How To Be A Comedian

How To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

Among the most frequently asked questions I get while vacationing is"how to I get into this business?" I have been a professional traveling comedian for 25 decades, so I've heard this a lot! In the larger, sense, getting a comedian is really a three-pronged endeavor.

Write your material

Hone and create your comedy content (rehearse your"set")

Get work.

Sound simple enough? Well now comes the complicated part; really doing it. The hard facts are that if I gave you all of the answers only one to 2% of you would really apply it and go out and do it.

Comedy isn't just an art. It is a science and a business enterprise. But most comics--both skilled and newcomer -- equate comedy with frivolity and they handle their careers frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it takes more work to go out and find the gigs. Show company is two phrases; there is the"series" and there is the"business" and it might surprise you to know that a lot of the moment, you have to put more effort to the company compared to the show. The fantastic news is, when you do it correctly, you are having such a blast that you don't really work daily in your life!

Sound like fun? Let us move forward!

Let us start with writing and developing material. There are a whole lot of folks out there that think you can't learn comedy, that you are either born with it or you're not. That is a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people that don't have a clue about the science behind laughter or the structure supporting it. If you really think about it, have you ever noticed a baby pop from his mother's womb:

"So two individuals were making love. . .then boom! Out pops me! Is this thing on?" You call that a birth canal? It's similar to trying to push an egg through a stir stick! Hey Mom? (spit, spit), you need to shave that stuff! Haven't you heard of a'Brazilian?'"

It just doesn't happen! Granted, there are a number of people who seem to have a sense of humor built in. They seem to receive it. My theory is that they grew up around comedy, either listening to the greats in a young age, or they were raised in a family that was filled with humor. Each of the comedians I understand which make me laugh had exposure to amusing people in a young age and started adapting comedic behaviours. Those behaviours obtained them attention. They began to comprehend the patterns of behavior and language which led to laughter and applied them to other situations with good outcomes.

The key word from the preceding paragraph is"patterns" There are certain patterns that professionals use time and time again, to get laughs and it's usually a pattern that creates surprise. According to individuals who study humor, within this context, surprise is the number one element that activates human laughter, if you're able to surprise somebody with what you are going to say, they will generally laugh. One of the easiest ways to do this is to apply one of the 12 big comedy formulas I discovered over the years of studying the best comedians. Heck, you do not even need to study the greats to comprehend this formulation. If you have a friend (I think most of us do), who turns all you say into a sexual connotation, than he/she is most likely applying this formulation. It is referred to as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two significance ." You basically take a common phrase and spin the intended meaning to mean something totally different, but it may really fit in the announcement, but its exaggerated...

The other day I was in the supermarket. The clerk said,"Can you find what you were looking for?" I said,"Well, I discovered that the wine as well as the candles, but I could not find a soul mate... You had Mahi-Mahi, but I am not into twins."

In the aforementioned joke, once the clerk used the phrase"everything," she meant everything at the shop. As a comedian the word that which could be a lot of things. In this case I went with a'soul mate.' What makes the joke work isn't just the misdirection on the intended meaning of the word, but the fact that comedic interpretation of the word still fits within the context of the question. If it didn't make sense, then there would not be a joke.

Let's look at another Double-Entendre play on words: Former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was having a terrible year. At the media conference a journalist said to the trainer,"Coach, how to you feel about the implementation of this offense?" McKay responded,"I am all for this."

You can see that the term run was utilized in two different ways. This structure should be a normal tool for anyone who's learning how to write comedy. Among the ways I refine this ability and also make it more available to my everyday life is through practice. After a month I do a term exercise that reminds me that our language has a slew of words that have multiple meanings. Maintaining this refined in my mind, gives me a tool that is always sharp and accessible. This allows me to re-interpret something someone says and apply a comedic twist on the term. The practice is simple, yet extremely strong. For your exercise, I take fifteen arbitrary, but rather common words and write them down. I then find at least five distinct meanings for every word. Working this workout consistently will give you an wonderful leg up in your own quickness and finesse as a comedian. It is easy, yet extremely powerful. Notably because few comedians really do it. This is but one of twelve big comedy structures employed by most of the top comedians and comedy writers. If I was to include them all in this article, it would take you a week to complete studying. It is an easy, yet effective example of ways to manipulate the English language and create surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Each comedian that makes you laugh uses a minumum of one comedy structure. It's the arrangement of the words or the act-out that triggers the laughter. With no arrangement, there's no laughter. .

Even once you've got all twelve comedy structures , (most comics work with 3-4), and you also develop an act of at least five minutes, to start, half an hour to start getting paid, you have to begin to operate and hone it before an audience. I would begin using friends. Run the content by them, see what they believe, see if you're able to make it easier by tweaking the surprise. As soon as you feel comfortable you can do the five minutes without thinking about it, perform it in front of an audience. How do you do this? Well, if you're in a larger city, there are probably plenty of open mics. These are places where you can do 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in front of an audience. This is how I started. If you don't have the benefit of being in a big town, then you may have a comedy show that performs once a week or once a month in town at a local bar or restaurant. If that's true, have a trip down there and ask if you can M.C. the show. Most bars which have'one-niter' comedy shows, don't have an M.C.. Therefore, in case you show up and ask, they will probably be more than pleased to have you do it. When you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape it. Once you've got a video tape that's of excellent quality, you have a calling card to get other work. So now you still have to function the'business' aspect of the best way to be a comedian equation. When you've got an action that is creating a laugh every 18-20 seconds, and has a good beginning, middle and end, it's time to get out there. What most start comedians don't see is that if you hit this degree, (may take 6 months, or 2 years), it is time to get serious about fixing your stand up comedy just like a small business. You're presently a product (or service), and you want to sell. Now in your career, you will not have a supervisor or an agent. If you are lucky enough to have the cash, you can employ a Public Relations manager (approximately $3500 per month). They can help you get out media releases, stains on the radio or television. But you have to get a gig to advertise original. However, the majority of us don't have that option once we're starting out so let's leave this alone. So you have a 30 minute act that you have been developing at open mics and other events like parties, meetings, etc.. How do you get it to the street? Now you could be looking at several chances in your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and one-niter market

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I do both nightclubs and corporates in my career, but now I mainly target corporate only because there's more money in it for me personally. There is in addition the school comedy marketplace, cruise boat market, hotel and casino market, hot up comedian market (for live sit-com, game and talk show audiences), and army shows. Army shows could be large. I had been working with a liaison for the military who said he could have me working for the remainder of my life doing army displays. We could devote a lot of time going through each of the possibilities, but this may take days. The key issue to remember is that if you're able to write and develop a comedy routine that's clean and good, you can do the job forever. Once you have this information, it's time to target your niche, do your homework and get started selling. That is appropriate. Start selling. You're your own company at the moment and you supply a service. If you learn how to treat yourself like a business by drawing up a business plan, setting goals and following through, you will start to work. When you start in comedy there are 3 places available. They are each expected to do for different periods of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

Feature or Middle (sometimes called"premiere") (30 minutes)

Headliner or Closing behave (45 mins. -1 hour)

NOTE: This can be company is aggressive, but here's something most comedians don't understand: If you work hard and you develop your act and you develop your reputation for being a good comedian, you WILL WORK! This business and the bookers who provide comedians across the nation are always looking for good talent.

If you want to target the club market, it's also wise to target the one-nighter market.This manner you've got more booking choices available to you when booking moves. How can you target? Start small; begin neighborhood. If you have comedy in your area, speak to the clubs, go to the clubs, ask the managers, door individuals, M.C.'s exactly what the protocol is for getting at the door and auditioning or doing a guest set. Be polite and be consistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days every week for many months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) allow him perform a set. He was ready. He did a great job. The rest is now history. When you get your chance, be well prepared and perform a well-crafted 5-10 minute set. Later, talk to people, see what it takes to get back to perform another set. Once you mingle with people and create relationships and a reputation for being a solid act, today you have all you have to find work. A lot of comedy talent bookers on the street require to see video. Some will take a chance on you if you have references from some headliners. It's a fantastic idea to build relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be wonderful to everyone, always act appropriately. It is these relationships that can make or break your odds for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls a day to your livelihood.

Call comedy clubs and bookers. If you do not get them on the telephone, always, I mean always leave a message. Keep accurate records on which you spoke to, who the decision maker is, the titles of assistants and also the best time to call.

If it sounds like you're a sales man. . .then nicely, you are. This really is the business side of this equation of how to be a comedian and it's where most comedians fail.

When you do eventually get a booker on your phone. Be polite and ask them if you may send them a video and if they prefer to see the movie on the internet or on DVD or E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). Believe it or not, there are still a few bookers out there who would prefer to hold a DVD in their hand.

Some of those bookers are tough nuts to crack. When I run into that dilemma, it's time to generate a personal sales call. I just email or call and ask them,

"I really want to meet you and play with your room. If I can fly out there within a couple of weeks or so, do you think that could find room in the line up for a guest set?"

For the roughest bookers from the nation, this has always functioned. But how can you manage that? Why your own building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you reserve something around the region of the club you so covet. Whenever you have this date set up and booked, call the club and see if it is possible to drop in and do an audition set. Put in this extra step and you will most likely get a guest set.

Once you perform your guest set, send them a thank you card (and or something with your picture on it), to thank them for the chance and keep following up until you get a place. Never follow up more than once a week, if you don't still haven't spoken to the target individual, then follow up every 3 times.

Calvin Coolidge said,"persistence and consistency trump talent any day." So be consistent and persistent. Be polite and keep following up. And when calling doesn't work. Pay them a visit. Tell them you are persistent.

When you start setting dates collectively. Use every chance to tape. Try to find good audio quality, if possible. A great tape leads to additional work.

If you follow those steps:

Write your comedy material

Hone and create your material (your own"set")

Get work.

You will be on your way to learning how to become a comedian.

Present in France, London and the USA, the Avis Acting International theatre and theatre school has been contributing to the emergence of the planet's greatest actors for over 30 decades. The educational concept of Acting International, unique in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of global methods as well as the foundations necessary for studying in direct contact with the demands of today's profession. This educational process is continually redefined throughout the organic interaction of complementary knowledge and recognized procedures of a group of renowned masters - French, Russian, American, Italian and English - all active artists.

The school offers multidisciplinary theater and cinema classes that span an interval of 3 decades. Two classes are available to students who can select between theatre and cinema courses (full class ) or cinema specialization. In addition, advanced workshops are stored in Hollywood, New York and London.


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