Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stand up comedy – so you think you have what it takes?

Well the professionals make it look so easy don’t they, but moving up from just amusing your family and friends with your funny antics to performing in front of an audience of strangers can be harder than it looks and very daunting!  However, if you’re thinking of giving it a go, either as a pastime or change in career, here’s some advice to help the process and get you started.

Research – see the masters at work by either catching their performances online or on DVD.  Wherever possible, catch some live performances as this will provide you with better experience of the audience participation/interaction with the stand up and how they deal with it.

Material – write, write and write again.  The more material the better and will provide you with opportunities to add variations to your routine as you start to perform more regularly.  Though one of the arts of a good stand up is to appear ‘off the cuff’, have enough material to get you through your routine.  As you hone your craft and your confidence grows, you may find you are able to improvise a little in your routine, but don’t rely on this in the early days.

Practice – practice out loud, maybe in front of a mirror or video record it.  As you feel your performances become less strained and you feel more comfortable and confident, get your friends and family to be a friendly audience.  Some stand ups even continue to ask friends/family to attend their first public performances just so they have some friendly faces in the audience.

Local venues – Research venues and events in your local area.  At first you may want to do plenty of ‘open mic’ events.  These are a great opportunity for you to get experience in front of a real audience.

Consider taking a course – Courses in stand up comedy are becoming increasingly popular and are particularly useful for novices to gain confidence and learn on stage and microphone techniques.  They are also good for establishing contacts in the business.

Experience – when all is said and done, nothing beats experience, so get as many gigs as you can.

So what’s holding you up?  Go for it!

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Writing Stand up Comedy

When you’ve decided you’re going to try your hand at writing stand-up, remember there are no hard and fast rules about what your material should contain.  Remember to capture any ideas from your day to day experiences on a notepad/phone.  You can use these ideas later to expand into stories and jokes for your routine.

creative-writing

Think about your style and personality.  What do you find funny and what would you want to see if you were watching.  It’s hard to second guess audiences, particularly whilst you are starting out, so take risks, if you find it hilarious, you’ll soon find whether audiences do too!

The key is to write as much and as often as you can.  There are books/material available to teach the art of writing good jokes and funny stories, though of course the actual idea or inspiration has to come from the writer.  When you get started, steal your best conversations, research for ideas and play writing games.  It’s common for stand ups to also get ideas when they are on stage, so make sure you are able to note these down quickly.

More lately, some would argue that a stand up is more defined by their persona than be writing style.  That said, most jokes still follow the standard structure of setup followed by punchline.  The set up provides the background and information, with the punchline delivering the humour of the piece.  As a novice, don’t fall into the trap of taking too long with your setup.  Needless to say, the punchline is key and has to be funny.  Again, it can be easy to setup a funny situation but then fail to deliver in the humour of the punchline.

A way of building a joke to its fullest extent is to use ‘tags’.  These are generally supplements to the initial punchline.   Can you add another punchline or may add a self-deprecating remark or comment on the original joke?  Let’s face it, two or three laughs is better than one!  As you develop as a writer and get more experience on stage, tags may become easier to write and you some stand ups grow their existing material with the use of tags.

Dealing With Hecklers Being A Comedian

Every crowd that has came out to enjoy a comedy show, will always have a few people who would have one too many drinks or they are just there to ruin the show for everyone else. In showbiz and everywhere where a live show is performed on stage, such people are commonly known as hecklers. There are other names to know these people by, but if I mention those names, then my post will probably not be published, so I’m going to think that you already know what those names are.

Dealing with hecklers is easy if you are a professional comedian and had made a name for yourself. Example; in one of Dane Cook’s shows, a guy was cheering too loud and out of place, so Dane just paused and addressed him for a second saying something like, “Dude please stop that! You’re ruining the show for everyone. If you do that one more time, I’m gona have you thrown out!”

So that’s one way to deal with a heckler, but since you are not Dane Cook or no where near him at the moment, you can use some of the other methods to deal with a heckler and the number one method is…

Ignore Him / Her!

It is always a good idea to ignore a heckler, but you really have to judge from the situation and what the heckler said to do that. If you have nothing to reply him / her with or if the club policy is not to insult their customers, then it is best that you ignore the heckler. It is in your best interest and you can easily continue with your show. More importantly, you will continue to perform at that club! However, if there are no club policies on dealing with hecklers. As in, they do allow stand up comedians to deal with hecklers then you should do the following…

Think of a Comeback!

If you are new to stand up comedy, then coming up with a good reply might be a bit difficult for you. But that is what stand up comedy videos are for! Watching stand up comedy is like, preparing for your big test. You not only revise what you already know, but you also get ideas for new things that you can do on stage and thinking of a good comeback to put a heckler down is one of them.

So, if you did not heard what the heckler said, then ask him or her to repeat and answer them politely “Yes”, “No Thank You!”, or a better comeback then that. However, it all depends on the situation and what the heckler said. So think of a good comeback and hit him / her with it without wasting a single moment.

Finesse Mitchell Who? Watch These Stand Up Comedy Videos to Find Out!

To start off, Finesse Mitchell is a versatile actor, comedian, and a writer. He is one of those people who is very talented, but for some reason not a lot of people know who he is. I’m being optimistic here and going to think that some of you might know him either as an actor, or a writer, but I am pretty sure that any of you thought that Finesse was also a stand up comedian. Here are some of his stand up comedy videos as proof and also to show how great of a stand up comedian he really is.

Finesse-inside

 

Partying in LA

Finesse in his stand up comedy video at Laugh Factory, talks about how hard it was for him to get into clubs until one day, someone recognized him as Derek Fisher and let’s him and his buddies into the club. Then Finesse goes on and talks about how tough it is to pick up girls from the club because clubs in LA close early and on top of that, Finesse was pretending to be Derek Fisher. It is a very funny comedy video and you must watch it if you are new to LA.

Young Mom

Finesse talks about the problems of Teen Moms and how, especially black young moms name their children anything, which is just one of the problems out of countless others for the child who was born to a young mom. As things turn out, Finesse gives his example and tells the crowd and tells them that he was born to a young mom who named him Finesse Mitchell.

Spanish Teacher

In this stand up comedy video, Finesse talks about the education standard and how some teachers are not meant to be teachers. For example, one of Finesse’s friends got job as a Spanish teacher and his friend did not knew Spanish, at all! As he goes on to elaborate how much of Spanish his friend knew, he goes out to test his friend’s Spanish skills. But as it turns out, Finesse was right, his friend did not knew even the second most common Spanish word.

Drunk vs. Drunk Drunk

In this video, Finesse Mitchell talks about the different levels of being Drunk! Now, everyone has their own measuring methods when it comes to being drunk and Finesse goes out to show how being drunk is actually being drunk. There are no levels because once you are drunk, you are drunk and that is it!