When an individual makes the decision to take a shot at stand-up comedy, I know from firsthand experience that the tendency is to assume that getting laughs on stage as a comedian it is far easier than it actually is.
There are some very good reasons for this, one of which is because of the ease that we use our own sense of humor to get laughs in everyday life — without thought or study.
Another reason is the ease at which professional comedians are able to make it appear to be when delivering an act and getting big laughs, whether during live performances or TV performances.
Interestingly enough, these seemingly visible aspects that contribute to making the decision to become a comedian actually tend to be highly misleading.
Not only that, most new comedians get on stage expecting to be the “life of the party” and get the big laughs only to have the audience not laugh and stare at them as if they had a third eye right in middle of their forehead.
So you may be asking yourself — What kind of advice could I give someone who is considering jumping into stand-up comedy?
First I would say that if someone is not really serious about pursuing stand-up comedy at a high level or on a pro level, they don’t really need to do much at all.
In other words, they can simply use the pure trial and error approach most comedians use or just get one or two of the inexpensive books on stand-up comedy that are available and work from them to try to develop a stand-up comedy act.
Just don’t be disappointed when those stand-up comedy books (#ad) don’t help you produce the results you want on stage.
It takes very little effort to suck on stage and one needs only go to ANY stand-up comedy open mic on the planet to experience for themselves exactly what I am talking about.
What is exciting about this aspect of stand-up comedy — the fact that most people who take a shot at stand-up comedy are terrible at it for a long time — provides tremendous potential opportunities for those who are able to “crack the code” so to speak and develop/deliver stand-up comedy material that actually does get the big laughs.
With that said, here are a few things that a person who is serious about taking a shot at stand-up comedy might want to consider:
- No matter how natural, conversational or “off the top of the head” a stand-up comedy act may appear to be, IT IS AN ACT – an act that has usually been developed as the result of weeks and months, if not years of work.
- If the friends and family you are surrounded with are representative of a “general” audience, then you should have a much easier time getting the big laughs you want. If not, then you will probably struggle to get laughs on stage until you develop and deliver stand-up comedy material that will appeal to a general audience.
- If you are expecting to “write” your way to having comedy talent that you don’t actually have, may I humbly suggest you look at spending your time on something other than stand-up comedy.
Note: If you want to find out why most talented people flop on the stand-up comedy stage, you may want to check out the 5 free lessons available with my online course.
Probably the most important pieces of advice I could give to someone who wants to be a comedian is this:
1. Get on stage as soon as possible. See for yourself what it feels like. See for yourself what sort of laughter response you can generate.
2. Do not be fooled into thinking that “writing” is the key to getting big laughs as a comedian. Stand-up comedy that actually works is multidimensional in nature (review this article for details).
3. If what you are trying on stage is NOT working, don’t keep doing it expecting it to work sometime in the future.
Your other option is this:
Be just as clueless as most of the others attempting stand-up comedy at every comedy open mic night that have two chances of ever getting anywhere with their stand-up comedy – slim and none.
I propose that you find a system, method or process that works for you as soon as possible. That’ll contribute to your success as a comedian more than any one thing I can think of.
Winners always prepare to win.