Most comedians started the same way. They phoned a comedy club, they were given a 5 min slot, they went along, and did it. Some had to wait 2 weeks for their slot, some had to wait 2 months. But it all came down to phoning a club, turning up on the night, getting up on stage and doing it.
Repeat this again and again and again… and you will get better.
Stagetime is everything.
No topic is off limits. Every subject under the sun is open to debate and ridicule. Just make sure you have the right intentions and can justify them if challenged.
Avoid using words in the set-up that are in the punchline.
Don’t worry about the people that don’t get you. They don’t matter.
A lot of your bookings will come via recommendations from fellow comedians. Complete the circle. You know a promoter who’s looking for some comics? Pass on some names and numbers. Don’t try to keep it all for yourself.
Try and work in good clubs with good comedians. It’s like playing a sport – you raise your game playing with a better player.
Use visual words as opposed to passive words.
Modulate your voice to underscore a line.
If you’re given the choice between a brand new radio mic or an old fashioned mic with a lead – take the old mic with the lead every time.
Gigging out of town? Walk round the town. Keep your eyes open. One local observation can get the audience on-side straight away. It shows you actually care about the show, and aren’t just trotting out your set.
A touch of red light mixed into the white spotlight makes you look more healthy.
Scribble notes. Keep your notes in a box. Pull the notes out at random and be surprised by your ideas. Or make a nice paper-mache collage.
Produce your own live show or project at least once – it’ll give you a better understanding of how hard it is to promote and run a comedy show. You’ll also learn what pisses promoters/club bookers off.
It doesn’t have to be attack, attack, attack – show some humility and be the butt of your own jokes.
Slow down. And then slow down some more. Let the audience hear and appreciate what you’re saying. Don’t be so keen to rush to your next line.
PROMOTERS: The comedian goes on first THEN the band. Never the other way around. A comedian can’t follow two guitars, bass, drums, pyrotechnics and stage-diving … no matter how sharp his/her observations about cats and dogs are.
Saturday night audiences want their comedian dressed up. Sunday night audiences want their comedian dressed down.
Never apologise for being a women on stage. Even if it’s part of a joke I still think it’s a mistake. There are more women than ever doing comedy, just be funny. No-one thinks you are a stripper, it’s a comedy club.
You’re actually making it harder for yourself. Just start your act. You’re up and running, now the audience thinks you’re a funny person who is a woman.
If you apologise it feels to me like you are letting down every woman in that audience. If you are head of accounts and have to do a presentation about next year’s predicted growth; would you start a meeting with a joke about how it’s different for you to be an accountant because you’re a woman? Or how they must be disappointed because it’s a female accountant?
Try a new joke three times, if it doesn’t work – throw away the audience.
If you get paid for doing what you want to do – you’re a success.