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Old 07-08-2010, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Stand Up Comedy

So, I'm thinking about getting into this and have already begun writing jokes. But, before I start actually practicing, I'd like to ask, is there anything I should know or anything I should/shouldn't do if/while/when/during I perform?

Gracias.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You need to seek out a thread by our LordEden. Then maybe talk to him. Thats all I got.

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Old 07-08-2010, 07:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Do not belittle your audience. Or alienate (also can be read as: "pick on") them. Or bore them.

Don't steal material. Incorporate influences, alright, but make it believable through the character you present yourself as on stage. Also, create funnies that have actually happened to you, with a side of embellishment, if you wish, and more often than not, you'll have trusted followers in no time.

Last thing:
I cannot stress this enough - please do not stutter, mumble or hesitate if you get flustered. It only takes a matter of seconds in time before you get that long crook around your neck, and you rarely see it coming. Go. with. flow.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jetée View Post
Do not belittle your audience. Or alienate (also can be read as: "pick on") them. Or bore them.
Yes, be self-effacing instead. It's a safe form of humour you can always fall back on. People want to laugh at you; make it easier for them.

Quote:
I cannot stress this enough - please do not stutter, mumble or hesitate if you get flustered. It only takes a matter of seconds in time before you get that long crook around your neck, and you rarely see it coming. Go. with. flow.
I wouldn't be surprised if comics had a saying: "It's eighty percent timing and twenty percent humour."
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll come back later and put my complete thoughts down, but here is the thread that Xerxys is talking about. It's filled with alot of good information.

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/tilted-...up-comedy.html
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Last thing:
I cannot stress this enough - please do not stutter, mumble or hesitate if you get flustered. It only takes a matter of seconds in time before you get that long crook around your neck, and you rarely see it coming. Go. with. flow.
Along those lines, work on your presentation, your diction, your delivery. You want to make sure you can be heard/understood even in the most remote corner of the club/room you're in. Sell it with gestures, body movement, etc.

Good luck. And be funny
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Watch comedians talk about doing their own stand up and talking about watching their fellow comedians. They talk about working the crowd, inspirations, what their routine is, that kind of thing.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. I'll check out that thread in the morning.

I've been watching a lot of stand up lately and have been trying to take notes as to how jokes are performed and what about each one makes them funny. All the jokes I've written thus far are things that have happened to me...with a little bit of embellishment. I was planning on practicing in front of my roommates in the near future when I have enough completed jokes.

And, I am very interested in hearing what you may have to say, LordEden.
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I just realized that the most sage advice of how to develop a good comedy routine is nearly a direct correlation of how to compose a good new song.

Rhythm, timing, voice, and audience appeal (relation). Perhaps this can serve you well to remember.


There's also something about really good comedians I've seen and known in the past, and that is most all of them are natural storytellers. They can hook you in, keep you in anticipation, and really sell the pivotal parts of the journey in speech. I also find that I lose a high percentage of respect for comedians who have a few "crutch" jokes they rely on time and again, and it pains to think why they couldn't write & perform fresh material instead.
Personal view: I think it's very admirable, yet difficult, to be a successful comedian, who also is dynamic enough not to bury their own jokes and "shtick" by retelling them over and over again.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Full disclosure: I'm not "officially" a comedian but what skill I do have is known enough to people around me that sometimes I get asked to put it to use, usually stalling for someone. Now I'm not naturally a very intuitive person. In fact I still regularly get in the shit for missing extremely obvious nonverbal cues, to the point where I have been bluntly asked if I was disabled by professors before.

I'm still able to stand up randomly in front of a room full of jocks and preppies and get them falling over laughing about videogames and the internet as readily as I can trucks and grilling mishaps.

The hardest part of learning to be good at standup, for me at least, was actually learning to be funny. Funny is not mysterious and unknowable, it's not love, and it's not enlightenment. In fact a huge portion of humor is quite readily quantifiable in a very objective way. You can dissect even Ron White's material and point out sections and their functions in humor, you can label it and say "this is the setup, this builds tension, and this is part of the punch line". Learning to deliver well in front of a crowd... that's simple public speaking that you can learn anywhere and then practice on a street corner until you're not so rusty. Take a speech class or debate publically and you'll probably be as prepared as taking a standup class, except for one thing...

If it sounds like I'm saying that learning to be funny is more important than learning to deliver the funny on stage... it's because I am. Now I'm not insulting you and saying your not funny, but if you want to be really good at anything other than reading off a list of jokes you've got to learn to actually make some laughs on your own. There's nothing wrong with delivering prewritten material mind you, it's basically necessary if you're going to be working for any real length of time, but relying on pretty much reading a memorized script instead of dynamically "Being Funny" as necessary based around pre-decided talking points is a lot more wooden.

I know this whole post sort of reeks of needing a "well that's just your opinion" but consider what I'm actually trying, probably somewhat clumsily, to get across: There's nothing inherently wrong about doing things one way, but being familiar enough with the basic tenets of humor in general and as it applies to your local area's common cultures to go off the rails if you need to is inherently superior to "merely performing" as it were.

How you learn THAT is very individual though, aside from two things: Watch and learn from the comedians you like and work on putting your own spin on things, and try to be funny as much as possible wherever it's not inappropriate. Make people laugh in line, at the bus stop, at your home, when you're with your friends... anywhere you're stuck with a group of people for a while try to make them laugh.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm not unfunny. I can rake in the laughs whenever I need to in my day to day. I'd consider stand up different though because the audience's interaction with the comedian is in the form of laughter, not words. So, when I say I'm writing jokes, I mean I'm writing the same jokes and stories I've been telling for the past entirety of my life in the form of a stand up joke.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My favorite comedian Doug Stanhope just posted a very entertaining blog entry on the scam of Stand-up classes and workshops. Nasty AND educational.

It's on the front page of his website: Doug Stanhope - Stand-Up Comedian

Good luck!
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Aww that website is blocked at work. I'll make sure to check it out as soon as I get home.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Alright I got some time to kill, I'll lay down what little I've learned from being on stage (I am NOT a seasoned comic, I've done it a few times to good/bad reviews). First off, where are you in NC iron? You near Winston Salem? If you are even 1-2 hours away from there, go to this place on the last Thursday of every month. Open mic comedy night, 5 minutes per person and free to get up on stage. GREAT crowd and a lot of great comics there to welcome newcomers to the fold. If you can't get there, most major cities in NC (Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Charlotte) have open mic nights at comedy zones (or other comedy clubs), check into that.

Here's my biggest piece of advice, just get on stage. Nothing anyone can tell you can prepare for you to get on stage and be FUNNY for 5-10 minutes. It's HARD. I thought it would be easy to be on stage cracking jokes when I do that all the time while talking to people in social situations. This is completely different than standing on stage and trying to be funny continuously for 5-10 minutes. It's a rush from hell but it can also be brutal as shit. I loved it and love doing it, I just took a break from it to really get myself to a place where I can really hit it hard (I'd love to do it professionally).

I can't tell you how to be a good comic, except to practice, practice, practice. One comic told me that the only way to get good at this is just get up in front of a mic every chance you can and just talk. It doesn't have to be a comedy night, open mic nights are every where, as long as you don't mind being stuck in between a douchebag with a guitar and some fucking hipster reading a poem about his gf's dog.

Be prepared to bomb. Period. It will happen.

Figure out what kind of comic you are, figure out your style on stage. I'm a story-teller. I tell a longer story and make little jokes in the story to lead up to a larger punchline. You maybe be a jokeslinger (these are not industry terms, don't quote me on this) who just likes to setup jokes and hit them with punchlines like bullets from an automatic weapon. Figure out how you like to tell jokes and practice.

I have an iphone with a note in the noteapp that has little fragments of jokes I made while conversing with people day-to-day. If I say something funny or think of something funny, I jot it down and flesh it out later. It helps. Just don't let The_jazz know about your jokes, he steals them like a motherfucker. It can be an act/lifesaver having a lot of jokes/stories/whatever ready in your head if your planned act isn't going over that well.

Pratice Pratice Pratice.

If I think of anything else, I'll edit/add another post on here. Seriously, just go do it. It's like bungee jumping, it's an adrenaline rush from hell.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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That's what I'm terrified of. It's just the getting on stage part. I haven't finished enough jokes for a full set yet, but I have tested out the ones I have on just a small group of friends and they seem okay so far. That still doesn't help the fact that just thinking about the stage scares me.

I live in Cary and work full time, so a night trip to Winston Salem is kind of a long drive for the middle of the week. As soon as I'm comfortable with a decently timed set, I'll scout out an open mic night somewhere around the Raleigh area probably. I think I've heard of a few already. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks I'll be able to brave the stage.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:11 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hey man, if you find a good open mic night in the Raleigh/Cary area let me know, I'm looking for a chance to get back on stage myself. I'll meet up with you and lend you some moral support. I live in Clinton which is about an hour south of there.

Drop me a PM if you are interested.

*****

'ment to ask this question, how comfortable are you speaking to crowds? Are you confortable on stage when speaking publicly? I can stand up in front of people are do rehearshed speeches/lines with no problems, so the gettin up on stage part wasn't a problem for me. If you can't speak in front of crowds with a pratice speech in front of u, then that's something you need to pratice at first.
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Old 07-16-2010, 07:25 AM   #17 (permalink)
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When it comes to rehearsed lines on a stage/in front of a crowd, I tend to have trouble remembering the lines. But, when I'm "winging it" I do alright. The whole stand up comedy worries me a little bit, because I do need to have actual jokes, but remembering the whole joke while on stage may be a problem. At the same time, a lot of these jokes are jokes/stories I've been telling for a long time. So, I'm really not sure how I'll do with these on a stage.

Once I find a place with an open mic night, I'll drop you a PM and let you know when I plan on trying it out.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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That's actually a pretty good sign for you since every audience will be at least a little different and you might find yourself needing to adjust your material on the fly to suit them a little better.

Getting a crowd laughing is very similar to cold reading a large group of people, only instead of trying to convince people that you're speaking with one person's dead grandmother you're trying to convince them that you're funny. If you can tell what's getting a few mild chuckles and what seems to be working better even when you just brush up against it then you can "wing it" as you say and steer more towards what's working better that night.
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