While there may not be a definitive way to determine whether or not a person has the baseline comedy talent to do well as a comedian…
I can certainly tell you what I know from a professional perspective.
First, let’s start with a discussion about an individual’s sense of humor. Then I will touch upon some aspects that tend to limit or hinder funny and talented people from making progress as a comedian.
Your Sense Of Humor
Everyone has a sense of humor — the “lens” through which a person consumes life and as a result they are able to cause laughter to occur when they respond to the world around them.
And just like any other attribute a person can have, some people have a more well developed sense of humor than others.
The most important thing I can tell you about a person’s sense of humor as it relates to stand-up comedy and becoming a comedian is this:
Nobody can “learn” to have a better sense of humor, just like no one can “learn” to be taller.
I’m telling you this because there are some folks who have a sense of humor that is not well developed but they get involved with stand-up comedy thinking they can somehow develop a better sense of humor — one that will work on the stand-up comedy stage to get the big laughs along with the resulting respect, admiration and sense of accomplishment comedians enjoy.
Fortunately, most people who want to take a shot at stand-up comedy do have a sense of humor that can afford them success as a comedian.
In other words, the skill and ability to develop and deliver a high level stand-up comedy routine can be learned given the guidance.
That’s completely different than trying to “learn” how to have a better or different sense of humor for stand-up comedy which is like trying to drown a fish.
Know this before you move forward:
All laughter is a shared and voluntary response. A comedian cannot “force” anyone or any audience to laugh.
Comedians cause audiences to laugh hard and frequently as a result of their skill and ability to use their own unique sense of humor when developing and delivering a stand-up comedy routine.
Here’s another way to think of stand-up comedy:
Powerful stand-up comedy is a focused, refined and honed representation of who you already are and the sense of humor that you already have.
Where talented folks run into difficulty is in the process of effectively harnessing and applying the well developed sense of humor they already have on the stand-up comedy stage at every juncture.
Now What’s The Problem?
If you spend any time on this blog you will discover a host of problems and roadblocks that keep talented and funny individuals from making progress as a comedian.
But if I were asked what the single biggest problem facing a new comedian would be, I would have to say that it involves trying to “write” their way to being funny on stage.
In other words, they don’t have so much as a clue that writing is a different form of communication than talking.
It’s not until a new comedian takes their perfectly “written” jokes to the stage and flop miserably that they realize there’s a problem.
To make matters worse, they then “write” and rewrite material with similar results.
It’s like trying to change the tire on a car with a screwdriver when a tire tool is what is what you need.
In my comedy career I have either performed at or observed well over 100 comedy open mic nights. I have literally seen hundreds of individuals take the stage.
Their problem (collectively) wasn’t a lack of talent. It was a lack of knowledge, skill and ability to effectively use the comedy talent they already had in order to get the laughs they wanted.
Here’s the most ironic thing of all:
Literary “writing” skill is not required at all in order to develop and deliver powerful stand-up comedy material.
But it does involve:
- Knowing what you doing before you get to the stage to develop and structure stand-up comedy material that has the best chances of getting frequent laughs
- Knowing what you are doing when you are on stage that enhances laughter response
- Knowing what to do after a performance to further adjust and hone your stand-up comedy material
Here’s my last stand-up comedy tip:
If you consider yourself a naturally funny person (which the chances are pretty good that you are) and you do make the decision to take a serious shot at stand-up comedy…
Stay away from “joke writing” and trying to “become” what you think a comedian should be because:
If you are a naturally funny individual in everyday life, you ALREADY ARE a comedian, using techniques and strategies that already work for you.
Don’t abandon your already developed “funny” power for “joke writing” and trying to guess what may or may not be funny.
You just need to structure, hone and refine “you” and the comedy talent that you already have for the stand-up comedy stage if you want to progress quickly as a comedian.
That’s what the Killer Stand-up Online Course is all about.
I tried stand up comedy a year ago
I went to the stage to perform for the first time in my entire life.. I made some mistakes that I still regrets ,but I wanna pursue this Talent of mine ..
perhaps your tips might come in handy
Im not sure if i am a comedian
I tried to get into stand up comedy right out of college and never got anywhere with it. I am now picking it back up and these tips are very helpful. I just want to be funny and help people laugh and forget their problems for one minute. Thanks for sharing the tips!
Want to thank you for taking the time to write the above articles, I am looking to get into stand up now at my age (48) not because I want to be famous but to make people laugh and escape stress for a few minutes.. Thanks again…