The Way To Be A Comedian

The Way To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

One of the most often asked questions I get while vacationing is"how to I get into this business?" I've been a professional traveling comedian for 25 years, so I have heard this a lot! In the bigger, sense, becoming a comedian is really a three-pronged endeavor.

Write your material

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

Get work.

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

Comedy is not only an art. It is also a business and also a science. However, most comic books --both professional and novice-- equate comedy with frivolity and they handle their professions frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it requires more work to really go out and get the gigs. Show business is two words; there is the"show" and there is the"company" and it may surprise you to understand that much of the time, you have to put more effort into the company compared to the show. The fantastic news is, when 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's start with developing and writing material. You will find a great deal of folks out there that think that you can't learn comedy, which you're either born with it or you're not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people who don't have a clue about the science behind bliss or the structure behind it. If you really Consider It, have you ever noticed a baby pop out of his mother's womb:

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

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

The crucial word from the above paragraph is"patterns" There are certain patterns which professionals use time and time again, to get laughs and it's usually a pattern that creates surprise. According to psychologists who study comedy, in this circumstance, surprise is the number one component that activates human laughter, If you can surprise someone with what you are going to state, they will generally laugh. Among the simplest ways to do so is to apply one of the 12 big comedy formulas I found over the years of studying the best comedians. Heck, you do not even have to study the greats to recognize this formula. In case you've got a friend (I believe most of us do), that turns all you say into a sexual connotation, than he/she is most likely applying this formula. It's referred to as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two significance ." You basically take a frequent term and spin the intended meaning to imply something entirely different, but it may actually fit in the announcement, but its exaggerated...

The other day I was at the supermarket. The clerk said,"Can you find what you were looking for?" I said,"Well, I found the wine and the candles, but I couldn't find a soul mate... You had Mahi-Mahi, but I'm not into twins"

In the above joke, when the clerk employed the word"everything," she meant everything at the shop. As a comedian the word that which could be a lot of things. In this case I proceeded with a'soul mate' What makes the joke work is not merely the misdirection on the intended meaning of the word, but the simple fact that comedic interpretation of the word still fits inside the context of the question. If it did not 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 with a terrible season. In the media conference a journalist said to the coach,"Coach, how to you feel about the execution of the crime?" McKay responded,"I'm all for this."

You can see that the word execute was used in two distinct manners. This arrangement should be a normal tool for anybody who is learning how to write comedy. One of those ways that I refine this capability and make it more accessible for my daily life is through practice. After a month I do a term exercise which reminds me that our speech has a slew of words which have multiple meanings. Keeping this refined in my mind, gives me a tool that's always sharp and accessible. This permits me to re-interpret something somebody says and apply a comedic spin on the term. The practice is simple, yet extremely strong. For the exercise, I take fifteen random, but fairly common phrases and write them down. Then I find at least five different meanings for every word. Working this workout consistently will give you an wonderful leg up on your own quickness and finesse as a comedian. It is easy, yet extremely strong. Notably because few comedians actually do it. This is only 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 might take you a week to complete studying. It's a simple, yet powerful example of ways to control the English language and make surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Every comedian that makes you laugh uses at least one comedy architecture. It is the arrangement of the the act-out that triggers the laughter. Without the arrangement, there is not any laughter. .

Even once you have all twelve comedy structures down, (most comics work with 3-4), and you also build an act of five or more minutes, to begin, half an hour to start getting paid, you need to start to work and hone it before an audience. I would begin with buddies. Run the content by themsee what they think, see if you're able to make it easier by tweaking the surprise. Once you feel comfortable you can perform the five minutes without thinking about it, perform it in front of an audience. How do you do so? Well, if you're in a larger city, there are probably lots of open mics. These are places where you are able to do 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in the front of an audience. This is how I started. If you don't have the benefit of being in a large town, then you might have a comedy show that plays once a week or once a month in your town at a local bar or restaurant. If that's true, have a trip down there and inquire whether you can M.C. the series. Most pubs which have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not have an M.C.. So in case you show up and ask, they will most likely be more than pleased to have you do it. If you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape it. Once you've got a video tape that is of excellent quality, you have a calling card to get work. So today you still have to work the'business' aspect of the how to be a comedian equation. When you have an action 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 beginning comedians don't realize is that when you hit this degree, (may take 6 months( or two years), it's time to get serious about fixing your stand up comedy like a small business. You are presently a product (or service), and you need to sell. Now in your career, you will not have a supervisor or an agent. If you're lucky enough to have the money, you can employ a Public Relations supervisor (approximately $3500 a month). They can help you get out media releases, stains on the radio or television. But you must get a gig to advertise original. But most of us don't have that choice when we're starting out so let us leave this alone. So you've got a 30 minute action that you have been developing at open mics and other events such as parties, meetings, etc.. How can you get it on the street? At this point you could be looking at several chances in your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and one-niter Sector

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I really do both nightclubs and corporates in my career, but today I mainly target corporate only because there's more money in it for me. There is in addition the college comedy marketplace, cruise boat market, hotel and casino marketplace, warm up comedian market (for live sit-com, sport and talk show crowds ), and army shows. Military shows can be big. I had been working with a liaison for the army who said he could have me working for the remainder of my life doing army shows. We could spend a lot of time going through all the possibilities, but this may take days. The key thing to remember is that if you can compose and create a comedy routine that's good and clean, it is possible to work indefinitely. Once you have this information, it's time to target your market, do your research and start selling. That's right. Start selling. You are your own business now and you provide 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 begin to work. When you start in comedy there are 3 positions available. They are each expected to do for various periods of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

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

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

NOTE: This is business is aggressive, but here is something most comedians do not know: If you work hard and you develop your action and you also develop your reputation for being a fantastic comedian, you WILL WORK! This business as well as the bookers who supply comedians across the nation are always looking for great talent.

If you would like to target the club marketplace, it's also wise to target the one-nighter market.This manner you've got more booking choices available to you when booking dates. How can you target? Start small; start local. In case you have comedy locally, speak to the clubs, go to the clubs, then ask the supervisors, door people, M.C.'s exactly what the protocol is for getting in the door and auditioning or doing a guest set. Be considerate and be persistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days a week for several months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) allow him do a set. He was ready. He did a great job. The rest is now history. When you receive your opportunity, be prepared and perform a well-crafted 5-10 minute set. Later, talk to people, see what it takes to get back to do another group. As soon as you mingle with people and create relationships and a reputation for being a good behave, now you've got all you have to find work. A good deal of comedy talent bookers on the road need to see video. Some will take a chance on you in the event that you have references from a headliners. It's a good idea to develop relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be wonderful to everybody, always act professionally. It is 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 the phone, always, I mean always leave a message. Keep accurate records on which you talked to, that the decision maker is, the names of assistants and the best time to call.

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

When you do eventually get a booker on your phone. Be considerate and ask them if you can send them a video and if they would rather see 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 rather maintain a DVD in their own hand.

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

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

For the toughest bookers from the nation, it has always functioned. But how do you afford that? Why your building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you reserve something around the area of the club you so covet. When you have that date set up and booked, phone the club and see whether you can drop in and perform an audition collection. Place in this excess step and you will most likely get a guest set.

Once you perform your guest series, send them a thank you card (and or something with your picture on it), to thank them for the chance and keep following up till you get a spot. Never follow up more than once weekly, if you don't still have not spoken to the target individual, then follow up every 3 days.

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

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

If you follow these steps:

Compose your comedy material

Hone and develop your substance (your"set")

Get work.

You'll be on your way to learning how to be a comedian.

Present in France, London and the USA, the Avis Acting International theatre and theatre college has been contributing to the development of the planet's greatest actors for more than 30 decades. The educational concept of Acting International, exceptional in its completeness and singularity, is based on the complementarity of international methods as well as the bases necessary for studying in direct contact with the requirements of today's livelihood. This educational process is constantly redefined throughout the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and recognized methods of a group of renowned masters - French, French, American, Italian and English - all active artists.

The school offers multidisciplinary theater and theatre courses that span a period of three decades. Two courses are available to students who will choose between theatre and cinema classes (full class ) or cinema specialization. In addition, advanced workshops have been stored in Hollywood, New York and London.