Stand-up School (Part 3): Performance.
“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.”