I often wonder how many people have trusted the information they acquired from stand-up comedy forums to take a shot at stand-up comedy.
I suspect the number is staggering. I also suspect that the number of folks who couldn’t get past comedy open mics using the information garnered from stand-up comedy forums is equally as staggering.
Based on my own personal experience on a wide variety of well established stand-up comedy forums over the years…
I can tell you from a professional perspective that I am not a fan of stand-up comedy forums. Let me explain why I say that…
My Take On Stand-up Comedy Forums
Here are some specific reasons I am not enthusiastic about stand-up comedy forums as a general rule:
1. Scarcity of experienced and accomplished comedians who participate in stand-up comedy forums. Most stand-up comedy forums are primarily populated by:
- Individuals who have never developed or delivered a stand-up comedy routine. But they have watched enough of it to feel they know what it is really all about and what’s involved.
- Individuals who are trying to garner information that will help them before they hit the stand-up comedy material.
- Individuals who have attempted stand-up comedy but cannot get the laughs they want to make any real headway.
Subsequently, the advice and guidance provided by the relative few experienced and accomplished comedians on the forums tends to be largely drowned out by the speculation, prognostication and conjecture provided by the other non-experienced, non-accomplished forum members.
Secret: If you want to determine who on a stand-up comedy forum is a real player in the stand-up comedy arena, you need only ask them one question: Can you provide me a link to your EPK? I would like to check it out.
If they are unable or unwilling to do that, then you are most likely getting information or feedback from a stand-up comedy poser.
I say that because any accomplished comedian at any level will have an EPK (electronic press kit) which should include at least a few short video clips of their stand-up comedy performances.
2. Forum rank or status is not dependent upon stand-up comedy skill or ability. Usually, a person’s rank or status on a stand-up comedy forum is directly related to the number of posts they make or the comments they make on the posts of others.
In other words, a forum “top dog” may have never even developed a stand-up comedy act or even set foot on a stand-up comedy stage, yet can be considered a “trusted resource” for information and guidance about becoming a comedian.
Keep in mind that any stand-up comedy forum is a money making platform for the owner(s) of the forum. The internet traffic they are able to generate to click on the ads presented in the forum is directly proportional to the quantity of content generated by forum members regardless of its accuracy or viability.
That’s why forums have a ranking system to “promote” members to a higher status based on posting — it’s an incentive to encourage more posting to reach those higher status positions in the forum pecking order.
And make no mistake — there IS a forum pecking order among forum members regardless of a forum poster’s actual skill, ability or experience as a comedian — even if it is ZERO.
3. There is a palpable atmosphere of overt negativity, bitterness and frustration on stand-up comedy forums.
For the years I was actively performing as a comedian, I can say with great certainty that not all for sure, but collectively — stand-up comedians who can’t generate the laughs they want when they hit the stage are among the most negative, bitter and frustrated group of people I have every encountered.
Stand-up comedy forums are reflective of this, just on a much larger scale.
The primary reason: Massive frustration on what should be a not-so-impossible task – but that seems to be the case for many.
And you will see over and over on this blog, it’s usually not a lack of comedy talent that’s the problem – it’s the lack of a solid process that works to use that already developed comedy talent effectively on stage.
Note: I don’t believe for one minute that advice like “relax and prepare to suck for many performances” has any value to a new comedian whatsoever. But that’s what is served up regularly on stand-up comedy forums.
On both a personal or professional level, I can’t recall any situation where negativity — complaining, bitching, moaning, or venting — resulted in a positive outcome or solved a problem.
4. The continued proliferation of ineffective processes for developing stand-up comedy material tends to be the norm on a stand-up comedy forum.
Let me put this in the simplest terms that I can muster:
There is a distinct absence of reference or acknowledgment that writing is a completely different form communication than talking or verbal expression.
Trying to somehow structure words and sentences alone designed for an individual reader (writing) for a demanding performing environment that uses much more than just words to generate laughs from an audience (verbal and nonverbal communication) is no different than trying to run a 5K in flip-flops instead of running shoes.
Note: This is the very first issue that I address in the first lesson of my online course.
So Are They Good Or Bad? Not My Call To Make
Despite my personal and professional disdain for stand-up comedy forums…
Judgement about the value or lack of value that any stand-up comedy forum may offer is not mine to make. That judgement needs to be reserved exclusively for the individual participating in the forum.
But there is some solid wisdom that I embraced long ago that goes like this:
“If you want to excel at anything, associate with those who are better at it than you are.”
I submit to you that associating with those who have never been on stage as a comedian or who have not made progress as a comedian because they can’t generate the audience laughs they need — may not be the most favorable environment for a new comedian wanting success to get the real information that they need.