Becoming a headlining comedian requires tremendous drive and determination, as well as confidence, talent, and skill. It’s not easy to consistently entertain audiences and generate an average of 18+ seconds of laughter, cheering, or applause for each performing minute for 45 minutes to an hour or longer.
However, for those new to stand-up comedy, achieving headliner level material is not an impossible goal.
While you may not reach that milestone on your first performance, there is nothing keeping you from attaining it right from the beginning of your comedy adventures. If you have real comedy talent and know how to structure and capitalize on that talent, you can progress quickly.
Rather than trying to “write” jokes in the literal sense, focus on honing your comedic skills and developing a unique style that resonates with your audience. By mastering the art of delivery, timing, and stage presence, you can elevate your stand-up comedy performances to headliner level.
Join the stand-up comedy elite and set the standards for other talented comedians to achieve. With practice and experience, you too can become a headlining comedian and achieve success in the world of stand-up comedy.
Here are 4 important considerations you may want to review in order to elevate your chances of greater success on the stand-up comedy stage:
1. Have confidence in the way you develop your stand-up comedy material. It doesn’t matter if you are using my system, writing jokes one at a time using the conventional methods (#ad), or have your own method…
Don’t second guess your individual sense of humor — be more concerned about identifying those things you personally find easy to talk about and easy to apply your sense of humor to when talking about them.
You may also want to review this article about developing your first 5 minutes of stand-up comedy material.
2. Be prepared like a headliner — no matter what level you may be at.
In other words…
Don’t be unprepared like this guy was when you step on stage.
Be rehearsed and be prepared to speak as naturally and confidently as you would be if you were among friends and it is simply your turn to talk about any particular topic or issue.
Note: The only difference here is that you already know what you are going to talk about when it becomes your turn to talk and…
What you are going to express to friends has been structured and tightened to cut to the chase and generate 4-6+ laughs per minute when it is your turn to talk.
Prepare to perform like you are getting $100 dollars for your 3-7 minutes of stage time.
If you will do that, you will usually stand head and shoulders above others who are performing at the same open mic.
It also has a tendency to draw attention from the management, organizers of a stand-up open mic and other comedians when an individual is prepared and rehearsed in a natural way and ready to give it their all, even if they don’t quite reach headliner level laughter their first time on stage.
Here’s an unsolicited and unedited comment that I received via Facebook to illustrate the power of proper preparation (I was granted permission to use it):
3. Your goal from the beginning is to generate 4-6+ laughs per minute for each performing minute to generate headliner level audience responses.
That’s 4-6+ punchlines per minute. Just knowing that benchmark for headlining comedians alone should positively affect your stand-up comedy material development process and put you head and shoulders above other new comedians who are unaware of it.
But you may not reach that level of laughter your first out of the shoot. Don’t be discouraged.
Video tape your set for performance improvement review/action before your next show.
4. Don’t be afraid of reworking material. Reworking material is an integral part of the stand-up comedy material development process that few can avoid.
For example, the re-positioning of a single word or word group phrase in a punchline can make the difference between an OK laugh and a huge audience laugh on stage.
You can also use Comedy Evaluator Pro to pinpoint punchlines that didn’t work well and need editing, replacement or deletion, long set-ups, laughs per minute etc.
One thing I know for sure from first hand personal experience…
You’ll also feel more accomplished once you have had your stage time if you are truly ready and prepared right from the start–before you ever hit the stage.
But do some recon first. Just check out ANY stand-up comedy open mic night. Stay until the end, no matter how painful it may be.
Take notes on what you saw in those who did poorly on stage. Use your gut reactions and pay close attention because at this point, you are seeing what the audience sees and is NOT reacting to.
That’s some powerful information about what NOT to do when you are on stage.
Also, identify who the real players are and who can actually deliver stand-up comedy material that works. Make a note of what they did differently than everyone else. Use this knowledge to your advantage as well as you prepare for your own performances.
Determine for yourself if being prepared to dominate that stage as comedian, even as a newbie — is a better approach than what you will witness with your own eyes.
You will also have a very good idea why it doesn’t take much to stand out from the crowd, if that is your goal and you have comedy talent.