Sometimes I get difficult, if not impossible questions like:
Am I funny enough for stand-up comedy or am I just wasting my time?
Without knowing an individual personally or without reviewing a video of an individual performing stand-up, there is no way for me to tell.
But I can tell you what I know, which is:
Most people who make the decision to jump into stand-up comedy have all the natural comedy talent they need to do well as a comedian.
The relatively few remaining others simply do not have the baseline talent needed to make any headway in stand-up comedy.
And there’s no way to learn to have talent or “write” oneself into having talent that is not there already.
Anyone that makes an offer to “teach” someone how to somehow have talent is a scam for sure.
For the majority of those who do have all the natural comedy talent they need to do well as a comedian, success on stage really boils down to this (in a nutshell):
- Recognizing what makes a person funny and capitalizing on those attributes
- Structuring what a person wants to express to an audience to get 4-6+ laughs per minute (whether it be a one liner approach or topic based approach)
- Professionally preparing to deliver their stand-up comedy material confidently, again capitalizing on the attributes that make that person funny in the first place
Ultimately, it will be the audience laughter response a comedian can generate with consistency that will determine if they are “funny enough” for stand-up.
What People Don’t Understand
Most talented individuals were “comedians” long before they ever make the decision to get involved in stand-up comedy.
They already have well developed expressive traits, communication “techniques”, mannerisms, etc. that are proven to work to generate laughs off stage and will usually work to generate laughs on stage.
Unfortunately, most new comedians get stuck in some sort of “writing” exercise, depending on “fabricating” mere words and sentences from a blank piece of paper when it comes to getting laughs.
That’s like trying to drive a car with only the steering wheel. While the steering wheel is certainly a critical element on an automobile, it doesn’t work well without the rest of the car.
The reality of the situation is that people don’t develop the sense of humor and comedy talent they have as a result of exchanging written messages with people their whole life. Writing is a completely different form of communication than talking in many ways.
Yet somehow, people are led to believe that it is some sort of writing process that will propel a person into success as a comedian.
Don’t get me wrong — stand-up comedy jokes and material should be written down because words and sentences are not visible or available for editing, restructuring or adjustment until they are.
Just out of curiosity…
The last time that you used your comedy talent to cause someone to laugh while you were in a conversation — did that happen because you stopped and wrote a joke or something funny on paper and handed it to the person for them to read???
The thing that trips most people up when it comes to becoming a comedian is that they are either led to believe or they assume that writing and talking are 100% interchangeable forms of a communication and that comedy material is “extracted” from blank paper using some sort of special word structure that forms jokes.
If you want to subscribe to that hooey, that’s completely your call.
What I will tell is that if you take this approach of attempting to write your way to being funny as a comedian, the vast majority of your sense of humor and comedy talent will never make it to the stage.
Just keep in mind that NOBODY gets talker’s block.
So the answer to the question “Am I funny enough to be a comedian?” is most likely yes.
The better question is this:
Are you going to use the sense of humor and comedy talent you developed from talking and interacting with others your whole life or are you going to try to “write” your way to being funny on stage as a comedian?
Related Article: How To Get Stuck In Stand-up Comedy Joke Writing Mode
Stand-up comedy is a very deceptive art form in that there is much more involved in developing and delivering a stand-up comedy act that actually generates big laughs than meets the eye.
Here’s the bottom line:
If an individual does have comedy talent and actually knows what they are doing when it comes to developing and delivering a tight, professional stand-up comedy routine…
They can usually determine from relatively few performances over a relatively short period of time whether or not they are “funny enough” for stand-up.
Related Video And Link:
The remainder of this interview can be found on this page.
Is it fair to say that the big difference must be between “telling jokes” and “delivering a message” — that is to say, many performers write jokes they can share with the audience, which may or may not generate laughter; but successful comedians identify, develop and share (and I use ‘share’ deliberately, as opposed to ‘present’) their personal view of the world — i.e., issues that “matter” — with their audience, but do it in a funny way? If this is so, “writing” your comedy as a series of jokes is indeed a waste of time, challenging to structure, and difficult to remember. How much easier to simply share your unique point of view on various topics. You’d just need to think it through in advance, decide how best to present your ideas to make your message clear, and practice your delivery.