Given that verifiable information, it is fairly easy to see why a comedian who can only generate 1-2 laughs per minute is bombing (or delivering a largely unfunny lecture).
6. The comedian who is generating 4-6+ laughs per minute is delivering 4-6+ punchlines each performing minute.
That becomes significant when you consider that the set-up lines to those punchlines are also needed (and require performing time).
You can also think of it this way:
If a comedian is generating an average of 18 seconds of collective audience laughter for each performing minute that means…
They have an average of 42 seconds each minute to deliver BOTH the set-up lines and punchlines to generate 4-6+ laughs per minute.
So, given the simple and 100% verifiable information I have provided, let me ask you this:
Are having set-up lines that are too long a problem for comedians?
I submit to you that long set-up lines are severely crippling to the comedian who is trying to make ANY real progress in the world of stand-up comedy.
In my professional opinion as a comedian trainer I will say this with 100% certainty:
If a comedian doesn’t have or learn to develop the skill or ability to create, edit and structure their stand-up comedy material to generate an average of 4-6+ collective audience laughs per minute BEFORE they ever hit the stage with that material…
They are in for a potentially very long and frustrating experience as a comedian.
Now I want to cover a few primary reasons why new comedian set-up lines are way, way too long for them to make any real headway as a comedian.
1. Writing stand-up comedy material in the literary sense.
Individuals who “write” their stand-up comedy material (in the fashion they are taught to “write” information designed to be read) will use many more words and sentences in their set-up lines because they are only working with words.
It takes many more words to present material that is written to be read than to develop stand-up comedy material that incorporates the delivery aspects right from the start.
In others words…
Most new comedians are completely unaware that “writing” and “talking are two very separate and distinct methods of communication.
Note: A smart comedian knows how to use these differences to their advantage to put together the tightest stand-up comedy routine possible.
2. Over explaining information leading up to a punchline.
Many new comedians will make the false assumption that the audience won’t “get” what they are talking about and compensate by over explaining what it is they want to deliver to an audience.
Audiences are just as smart collectively, if not smarter than a comedian. If a comedian has their material developed properly, audiences will “get” what they are saying on stage in the fewest words possible.
3. No idea of how much time their comedy material represents on stage.
If a comedian doesn’t have at least a rough idea of how much material they will be delivering in any given minute of their stand-up comedy act, it becomes difficult at best to determine the punchline frequency they need to shoot for in any given minute of their stand-up comedy material.
4. No idea about what a punchline really is, their common structure or how they are produced in relation to set-up material.
Subsequently, punchlines end up being just statements or more set-up lines that simply don’t generate laughs.
Like I said, the more a comedian talks, the less an audience will laugh.
The Bottom Line
For those who have real comedy talent (which is most people who take a shot at stand-up comedy), it is very easy to develop the skill to create, edit, structure and deliver a high impact stand-up comedy act that gets big and frequent laughs.
I can also guarantee you this:
You won’t get even a fraction of the information you need to do this from popular books on how to develop a stand-up comedy act.
But again, don’t take my word on it — verify what I have revealed in this article for yourself.