My Understanding Of Stand Up Comedy As Of Today

Comedy is a tricky thing. It can slip through your fingers or it can lift you up to a higher plane. It can also drag you down to new all time lows. This is where my understanding of stand up comedy is after performing once or twice a week for a year.

First off, laughs are important. All comedians want them, this is the oxygen that gives a comic life. I heard early on that a pro comic gets a laugh every 15 seconds. You can be the funniest guy in front of your friends but when you get on stage in front of a group of strangers it's a completely different story.

You need confidence. If you're nervous the audience smells it. They need to know that you are in control or else everyone gets very uncomfortable and you get labled in their minds as not funny. Where does the confidence come from? Your mind needs to recall many different nights from your past when you made an audience of strangers laugh. So the first thing the comic needs is experience making people laugh on stage and they need a lot of it. You need to work that comedy muscle out.

Once you figure out when people are laughing you need to repeat that. When you can repeat it and people are laughing at the right places consistently then you are starting to get somewhere. You shorten the parts that are not funny and start to bring the laughs closer together. Eventually you get to the spot where you hear the laughs every fifteen seconds. When you get to this point you begin to understand your rhythm. Understanding your rhthym is important for when you are coming up with new material.

Eventually let's say you have a 5 minute act down with a laugh every 15 seconds. You're no longer just talking but you are basically reciting jokes every 15 seconds. This is where you can run into a pitfall. Maybe you start writig one liners because our entire act is basically one liners all strung together. This is fine but you can't stop there. This is when fear meets up with you. You know how to make people laugh and you know how to do it every 15 seconds! The only problem is how to come up with more material. When you were first learning to make people laugh, how did you start? You started by getting up in front of people and just talking. The only problem is at that time you were new to comedy and you didn't care that much about the laughs. Now you do. It's scary to start talking when you don't know where the laughs are.

This is a fear that you have to walk through. You have to eat shit. Just get up there and talk. Eventually you get a laugh. Then after a while you learn a talking rhythm that gets the laughs. In the end you want to know two things: 1. How to write and spot a good joke. And 2. How to talk funny. This combination is my understanding of stand up comedy as today. Hopefully it evolves and as the muscles grow the laughs come easier.