being a comic

Articles, Thoughts and Resources For Aspiring Stand Up Comedians

How To Be A Stand Up Comedian

on March 4, 2012

So you want to know how to be a stand up comedian? Comedy is one of the most entertaining forms of show business, and there is something incredibly rewarding about making people laugh. If you want to get into the world of entertainment and comedy, the good news is that it can be done. It won’t be easy and you will have to learn how to handle hecklers, but it is possible.

Step 1: Create Material

The first thing you have to do in order to be a stand up comedian like Andy Williams is have something to tell people. You can’t get up on the stage and just talk, but you have to have jokes, funny bits, and stories that will make people laugh. It’s pretty hard to come up with your own material, but you can get ideas from the comedy routines of other famous stand up comedian pros. Don’t use the same jokes, but only get ideas from them in order to create brand new materials. Find out what your comedy personality is, and write material along those lines.

Step 2: Practice Delivery

Once you have your material ready, you have to practice your act. You can’t tell all your jokes and one-liners in front of others until you know them very well, as you won’t have prompt cards that will help you to remember what you want to stay. Practice going through your routine alone, standing in front of a mirror to see how your face looks, how your hands move, and if you have any nervous ticks.

Step 3: Test Group

After hammering out your routine in front of the mirror, it’s time to perform it in front of a test group. Seeing as most of your material is going to be original, your friends and family will probably want to hear it. You may find that they don’t appreciate your humor, so try and coerce some of your acquaintances to be your test group as well. Get the constructive (and not so constructive feedback) from them, and use that input to help you improve your routine. Use a few test groups until you feel that you are ready.

Step 4: Choose a Venue

Choosing the venue for your first stand up comedy routine is actually fairly complex, as it can be hard to find the right one. You will probably want to find a small comedy club for your first gig, and you want it to be the right kind of crowd for your jokes. Find a short slot of five or ten minutes to get your best jokes out, and prepare yourself for the big night by going over your lines and checking you have all the jokes just right.

Step 5: The Time has Come…

When it comes time to step out on the stage, relax! You have probably practiced this routine a dozen times, so it should flow naturally. Nerves are normal, but don’t try to combat them by drinking. Make sure to use the bathroom before getting up on stage, and be prepared for hecklers and criticism. Give it your best shot, and have fun with it.

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One response to “How To Be A Stand Up Comedian

  1. Great post!

    One of the things that helped me a lot when I started out was reading books that outlined best practices for stand-up comedy.

    Mike Bent’s Everything Guide to Comedy and Jay Sankey’s Zen and the Art of Stand-up Comedy were INVALUABLE.

    FYI – I wrote a summary of the most helpful tips from Sankey’s book recently if you care to check it out…

    http://michaeljagdeo.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/zen-and-the-art-of-stand-up-comedy-lessons-learned/

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