Many people who make the decision to tackle stand-up comedy make what appears to be a logical decision to help them progress quickly, which is to take a stand-up comedy class or workshop.
And most of the time, they end up sorely disappointed with the results (or rather the lack of results) once they have completed the class or workshop.
Why is that? I can tell you exactly why that happens.
There is a huge difference between academic information and actionable information.
In most stand-up comedy classes and workshops, all the students will get from the experience is academic information.
Here’s what I mean by that…
Academic Definitions Are NOT Enough
In the world of “conventional” stand-up comedy education, students are exposed to definitions of set-up lines, punchlines, joke formulas, etc.
They are also exposed to illustrations of what these definitions mean by using examples of stand-up comedy material used by popular comedians — examples based on those comedian’s sense of humor, perspectives and comedy expressive traits, not the student’s.
If that were enough to help someone actually develop stand-up comedy material that works, that means that:
I could provide a classroom full of students the definition of a carburetor. I could provide them the definitions of the various parts in variety of carburetors and define what each part does.
I could then show them numerous pictures of different kinds of carburetors and the various parts associated with each.
Then at the end of the class…
Everyone should be able to take apart and repair a variety of carburetors with skill and accuracy, right?
Not even close, because the information that I provided was merely academic and not actionable.
This exact same condition exists in most stand-up comedy classes and workshops.
But that’s not the only issue associated with most stand-up comedy classes and workshops…
The Problems With Trying To “Write” Stand-up Comedy Material
To add insult to injury…
There is a primary focus on “writing” stand-up comedy material in the literal sense, as if material that “reads” funny from a piece of paper will somehow do well when delivered on stage.
Unfortunately, this focus on “writing” stand-up comedy like a greeting card, book report or short story using “writing techniques” disregards these concrete attributes associated with developing stand-up comedy material that will actually work on an individual basis because:
- We “write” much differently than we talk or communicate verbally
- We use much more than words alone to express our sense of humor to generate laughter, whether on or off the stand-up comedy stage
- Audiences don’t “read” stand-up comedy material – they experience it live as it is expressed by the comedian
- Stand-up comedy material that accurately reflects and incorporates the comedy mechanics and unique expressive traits that an individual uses to generate laughs will usually NOT read funny when “read” from a piece of paper
Yet somehow, as if by magic, just knowing the definitions of set-ups, punchlines, similes, comparisons, exaggerations, callbacks, double entendres, using the “k” sound in words, etc. is supposed to enable a person to “write” stand-up comedy material that works on stage.
Again, mere academic information is nowhere near enough to help an individual develop and deliver stand-up comedy material effectively and get the laughter results that they want on stage – especially on an individual by individual basis.
If you don’t believe what I have just presented and you have taken a stand-up comedy class or workshop, see if you can answer the 10 questions in this article:
Then, when comes time to perform the stand-up comedy material in the class or workshop that was “written” as a result of the academic information provided…
Merely telling a student that they have great ideas or great stand-up comedy material and “now all they have to do is make it funny” is of zero value to the student whatsoever (this actually happens).
Are there any benefits to taking a stand-up comedy class or workshop?
But when it comes to learning how to develop stand-up comedy material that will actually work for you, here’s what you need to know:
An individual’s sense of humor and the expression of that sense of humor effectively to generate laughter involves much more than just words and sentences “written” on paper or using a word processor – again, whether they are off or on the stage.
Effective use of an individual’s unique sense of humor and perspectives involves an array of attributes – attributes that are already well developed and specific to each individual.
And if you understand that the comedy mechanics that you use in everyday life to generate laughter in casual conversations are EXACTLY the same as those you will use on stage to generate laughs…
Then common sense would dictate that you really need to know how select, flesh out, structure and deliver stand-up comedy material in a way that capitalizes on the well-developed comedy mechanics that you already have and got you into stand-up comedy in the first place.
But that’s not going to happen if you are only armed with academic information without the associated actionable information you need as it applies specifically to you and your already developed sense of humor and the comedy mechanics that you use to express your sense of humor.
This is the reason why so many people who have taken a stand-up comedy class or workshop end up seeking out the Killer Stand-up Online Course – which contains not only academic information that you won’t find in any stand-up comedy class or workshop, but it also has…
Actionable, easy to apply, step-by-step instruction on how to develop, structure and deliver a stand-up comedy routine effectively and professionally, as it relates to an individual and their already developed sense of humor and the comedy mechanics that they already use.
So if you wanted to know why most stand-up comedy classes and workshops are a disappointment to students, now you know why.
One last thing…
What I have just described is also the reason why the popular books on stand-up comedy drop the ball as well and don’t produce results. FYI.