The Stand-up Comedy Secret That No One Will Tell You (Part 5)

The Real Differences

There are three significant differences between laughter generated in casual conversations and during the delivery of a stand-up comedy routine, specifically:

Punchline frequency. Professional comedians learn to structure their stand-up comedy material in order to generate an average of 4-6+ audience laughs (punchlines) per performing minute (or more accurately an average of 18 seconds of laughter per performing minute).

While there can be a lot of laughter in a conversation with friends, it doesn’t usually hit the average of 4-6+ laughs per minute mark and if it does, it is not for an extended period of time (5+ minutes) nor as a result of a single person talking.

There are instances when someone can be in a casual conversation with a group of people and get “on a roll” where they are talking about a particular subject, topic, experience, observation, etc. and virtually everything they say results in a laugh.

This particular situation is as close as a person will get to delivering a stand-up routine off stage during a casual conversation and is covered in the Episode 1 excerpt on this page.

Commonly Recognized Subject Matter. When we talk with friends, family and coworkers, a good portion of the things we discuss may only be known or recognized by those people, along with any humorous or comedic value associated with these topics.

Subsequently shared experiences, events, observations, etc. that would not be easily recognized or understood by people who don’t know us or who have no knowledge of these things have no point of reference to get what is “funny” about what is being talked about.

If you have ever said something like “I guess you had to be there” after you relayed what you thought was a funny story and got no laughs, this is usually the cause — the people you are talking to couldn’t recognize, visualize, relate to or fully understand what you were referring to in the story.

Subsequently, they couldn’t “get the joke” or recognize what was funny about the story you were telling because the points of reference they needed were missing.

This is yet another thing you can easily investigate for yourself by reviewing online videos of your favorite comedians.

Now that you know what to look for….

You can easily see that comedians tend to talk about things that are easily recognized or can be related to by almost anyone and they don’t usually talk about things that only a few would see the humor in.

If a comedian does talk about things that would not be commonly known by an audience of strangers, you will also notice that they tend to “teach” the audience about the topic or subject in a way that is funny.

Premeditation. Much of the set-up information in casual conversations is spontaneous and not usually “mapped out” in advance.

In stand-up comedy, all the set-up information and the related punchlines are known, mapped out and rehearsed in advance to provide the appearance of spontaneity when that stand-up comedy material is delivered.

One need only attend the same professional stand-up comedy show featuring the same comedians two nights in a row to verify this.

And believe it or not…

You have been involved in this same sort of premeditation yourself when you told stories about your life and experiences to new people you meet.

And you tell those same stories over and over again, year after year.

Not only that, you may have a cache of jokes that you know generate laughs that you tell to new people that you meet who have never heard you tell these jokes.

The same could be said of sayings, quips and anything else that you have used over and over again to generate laughter over the years.

Wow, that kind of sounds like what happens with a stand-up comedy routine, doesn’t it?

So when you break it all down, the reality is this:

A stand-up comedy routine that generates laughs is actually a modified, preplanned and longer version of what you already do when you talk and express yourself to cause others to laugh.

Now let’s address the “universal deception”.

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