Yes, You Can Tell Stories As A Comedian

comedian stories

The truth is, some of the most popular and hilarious stand-up comedians are story telling comedians:

Brian Regan
Maria Bamford
Bill Burr
Tom Segura
Sebastian Maniscalco
Kevin Hart
Amy Schumer
Tim Allen

They all have one thing in common: they are able to tell stories that are incredibly funny and engaging.

Storytelling comics have an advantage over joke-telling comedians in that they can take the audience on a journey with them, while also providing the audience with plenty of laughter along the way.

It’s a unique form of stand-up comedy because it gives the audience a chance to get to know the comedian better, as the stories they tell often relate to personal experiences or observations.

Brian Regan, Maria Bamford, Bill Burr, Tom Segura, Sebastian Maniscalco, Kevin Hart, and Tim Allen are among the most renowned storytellers in the comedy world. Each of these comedians has their own unique style, whether it’s through their delivery or the stories they share.

For example, Maria Bamford rarely tells stories about her own life, instead choosing to tell her audiences a series of absurd stories about her various encounters with strangers and acquaintances.

Brian Regan, on the other hand, prefers to tell stories about his own life, which often include jokes about his own physical misfortunes.

Likewise, Bill Burr’s stories often make fun of current events and culture, while Tom Segura’s stories usually center around embarrassing experiences or situations.

Sebastian Maniscalco likes to tell stories about his own life, but often with a comedic twist. Kevin Hart’s stories often revolve around his own humorous experiences, while Amy Schumer’s stories tend to poke fun at society’s norms.

Lastly, comedian Tim Allen is best known for his stories that reflect everyday life. He often uses analogies and anecdotes to talk about his life experiences in a humorous way. His stories are often about family, his kids, his life as a father, and his job as an actor and comedian.

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Each of these comedians has carved out their own unique niche in the comedy world by telling funny and engaging stories. Their storytelling style is proof that being a great stand-up comedian doesn’t require being restricted to one form of comedy. You can tell both jokes and stories, and still make it in the comedy world.

What Matters Most When Story Telling

In my own stand-up comedy material, if I had not been able to tell stories, I would have probably had less than 5 minutes of comedy material.

Here is the deal with telling stories as a comedian:

1. You must still be able to generate 4-6+ solid laughs per minute, which means your stories must be structured to deliver 4-6+ punchlines per minute.

Otherwise, you will be giving a lecture.

2. To deliver headliner level material, you must be able to generate a minimum of 18 seconds of laughter per performing minute.

3. Story telling comedians will ALWAYS have a big advantage over joke telling comedians because of this one simple fact:

The longer you can stay on a single topic (which telling a story allows you to do), the less set-up needed to get the laughs is greatly reduced.

In other words…

Once you are on a topic and have set it up properly, the audience already knows what you are talking about — so you can spend more time getting to the “meat” of the issue or topic (which also means getting more laughs).

It’s also far easier to generate a substantial quantity of stand-up comedy material to work with on any give topic, subject, experience, etc.

Topic based stand-up comedy material also tends to be far more personalized than with the production of individual jokes, making it more difficult for another comedian to steal.

But like I said earlier, the goal is to generate 4-6+ quality laughs per performing minute no matter what type of stand-up comedy material delivered.

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It is at that level that comedians really begins to draw attention to themselves and their comedy talent and are afforded bigger and better performing opportunities.

Early in my stand-up comedy career I got to see two particular comedians who were on the same ticket — Steve Kelly (feature act) and Bill Engvall (headliner).

Steve Kelly is a joke telling comedian and very effective at it, delivering one single “joke” after another. And he did generate good laughs during his show.

But when Bill Engvall who is a story telling comedian hit the stage, the difference in the audience laughter generated was literally like night and day.

The audience was laughing so hard and so frequently that they could barely catch their breath. Collectively, they were waving back and forth like wheat in the wind because of the laughter levels generated.

My sides were sore for a couple of days from that show because I had laughed so hard myself.

So when it comes to laughter generation, it is very hard to get bigger and more frequent laughs on stage than with topic based stand-up comedy material that is properly structured to get maximum audience laughs every minute.

That’s what the Killer Stand-up Online Course is all about — topic based comedy material development.

Joke telling comedians have to constantly set-up each new joke, premise, concept, idea or set of jokes, making it much more difficult to “get on a roll” with an audience.

Not to mention that developing “jokes” one at a time is far more difficult as well.

So, yes you can tell stories on stage as a comedian. And if any so-called comedy “expert” says you can’t…

Cover your wallet — you are probably about to be scammed.

3 Replies to “Yes, You Can Tell Stories As A Comedian”

  1. The secret to storytelling (at least for me) is the shorter the setup the better. They need to start laughing from the beginning. The preacher in me is not shortwinded. I can take awhile to setup where I sm going. But in comedy, words need to be at premium. Every phrase I say that is classified as a S (that doesn’t get a laugh), makes the goal of 4-6+ laughs a minute harder to reach!

  2. Being new to stand up, most of my material is drawn from my past. First, I would write/say the story, then edit it down to the important facts. Put them in bullet point form and derive jokes/punchlines from each bullet point. I would keep in mind any tangent sub stories I could derive from each bullet point but then go back and try to tell the story with joke/punchlines inserted.

    Also I would keep in mind if I could tell the story from an unusual point of view, i.e. from the dog point of view or the car POV.

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