How To Be A Comedian  

How To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

Among the most often asked questions I get while touring is"how to I get into this business?" I have been a professional traveling comedian for 25 years, so I've heard this a lot! In the larger, sense, becoming a comedian is genuinely a three-pronged job.

Write your material

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

Get work.

Sound simple enough? Well now comes the complicated part; actually doing it. The hard facts are that if I gave you all of the answers only one to two percent of you would actually apply it and go out and take action.

Comedy isn't only an art. It is a business enterprise and a skill-based science. But most comic books --both skilled and novice-- equate comedy with frivolity and they treat their professions frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it takes more work to go out and get the gigs. Show business is two phrases; there's the"show" and there's the"business" and it may surprise you to understand that a lot of the moment, you have to put more effort into the company compared to the series. The fantastic news is, if you get it done correctly, you are having such a blast that you don't really work daily in your life!

Sound like fun? Let's proceed!

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

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

It just does not happen! Granted, there are some people that seem to have a sense of humor constructed in. They seem to get it. My concept is that they grew up around comedy, either listening to the greats in a young age, or they had been raised in a family that was filled with humor. All the comedians I know which make me laugh had exposure to funny people at a young age and began adapting comedic behaviours. Those behaviors got them attention. They started to recognize the patterns of behaviour and speech that led to laughter and applied them to other scenarios with good results.

The crucial word from the preceding paragraph is"patterns." There are certain patterns which professionals use again and again, for laughs and it's normally a pattern that produces surprise. According to individuals who examine comedy, within this circumstance, surprise is the number one element that triggers human bliss, if you're able to surprise someone with what you will state, they will generally laugh. Among the easiest ways to do this is to apply one of the 12 major comedy formulas I found over the decades of analyzing the best comedians. Heck, you do not even have to examine the greats to comprehend this formulation. In case you have a friend (I think we all do), that turns all you say into a sexual connotation, than he/she is probably applying this formulation. It is known as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two meanings." You basically have a frequent term and twist the supposed meaning to imply something entirely different, but it could really fit in the statement, but its exaggerated...

Another day I was in the grocery store. The clerk said,"Did you find everything you were looking for?" I said,"Well, I found that the wine as well as the candles, but I could not find a soul mate... You had Mahi-Mahi, but I'm not into twins"

In the aforementioned joke, once the clerk used the word"everything," she meant everything at the store. As a comedian the word that which could be a lot of things. In this situation I proceeded with a'soul mate' What makes the joke work is not just the misdirection on the intended meaning of this word, but the simple fact that comedic interpretation of this word still fits within the context of the question. In case it did not make sense, then there would be no joke.

Let's look at the following Double-Entendre play on words: Former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was with a terrible season. At the media conference a journalist said to the coach,"Coach, how to you feel about the execution of this crime?" McKay responded,"I am all for it."

You can see that the word execute was utilized in two different manners. This structure should be a normal tool for anybody who's learning how to write comedy. Among those ways that I refine this ability and make it more accessible for my daily life is by way of practice. Once a month I do a word exercise which reminds me that our speech has a ton of words that have multiple meanings. Maintaining this refined in my brain, gives me a tool that's always sharp and accessible. This permits me to re-interpret something somebody says and apply a comedic twist on the term. The practice is simple, yet extremely powerful. For the practice, I take fifteen arbitrary, but rather common phrases and write them down. Then I find at least five different meanings for each word. Working this exercise consistently will provide you an wonderful leg up on your quickness and finesse as a comedian. It's easy, yet extremely strong. Notably because few comedians really do it. This is only one of twelve major comedy structures employed by all the best comedians and comedy writers. If I had been to include them all in this article, it might take you a week to complete studying. It's an easy, yet powerful illustration of ways to control the English language and create surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Every comedian who makes you laugh uses at least one comedy structure. It's the arrangement of the words or the act-out that triggers the laughter. Without the structure, there's no laughter. .

Even when you've got all twelve comedy structures , (most comics work with 3-4), and you develop an act of five or more minutes, to begin, thirty minutes to begin getting paid, you need to start to operate and hone it before an audience. I would begin with friends. Run the content by themsee what they believe, see if you're able to make it better by tweaking the surprise. Once you feel comfortable you may do the five minutes without thinking about it, perform it in front of an audience. How can you do this? Well, if you're in a bigger city, there are probably lots of open mics. These are places where you are able to do 5-10 minutes of substance to'test it' in the front of an audience. This is how I started. If you don't have the advantage of being in a big town, then you might have a comedy series that plays once a week or once a month on your town at a local pub or restaurant. If that is true, take a trip down there and ask if you can M.C. the series. Most bars that have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not have an M.C.. Therefore, in case you appear and ask, they will probably be more than happy to have you take action. When you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape it. Once you have a video tape that is of excellent quality, you have a calling card to get work. So today you still need to work the'business' side of the best way to become a comedian equation. Whenever you've got an act that's generating a laugh every 18-20 seconds, also has a good beginning, middle and end, it's time to get out there. What most start comedians don't see is that when you hit this level, (can take 6 months( or two years), it's time to get serious about treating your stand up comedy like a small business. You're now a product (or service), and you want to sell. Now in your career, you won't have a manager or a broker. If you're fortunate enough to have the cash, you can employ a Public Relations supervisor (approximately $3500 a month). They will be able to help you get out press releases, stains on the radio or tv. However, you must get a gig to advertise original. But most of us do not have that choice once we're starting out so let's leave that alone. So you have a 30 minute act that you've been growing at open mics and other events such as meetings, parties, etc.. How can you get it to the road? Now you could be looking at a number of possibilities on your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and one-niter market

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I really do both nightclubs and corporates in my profession, but today I mainly target corporate only because there's more money in it for me personally. There is in addition the college comedy marketplace, cruise ship market, resort and casino market, hot up comedian market (for live sit-com, game and talk show crowds ), and military shows. Army shows could be large. I was working with a liaison for the army who said he would have me working for the remainder of my life doing army shows. We could spend a lot of time going through each of the possibilities, but that could take days. The key thing to remember is that if you're able to compose and develop a comedy routine that is good and clean, you can do the job indefinitely. Once you have this information, it is time to target your market, do your research and start 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 perform for various amounts of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

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

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

NOTE: This is business is competitive, but here's something most comedians don't know: If you work hard and you also develop your act and you develop your reputation for being a fantastic comedian, you WILL do the job! This company and the bookers who provide comedians across the nation are always looking for good talent.

If you would like to target the club market, it's also wise to target the one-nighter market.This way you've got more booking options available to you when booking moves. How do you aim? Start small; start local. If you have comedy in your area, contact the clubs, go to the clubs, ask the managers, door people, M.C.'s what the protocol would be for getting in 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 a week for several months prior to Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) let him perform a set. He had been ready. He did a fantastic job. The rest is now history. When you receive your opportunity, be prepared and perform a well-crafted 5-10 minute collection. Later, talk to folks, see what it takes to return to perform another group. As soon as you mingle with people and create relationships and a reputation for being a good behave, today you've got all you need to get work. A good deal of comedy talent bookers on the road need to see movie. Some will take a chance on you if you have references from a headliners. It is a good idea to develop relationships with as many comedians as you can. Be nice to everyone, always act professionally. It's these relationships which could make or break your chances for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls a day for your career.

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

If it sounds as if you're a sales person. . .then well, you're. This really is the business side of the equation of how to become a comedian and it is where many comedians fail.

If you do eventually get a booker on your telephone. Be polite and ask them if you may send them a movie and if they prefer to find the movie on the internet or on DVD or E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). Believe it or not, there are nonetheless some bookers out there who would prefer to hold a DVD in their own hands.

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

"I really want to meet you and play with your room. If I could fly out there within a couple of weeks or so, do you feel you 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 afford that? Why your building your own contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you reserve something in or around the area of the club you so covet. Whenever you have this date in place and booked, phone the club and see if it is possible to drop in and perform an audition collection. Put in this excess step and you'll probably get a guest collection.

As soon as you do the guest set, send them a thank you card (and or some thing with your image on it), to thank them for the chance and keep up until you get a place. Never follow up more than once a week, if you don't still haven't spoken to this target individual, then follow up every 3 times.

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

When you start putting dates together. Utilize every chance to tape. Try to get great audio quality, if at all possible. A great tape leads to more work.

If you follow these steps:

Write your comedy material

Hone and create your substance (your"set")

Get work.

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

Current in France, London and the United States, the Avis Acting International theater and cinema college has been contributing to the development of the planet's best actors for over 30 years. The educational concept of Acting International, exceptional in its completeness and singularity, is based on the complementarity of global methods and the bases necessary for learning in direct contact with all the requirements of today's livelihood. This educational process is continually redefined through the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and recognized methods of a team of renowned masters - French, Russian, American, English and Italian - all busy artists.

The college provides multidisciplinary theater and theatre classes that span a period of three years. Two classes are available to students who can select between theatre and cinema classes (full course) or theatre specialization. In addition, advanced workshops have been stored in Hollywood, New York and London.


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