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 touring comedian for 25 decades, so I have heard this a lot! In the bigger, sense, getting 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; really doing this. The hard facts are that even if I gave you all the answers just one to two percent of you would actually employ it and go out and take action.

Comedy isn't only an art. It is also a business and a skill-based science. However, most comics--both professional and novice-- equate comedy with frivolity and they treat their careers frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it takes more work to really go out and get the gigs. Show business is two words; there is the"series" and there is the"business" and it might surprise you to understand that much of the time, you have to put more effort into the business compared to the show. The fantastic news is, if you do it right, you are having such a blast that you don't actually work a day in your life!

Sound like fun? Let us proceed!

Let us start with developing and writing material. You will find a whole lot of folks out there that think you can't learn comedy, that you're either born with it or you're not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people that don't have any idea about the science supporting bliss or the structure supporting it. If you really think about it, have you ever seen 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 is more like trying to push an egg through a stir rod! Hey Mom? (spit, spit), you should shave that stuff! Haven't you heard of a'Brazilian?'"

It just does not happen! Granted, there are some people that 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 at a young age, or they had been raised in a family that was full of humor. All the comedians I understand that make me laugh had exposure to funny people in a young age and began adapting comedic behaviors. Those behaviors got them attention. They began to comprehend the patterns of behaviour and speech that resulted in laughter and applied them to other situations with great results.

The crucial word from the above paragraph is"patterns" There are particular patterns which professionals use again and again, for laughs and it is usually a pattern that creates surprise. According to psychologists who examine humor, within this circumstance, surprise is the number one component that triggers human bliss, If you can surprise someone with what you are going to state, 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 decades of analyzing the greatest comedians. Heck, you do not even have to study the greats to comprehend this formula. In case you've got 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 formula. It's referred to as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two meanings." You basically take a common term and spin the intended meaning to imply something totally different, but it could really fit in the announcement, but its exaggerated...

The other day I was in the grocery store. The clerk said,"Can you find everything you were looking for?" I said,"Well, I discovered the wine and 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 employed the phrase"everything," she meant everything at the store. As a comedian the word everything may be a lot of things. In this situation 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 fact that comedic interpretation of the word still fits within the context of the question. In case it didn't 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. 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 there that the word execute was utilized in two distinct manners. This structure should be a regular tool for anybody who's learning how to write comedy. One of the ways that I refine this capability and make it more accessible to my daily life is through practice. Once a month I do a word exercise which reminds me that our speech has a slew of words that have multiple meanings. Keeping this elegant in my mind, gives me a tool that's always sharp and available. This permits me to re-interpret something somebody says and apply a comedic spin on the term. The exercise is simple, yet extremely strong. For your practice, I take fifteen random, but rather common phrases and write them down. Then I find at least five different meanings for each word. Working this workout consistently will give you an wonderful leg up on your own quickness and finesse for a comedian. It is simple, yet extremely strong. Especially because few comedians actually do it. This is only one of twelve big comedy structures used by most of the best comedians and comedy writers. If I was to include them all in this article, it might take you a week to finish studying. It is an easy, yet powerful example of how you can manipulate the English language and create surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Each comedian who makes you laugh utilizes a minumum of one comedy architecture. It's the arrangement of the the act-out that triggers the laughter. Without the structure, there's no laughter. .

Even when you have all twelve comedy structures down, (most comics operate with 3-4), and you also develop an act of five or more minutes, to start, thirty minutes to start getting paid, you need to start to work and hone it before an audience. I would start using friends. Run the material by themsee what they think, see if you're able to make it better by tweaking the surprise. Once you feel comfortable that you can perform the five minutes without thinking about it, perform it in front of an audience. How can you do so? Well, if you are in a bigger city, there are probably lots of open mics. These are places where you can perform 5-10 minutes of substance to'test it' in the front of an audience. This is how I started. If you do not have the benefit of being in a large town, then you may have a comedy show that performs once a week or once a month in your town at a local pub or restaurant. If that is the case, have a trip down there and inquire if you are able to M.C. the show. Most bars that have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not have an M.C.. So if 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 . When you've got a video tape that is of good quality, you've got a calling card to get work. So now you still have to work the'business' side of the how to be a comedian equation. Whenever you've got an action that's generating a laugh each 18-20 seconds, also has a good beginning, middle and end, it is time to escape there. What most beginning comedians do not realize is that when 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 are presently a product (or service), and you need to sell. At this point in your career, you won't have a supervisor or a broker. If you're fortunate enough to have the cash, you can employ a Public Relations manager (approximately $3500 per month). They will be able to help you get out media releases, stains on the radio or television. But you have to have a gig to promote first. But the majority of us do not have that choice once we're starting out so let us leave this alone. So you've got a 30 minute action that you have been growing at open mics and other events like parties, meetings, etc.. How do you get it to the road? Now you could be looking at several possibilities on 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 profession, but now I mostly target corporate simply because there's more money in it for me personally. There is in addition the college comedy marketplace, cruise boat market, resort and casino marketplace, warm up comedian market (for live sit-com, game and talk show audiences), and military shows. Army shows could be large. 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 great deal of time going through all the possibilities, but this may take days. The important issue to remember is that if you can compose and develop a comedy routine that is clean and good, you can do the job indefinitely. Once you have this information, it is time to target your niche, do your research and get started selling. That's appropriate. Start selling. You are your own business now and you provide a service. If you learn 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 various periods of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

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

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

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

If you would like to target the club marketplace, it's also wise to target the one-nighter market.This way you've got more booking choices available to you when scheduling dates. How can you aim? Start small; start local. In case you have comedy in your area, speak to the clubs, go to the clubs, ask the supervisors, door people, M.C.'s exactly what the protocol is for getting at the door and auditioning or performing a guest set. Be polite and be persistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv a few days every week for several months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) let him perform a set. He was prepared. He did a fantastic job. The rest is now history. When you receive your chance, be well prepared and do a well-crafted 5-10 minute collection. Afterwards, talk to folks, see what it takes to get back to do another set. As soon as you mingle with people and develop relationships and a reputation for being a solid act, now you have all you have to get work. A good deal of comedy talent bookers on the street need to see movie. Some will take a chance on you in the event that you have references from a headliners. It is a good idea to build relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be nice to everybody, always act appropriately. It's these relationships that could make or break your chances for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls per day for your livelihood.

Call comedy clubs and bookers. If you don't get them on the phone, always, I mean always leave a message. Keep accurate records on who you talked to, that the decision maker is, the titles of assistants and the best time to call.

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

When you do eventually get a booker on the telephone. Be polite and ask them if you can send them a movie and if they would rather find the movie online 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 maintain a DVD in their own hand.

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

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

For the toughest bookers in the country, it has always functioned. But how do you manage that? Why your own building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you book something in or around the region of the club you so covet. Whenever you have this date in place and booked, phone the club and see whether it is possible to fall in and do an audition collection. Place in this extra step and you'll probably get a guest collection.

As soon as you perform your guest series, send them a thank you card (and or something with your image on it), to thank them for the opportunity and keep following up until you get a place. Never follow up more than once weekly, if you don't still haven't spoken to the target person, then follow up every 3 times.

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

When you start putting dates collectively. Use every opportunity to video tape. Attempt to find good audio quality, if at all possible. A great tape leads to additional work.

If you follow these steps:

Write your comedy content

Hone and create your material (your"set")

Get work.

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

Current in France, London and the United States, the Avis Acting International theatre and cinema college has been contributing to the development of the world's greatest actors for over 30 years. The educational concept of Acting International, exceptional in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of global methods and the bases necessary for studying in direct contact with the requirements of today's profession. This educational process is continually redefined throughout the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and recognized methods of a group of renowned masters - French, Russian, American, English and Italian - all active artists.

The school provides multidisciplinary theater and theatre courses that span an interval of three decades. Two classes are available to students who will choose between theater and cinema classes (full course) or theatre specialization. In addition, advanced workshops are held in Hollywood, New York and London.