The Anatomy Of A Stand-up Comedy Joke

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I want to give you an example of the incredibly lame information that is provided to new and prospective comedians in popular stand-up comedy books, workshops and classes as well as on online stand-up comedy tips sites.

The Standard Blah Blah

Here’s the anatomy of a stand-up comedy joke that you will get from almost every resource:

A stand-up comedy joke has 3 primary parts:
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Hell Gigs And Using Comedy Evaluator Pro For Performance Evaluations

What is a hell gig? A hell gig for stand-up comedians is any gig that is not conducive to laughter generation. This can include, but is not limited to:

– Poor audience attentiveness or interest in anything other than the comedy show

– Poor audience seating

– Minimal audience attendance

– Less than optimal sound where the audience can’t hear the comedian

– Environmental factors that create severe distractions away from the comedy show
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More About Developing Comedy Timing

While I can certainly show individuals how to capture their own natural speaking rhythm on paper and identify aspects of comedy timing that folks can certainly work on off stage for better results on stage using the Killer Stand-up Online Course

There’s one aspect of comedy timing that can only be learned on the stage, which is the adjustment of pause variations that happen naturally as a direct result of audience size.

Provided a comedian’s material is funny, here’s what every comedian should know about comedy timing…


The bigger the audience, the longer a comedian must pause after punchlines/tag lines to allow an audience to laugh. Bigger audiences will usually laugh longer than smaller audiences will.

Related Offsite Article: How Audience Dynamics Directly Impact Comedy Performance Levels

Audience size will also affect how much material a comedian will deliver.

The bigger the audience, the less material a comedian will deliver because more time is filled with longer lasting laughter.

In contrast, the reverse is true. The smaller an audience, usually the more material a comedian will usually deliver because the laughs won’t generally last as long.

It’s not that the comedian is necessarily delivering material faster with a smaller audience.

As a matter of fact, a comedian’s delivery speed should remain fairly constant (and natural) for the most part, regardless of the audience size.

It’s only through stage experience that a comedian can develop this pausing aspect of comedy timing during a stand-up comedy routine because there is no “standard” audience size.

Some audiences may have 15 people and others may have hundreds of people.

Audience size also directly affects performance measurements using Comedy Evaluator Pro — for what should be obvious reasons.

One thing I know for sure is this:

It is nearly impossible to make corrections to comedy timing issues that affect laughter generation without an audio or video recording of a show to review after the show for performance improvement.

Most new comedians don’t record their shows and subsequently…

They wonder in amazement — sometimes for years — why they continue to be “off” when it comes to their comedy timing and can’t seem to generate the laughs they want.[/hidepost]