Don’t forget the punchlines in your jokes. This is the most difficult part for a beginner and also the most important part to remember. Punchlines should be obvious and probably the climax of whatever subject you’re talking about. The most obvious way an experienced audience member can tell if this is your first time is if you’re just on stage rambling about nonsense and not giving the audience very specific places to laugh. You shouldn’t go onstage not knowing when in your act that the audience will laugh.
Also don’t forget to just go up there be natural and be yourself…an audience can tell when you’re being phony and the whole art of stand-up comedy is based on individuals being personable, likable, and relatable. And always remember what your up there for…you’re there to make people laugh, which is fun! Don’t worry too much about it, but you should still care…so worry just the right amount.
For record none of this was supposed to be funny, just informational…I take comedy very seriously.
“Stepping on laughs” refers to when a comedian will get to a “laugh break,” but they stifle the laughs by continuing with their material instead of pausing and excepting the laughs. Usually an audience will stop laughing if you are still talking and when you “step on the laughs” the audience is usually expecting something even funnier, yet still related to the topic, so…don’t do that.
There’s usually two extremes when it comes to nervousness on stage: 1. you fly through your material at lightning speed…or 2. you forget your material. The first won’t hurt you in the short term, but the second has an easier fix…bring your material on stage. There’s no shame in bringing a cheat sheet on stage, but there’s is shame in reading your material directly from the sheet. People want to see you talk not “read.”
After you have material written, practice will be important. Keeping in mind that most open mics will have a limit of 5 minutes, you will have to time yourself. When you’re timing yourself it is important not to go over your time. A good rule of thumb to have is to make sure you have a solid 4 minutes of material saying it at a normal pace and keep it around 4 minutes, because it’s worse to go over than it is to get off stage a little early. It kind of goes with idea of “leaving them wanting more” or “sparing them from more of your awful comedy.”
Either way it will be beneficial to you. Another reason for the extra minute is for “laugh breaks” which will hopefully go longer than you expect, after you tell a joke or get to a punchline you’re not going to keep going on with your material…which leads me to another common mistake in the performance of a comedian: “stepping on laughs.”
If you ever wanted to be a stand-up comedian then you should consider reading the next three posts. I’m a stand-up comedian (take my word for it), I’ve been doing it for a while and I just want to share the different phases that I went through before I became anywhere near average at it.
Well, before you can get onstage and say anything remotely edifying or funny, you need to write some material “jokes” if you will.
However, even before you do that: you must understand and study the comics that lie before you.
When I say study, I mean study. Watch videos from Steve Martin(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI–TGQGNFc), George Carlin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmXacL0Uny0), Don Rickles (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGT_DjGWyh4), Steven Wright (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD0KApiFdLg) and MItch Hedberg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6xaj2fC1jI) just to name a few…
And with the mention of Hedberg, there are a lot of more contemporary comedians that are definitely worth a watch, but I’m not here to recommend comedians to you…I’m here to help you get on stage with the goal to be humorous.
Now, once you’ve watched these comedians you will get into the process of figuring out your style and in what kind of way you will be writing. It is also important to keep in mind the delivery that will accompany the words you will be writing. Some things are funnier when said slower or faster and different inflections, but practice will make these possible adjustments obvious…
Let me tell you something about the Republican Debates…as someone who doesn’t follow politics much, I feel it is my duty to weigh in on the recent Republican Presidential Debates.
I will go candidate by candidate:
Mitt Romney: Clearly a front-runner for a a couple reasons…1. People know his name. 2. He doesn’t say stupid things 3. His values line-up with the core of the Republican party. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Ron Paul: He’s a Republican?
Rick Perry: The dude’s been doing pretty good…except for forgetting the third government agency he would do away with in the middle of the debate and his idea of a recovery is bumbling around for a ridiculous amount of time and he eventually ended with: “Oops.” Smooth.
Michele Bachmann: I remember she was a Republican favorite for a while…and that’s all I know of this name.
Rick Santorum: Another name that was talked a lot about a while ago, but now…(cricket)
Jon Huntsman: I’m more of a “Heinz guy.”
Herman Cain: Okay…Herman Cain acts like he has nothing to worry about. He gives off a vibe like, “I’ve got this wrapped up…Foreign policy? Whatever, man.” I just don’t understand why he’s running, he doesn’t make any attempt to try and understand any sort of facts that a presidential candidate should know.
I say all of this to give more of an “every-man’s” view on how the primaries are looking…and I’m calling it now: Mitt Romney.
Ireland is such a beautiful place…and I’m not just saying that. I’ve been there and it truly is a sight; the grass is seriously greener in Ireland.
My way of arriving in Ireland was by way of a cruise which was of the British Isles.
Ireland’s splendor was even greater compared to Scotland’s less than amazing climate and countryside. No offense to the Scottish or their countryside, but it was just raining everyday that we spent in Scotland, which is really misfortunate because I might’ve enjoyed my time more if it wasn’t raining.
All of that is besides the point, but something that is interesting is I realized that goat’s milk tastes like cow milk that went bad…I also found out that in England goat’s milk is used extensively for cereal.
My point here is not about cereal (as bad as it may be with goat’s milk), but my point is about my perspective on Scotland because of it’s poor weather…but even more so about how much more I enjoyed Ireland, probably because of it’s better than average weather.
My bias is probably more extreme than my talk of bad weather even leads on… you see, my heritage is actually that of Irish descent and with that Irish blood pulsing through my veins I was always was destined to hate anything Scottish and in turn: Scotland.
Long live the Republic of Ireland.