It should go without question that the single most valuable asset that you can bring to the table as a comedian is your already developed comedy talent.
I’m talking specifically about the exact same comedy talent you use day in and day out to cause others to laugh when engaged in casual conversations.
So in this article I want to discuss comedy talent as it applies to you and your stand-up comedy endeavors.
First, let me define comedy talent so that we are both on the same page as I progress:
Comedy talent: The combination of qualities, attributes and expressive characteristics that gives an individual their ability to cause others to laugh.
The part of that definition that you should pay close attention to is the combination of qualities, attributes and expressive characteristics part because…
What gives you the ability to cause others to laugh in casual conversations with one or more people is the natural integration of multiple factors such as your sense of humor, attitude, physical attributes, expressive mannerisms, vocal attributes, speaking attributes and many more attributes specific to you.
In other words, there is much involved in verbal communication than words.
And for many, it is the recognition of one’s ability to generate laughs during everyday conversations or from the speaking podium that moves them towards taking a shot at stand-up comedy.
Where A Big Problem Begins
While the information that I have presented so far about your comedy talent may seem obvious, it is very important to note that:
The vast majority of people looking to try stand-up comedy are largely unaware of all the qualities, attributes and characteristics that are involved when causing others to laugh and the reason is simple:
Most of what a person uses to generate laughter during conversations happens spontaneously and in an automatic way.
Only a split second of forethought is needed before a person naturally expresses with confidence a comment, experience or observation that causes others to laugh.
When this happens, an individual is naturally applying ALL of their comedy talent — the seamless integration of the qualities, attributes and characteristics they possess (in addition to the words and phrasing they use) to give them the ability to cause others to laugh with ease.
But here’s what’s most important to understand about your comedy talent:
Your comedy talent is representative of a personalized skill set that was developed over years as a result of countless in-person verbal interactions you have had with literally thousands of people over the course of your life.
It is during this time that an individual not only develops their sense of humor, point of view and perspective on life around them but they also learn how to express their sense of humor using all of the individual qualities and characteristics that give them their comedy talent.
It would also be accurate to say that the comedy talent you have right now is the direct result of personal interactions with live “audiences” of individuals or groups of individuals that you have entertained by causing them to laugh.
In other words, the comedy talent that you have right now was NOT the result of handing thousands of people you have interacted with during your life written “jokes” or other comedy material material and expecting to generate a laughter response from them reading that written material.
This is a very important distinction to make as you will see in just a few moments.
IMPORTANT: In any live audience environment, whether it be:
- A casual conversation among one or more people you know or meet
- From a speaking podium or teaching situation
- As a comedian delivering a stand-up comedy routine
The primary mechanisms for generating laughter are exactly the same. In other words, there is no “special” mechanism a comedian uses that is not used in everyday conversations to generate laughs.
Where Comedy Talent Gets Lost
Common sense would dictate that in order for an individual to have the best possible chance of success in their stand-up comedy adventures, they would want to use and apply all of their already developed comedy talent when they hit the stage as a comedian.
This usually does not happen because the vast majority of new comedians attempt to substitute the process of “writing” for the process of “talking”.
I believe I cover the reasons for this extensively in the first lesson in my online course.
But suffice it to say that outside the use of words, “writing” and talking couldn’t be more different, specifically:
- Writing is formally learned and has standard grammatical rules. Talking is informally learned and is not bound by grammatical rules.
- Writing only involves words. Talking incorporates a number of other significant attributes, qualities and characteristics in addition to words.
- Writing is intended specifically for consumption by an individual reader. Talking is intended for consumption by an observer or group of observers.
- The skill set for writing is very different than the skill set for talking. It is interesting to note that no one seems to suffer from “talkers block” when they communicate with others like the “writers block” commonly associated with producing the written word.
- Needless to say, talking is a heck of a lot easier than writing anything.
If you have any doubts that writing and talking are completely different and unique forms of communication, you need only do a search engine search to find tens of millions of pages regarding these differences.
The bottom line:
Writing (the way you have been taught and trained to write) will NEVER reflect all of your comedy talent — the comedy talent you use to cause others to laugh in everyday conversations or you will use on a stand-up comedy stage.
Don’t get me wrong — Yes, your comedy material should be written down.
But there is a huge difference between:
- Writing down and tightly structuring what you want to say and express to get frequent laughs in a way that incorporates all your comedy talent and…
- Trying to somehow “write” or fabricate “jokes” from thin air from a blank piece of paper that are designed for an individual reader – not a live audience.
The Big Take Away
Like I mentioned before, the comedy talent that you have right now was NOT the result of handing thousands of people you have interacted with over the years during your life written materials and expecting to generate a laughter response from them reading those written materials.
Your comedy talent involves much, much more than just the literal words you use when you talk.
Most people have more than enough comedy talent to excel in stand-up comedy if they know how to capture, develop and structure their already developed comedy talent for the stage.
But if you want to take the road most traveled and approach stand-up comedy using a skill set designed for an individual reader (writing) instead of a skill set designed for live audiences to experience (talking — which again is far easier than writing)…
That’s 100% your call. Just reflect on this article when you hit the stage and the laughs don’t roll in like you wanted them to.