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Many people who are looking to take a shot at stand-up comedy are under the impression that there are some “double secret” or super special techniques or strategies involved in order to do well on stage as a new comedian.
That’s not the case at all.
Getting the big laughs on stage as a new comedian really involves understanding some very basic things AND doing those basic things very well.
Here are a few examples of what I am talking about:
1. Knowing what makes you funny in the first place. If you don’t know what it is that you do to get laughs in everyday life, how can you apply that to stand-up comedy?
Basically, you can’t.
However, most new comedians opt for a mechanical, “plug peg A into slot B” approach as they assume they are “supposed” to do.
The problem with that approach is that the process of developing and delivery a stand-up comedy routine becomes a “technique driven” process instead of an effective means to express one’s natural sense of humor. The results overwhelmingly tend to be less than favorable.
Which brings me to the next basic thing every new comedian should know which is…
2. Knowing the difference between making friends, family and acquaintances laugh spontaneously and delivering a stand-up comedy routine that actually generates laughs.
There are some very significant similarities between making people you know laugh and making people you don’t know (and who don’t know you) who are sitting in an audience laugh.
There are some significant differences as well. Armed with this knowledge can give a new comedian a significant advantage in the stand-up comedy arena.
3. Knowing how to structure a stand-up comedy routine for maximum laughter impact. A stand-up comedy act is a routine, unlike the spontaneous exchange of commentary between friends, family and co-workers when you are “on a roll”.
Yet you still want that same continuous laughter response when you are delivering your stand-up comedy act. In order to do that effectively, here a just a few things you MUST know:
- What a punchline really is (relative to what you are taking about)
- How frequently you are delivering your punchlines
- How to reduce the time between punchline delivery
- How to determine what material to keep, what material is worth editing and what material needs to be discarded
4. Knowing how to prepare to deliver a professional stand-up comedy routine. Most new comedians spend very little time in this area.
Subsequently, they get little in the way of laughs when they hit the stage. Ironically, this aspect of stand-up comedy is more important than the “writing” part, believe it or not.
5. Knowing how to make intelligent adjustments to stand-up comedy material. For most new comedians, this is an exercise in “blind trial and error”.
It’s almost like trying to play the lotto – even if you do win, you really don’t know why nor do you have a clue on how to repeat success.
That’s just a few of the most basic things a new comedian should not only know, but be able to act upon in a way that brings them the results they want in shortest time possible.
And here’s the kicker – while what I have described takes work, none of these things are difficult to understand or implement if you know what you are doing.