How to Get Started as a Stand-Up Comedian
Stand-up comedian Joe Mande
whose style is to criticize public figures
with sarcastic, barbed jokes that highlight
hypocrisy or stupidity. (CC image)
In our incredibly stressful world today, people are craving comic relief. Anybody
who can show them the humor in today's turmoil is revered as a God. Look at all the
successful movie and TV celebrities that started out as stand-up comics. The great
Rodney Dangerfield started out as a stand-up comic. Jerry Seinfeld started out at
open-mic night in a New York comedy club. Roseanne Barr started out in the
early 1980s with stand-up gigs in clubs in Denver . Even the stunningly successful
Ellen DeGeneres started out as a stand-up comic.
Stand-up comic pay varies all over the place depending upon experience, tallent,
and popularity. Top Comedy Secrets
says that comedians who work in the comedy club market and comedy one nighters
can generally earn between $100 - $200 for a single 45 minute performance. If a
comparison is made on an hourly basis with a typical day job, that would be in the
range of $133-$266 per hour.
Making it as a stand up comic is a goal desired by many, but enjoyed by few.
However, with the right combination of determination, practice, and hustle, it's
absolutely within the grasp of a talented amateur. The potential to be the
next great stand up comic is yours - get on stage and start sharing your
laughter with the world!
Understand your on-stage persona or attitude. Are you a deadpan comic? An
angry comic? Brutally sarcastic and ironic? Goofy? Let your persona match your writing.
Try your hand at writing jokes. Most good jokes come from the intersection of
two seemingly unrelated ideas, or from a formerly unexplored observation about
something most people overlook on a daily basis. Buy some sort of book to learn
how to write a joke.
Write more jokes. The more you write, the easier they come. Some days you'll
have five or six jokes to record, and some days you'll have none. You should, however,
be starting to create quite a backlog of material. Keep a notebook with you at all
times. Take notes as funny thoughts come to you or write down strange
occurrences that strike your funny bone.
Write a small routine and perform your "set" in front of a mirror. Note the things
about the delivery of your jokes that you like, and also the things you don't. You
can also try video-taping yourself. Make sure your jokes will be understood by the
audience, and re-write if needed. Note verbal ticks like "Um," and "Uh..." and
minimize, unless your persona is awkward and nervous.