

Related Article: The Truth About Set-up Lines And Punchlines

Or the comedian is unable to structure their stand-up comedy material in order to deliver 4-6+ punchlines per minute to generate a minimum of 18 seconds of laughter per minute

Simply put, if a comedian’s stand-up comedy material is not “tight”, it will not work at a high level and they have basically no chance of generating any significant laughter momentum with their stand-up comedy material.

4. Is the comedian completely prepared to deliver their stand-up comedy material at the highest level BEFORE they deliver that material to an audience?

If a comedian is dependent upon notes, cannot keep eye contact with an audience or doesn’t present the appearance of spontaneity or genuineness with their stand-up comedy material…

Their stand-up comedy material is basically rendered ineffective when it may actually be hilarious, given the proper delivery.

5. Can your audiences easily visualize and relate to what you are talking about on stage?

Simply put, if your audiences cannot visualize or relate to what you have to say on stage, they won’t get the “jokes”.

Note: This is one of the reasons why “alternative” comedy and “cutting” edge comedy tends to flop miserably on stage with great consistency.

What I have just presented are just 5 of a number of important variables that must be taken into account if a comedian wants to have even a rough idea if their stand-up comedy material is funny before they take it to the stage.

And let me say this — none of the variables you need to know in order to make a determination on whether or not your stand-up comedy material is funny are difficult to recognize or understand.

But it’s been said before:

“It’s hard to know what you don’t know”.

So the answer to the question is…

Yes, a comedian have a pretty darn good idea if their stand-up comedy material will work BEFORE they deliver it to an audience, provided that they are:

1. Self aware about what makes them funny in the first place and…

2. They are able to recognize and account for most of the variables that can have an impact of the effectiveness of their stand-up comedy material.

Actually any comedian who knows the secrets for doing so can test their stand-up comedy material in casual conversations for laughter impact BEFORE they take that stand-up comedy material to the stage.

And for the record:

You won’t find the information I have presented in this article or about the additional variables you need to consider in ANY of the popular books on “writing” stand-up comedy.

That information is only available in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.

Find out for yourself why Steve Roye is a top stand-up comedy expert/trainer globally for both new and experienced comedians as well as for humorous speaking professionals.