The home of the haikulator



Sentence Generators
My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman

The Musical!
Incredible Productions


Previous Posts

With Respect To Believers
I Should Bloody Know Better
Extremes of customer service
We have two cats
Ah, a spam message
Digital download is best!?
The Gospel According To Stats
Gotta Love The Net
Doctor Who Soundtracks in Midi

Blog Archives

October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016
August 2017
January 2018
August 2018
September 2018
July 2019
August 2019
May 2020
June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
December 2020
January 2021

Saturday, February 19

Some random advice for budding comedians

I was chatting with a facebook friend and ended up reeling off a bunch of tips on how to be a comedian. They may be useful to you if you ever wondered how to crack the art form. It's a bit of a random blether as I've edited from bits of the original hat. Hope it's interesting to read.

Things to avoid:
  • Doing yourself down as a comedian - don't tell them you find doing comedy hard in any way, even if a joke fails, don't tell them you have no confidence in your role as comedian
  • Doing yourself down totally on stuff they don't know/care about - parading one's failings/insecurities IS funny, but up to some sort of breaking point, by which the audience stop caring. Likewise, if it's a small thing that they haven't necessarily noticed, then they may not make the leap of realisation that it's funny.
  • Cliches - avoid obvious subjects.... at least, avoid facing them head on - I'll mention this a bit more in a moment.
  • Monologuing - give the audience room to breathe. Stand-up is a dialogue - make room for their reaction.
  • Big explanations for small jokes - the size of the laugh must justify the amount of listening it takes to get to it. Small jokes need small explanations, big jokes, need big ones. If the journey isn't meant to be funny, then keep the journey brief.
Cliches Here are some things which are expected of a comedian to talk about. You can talk about them, but if you do, you should either do a quick line, or come at the subject from the side. Otherwise you're probably not saying anything new, or surprising enough to make a decent laugh.
  • Weight
  • Appearance
  • Periods
  • Porn
  • Masturbation
  • The hilarious difference between genders/races etc
  • Sex
  • Family
  • Tubes
  • Airline experience
  • Sat navs
  • others that you can guess
So, if you opened a set with "So... periods", you will probably get a bunch of audience members and many comedians going "Here we go again".

Positive advice Boil the story down to the biggest joke and work backwards from it. What's the simplest and shortest route to the punchline. Do the subsidiary punchlines justify their branches from that route? Where's the surprise and revelation in each thing you say. Ignore my advice completely and make up your own. Stand-up is a personal thing and my tips should be taken with a pinch of salt.

If you'd like a script doctor's view of your material, feel free to email me on ashley at a long-hand script of a set. I'm happy to send you feedback as though I was editing a script of my own, with questions, alternatives and ideas for you to try. This may make you go "No. My way is the ONLY WAY", which is a good reaction, since you're showing conviction in your draft, or it may make you go "Yes, but, how about I do this other thing you didn't suggest" which is a good reaction, since you've been able to kick start the script development and make something that's more you than me... alternatively, I might strike it lucky and suggest something you could use.

It's up to you. Or you can not bother. :)

How to start
The "I know what you're thinking" line is a comedy cliche, but it's also an easy way into an audience.

Example: "I know what you thinking - I didn't know that Barry From Eastenders Had a Baby With Shrek" (see photos of me for context)

My favourite "I know what you're thinking" moment was something along the lines of a stand-up saying the following and then getting heckled in the most perfect way - the heckler didn't miss a beat. It sounded like this:

Man: I am a mind reader. I can reach into your minds and work out exactly what you are currently thinking...
Heckler: ... tosser!

Brilliant. Still makes me chuckle.


Post a Comment

<< Home

All content ©2001 - 2020 Ashley Frieze