How To Be A Comedian

How To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

Among the most frequently 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 have heard this a lot! In the larger, sense, becoming a comedian is genuinely a three-pronged job.

Write your material

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

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 2% of you would really apply it and go out and do it.

Comedy isn't just an art. It's a science and a business enterprise. However, most comic books --both professional 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 really go out and get the gigs. Show company is two phrases; there is the"show" and there is the"company" and it might surprise you to understand that a lot of the time, you have to put more effort to the business compared to the series. The fantastic news is, when you do it correctly, you're 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. There are a whole lot of folks out there that think that you can not learn comedy, which you're either born with it or you are not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people who don't have any idea about the science behind bliss or the structure behind it. If you really Consider It, have you ever noticed a baby pop from 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 more like trying to push an egg via a stir rod! Hey Mom? (spit, spit), you should shave that things! Haven't you heard of a'Brazilian?'"

It just does not happen! Granted, there are a number of people who seem to naturally have a sense of humor constructed in. They appear to get it. My theory is that they grew up around comedy, either listening to the greats at a young age, or they had been raised in a household that was full of humor. Each of the comedians I know that make me laugh had exposure to funny people at a young age and began adapting comedic behaviours. Those behaviors obtained them attention. They started to recognize the patterns of behaviour and language that resulted in bliss and applied them to other situations with great results.

The crucial word from the preceding paragraph is"patterns" There are certain patterns which professionals use time and time again, to get laughs and it's normally a pattern that produces surprise. According to individuals who study humor, within this context, surprise is the number one element that activates human bliss, if you're able to surprise somebody with what you will state, they will usually laugh. One of the easiest ways to do so is to employ one of the 12 big comedy formulas that I discovered over the decades of analyzing the best comedians. Heck, you don't even have to examine the greats to recognize this formulation. 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 formulation. It's referred to as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two significance " You basically take a frequent term and spin the supposed meaning to imply something entirely different, but it could really fit in the announcement, but its exaggerated...

Another day I was in the grocery store. The clerk said,"Can 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 am not into twins"

In the above joke, once the clerk used the word"everything," she meant everything at the shop. As a comedian the word that which may be a lot of things. In this case I proceeded with a'soul mate' What makes the joke work isn't merely the misdirection on the intended meaning of the word, but the fact that comedic interpretation of this word still fits inside the context of the question. If 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 trainer,"Coach, how to you feel about the implementation of this crime?" McKay replied,"I am all for this."

You can see that the term run was utilized in two different manners. This structure should be a regular tool for anyone who's learning how to write comedy. One of those ways I refine this capability and make it more available for my daily life is by way of practice. After a month I do a word exercise which reminds me that our language has a ton of words that have multiple meanings. Maintaining this refined in my mind, gives me a tool that is always sharp and available. This permits me to re-interpret something someone says and apply a comedic spin on the word. The practice is simple, yet extremely powerful. For the exercise, I take fifteen arbitrary, but fairly common words 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 in your quickness and finesse for a comedian. It is simple, yet extremely powerful. Notably because few comedians really do it. This is only one of twelve big comedy structures used by most of the top comedians and comedy writers. If I was to include all of them in this guide, it would take you a week to complete studying. It is an easy, yet powerful example of ways to manipulate the English language and make surprise and activate laughter from an audience.

FACT: Each comedian who makes you laugh uses a minumum of one comedy architecture. It is the structure of the words or the act-out that activates the laughter. Without the arrangement, there's not any laughter. .

Even when you have all twelve comedy structures down, (most comics work with 3-4), and you also develop an act of at least five minutes, to start, thirty minutes to begin getting paid, you need to start to work and hone it in front of an audience. I would begin with friends. Run the content by them, see what they believe, see if you're able to make it easier by tweaking the shock. Once you feel comfortable that you may do the five minutes without thinking about it, then do it in front of an audience. How can you do so? Well, if you're in a bigger city, there are probably lots of open mics. These are places where you can 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 big town, then you might have a comedy show that plays once a week or once a month in town at a local pub or restaurant. If that is the case, take a trip down there and ask whether you can M.C. the show. Most bars which have'one-niter' comedy shows, don't have an M.C.. Therefore, in case you appear and ask, they will probably be more than happy to have you do it. If you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape . Once you have a video tape that's of good quality, you have a calling card to get work. So today you still need to function the'business' side of the how to be a comedian equation. When you have an act that's creating a laugh every 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 if you hit this degree, (can take 6 months, or 2 years), it's 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 manager or a broker. If you are lucky 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 media releases, stains on the radio or tv. But you must have a gig to promote first. But most of us do not have that choice when we're starting out so let's leave that alone. So you've got a 30 minute act that you have been growing at open mics and other events such as meetings, parties, etc.. How do you get it on the street? At this point you could be looking at several possibilities on your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and also one-niter market

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I really do both nightclubs and corporates in my profession, but today I mostly target corporate only because there's more money in it for me personally. There's in addition the school comedy marketplace, cruise boat market, resort and casino market, warm 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 rest of my life doing army shows. We could spend a lot of time going through each of the possibilities, but this could take days. The key issue to keep in mind is that if you're able to write and develop a comedy routine that's good and clean, you can do the job indefinitely. As soon as you have this information, it is time to target your market, do your homework and start selling. That is appropriate. Start selling. You're your own company now and you supply 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 positions available. They are each expected to do for various amounts 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 competitive, but here is something most comedians don't know: If you work hard and you also develop your action and you develop your reputation for being a fantastic comedian, you WILL do the job! This business and the bookers who supply comedians around the country are constantly looking for great talent.

If you would like to aim the club market, you should also aim the one-nighter market.This manner you have more booking options available to you when booking moves. How can you target? Start small; start neighborhood. If you have comedy locally, contact the clubs, go to the clubs, then ask the managers, door individuals, M.C.'s exactly what the protocol would be for getting at the door and auditioning or doing a guest collection. Be considerate and be persistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv a few days a week for several months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) let him do a set. He had been ready. He did a great job. The rest is now history. When you receive your opportunity, be prepared and do a well-crafted 5-10 minute set. Later, talk to folks, see what it takes to get back to do another group. As soon as you mingle with people and develop relationships and a reputation for being a good act, now you've got all you have to get work. A lot of comedy talent bookers on the road require to see movie. Some will take a chance on you if you have testimonials from some headliners. It is a fantastic idea to build relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be nice 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 for your livelihood.

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

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

When you do eventually get a booker on the phone. Be polite and ask them if you may send them a video and if they prefer to find the video on the internet or on DVD or even E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). Believe it or not, there are still some bookers out there who would rather maintain a DVD in their 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 inquire,

"I really want to meet with you and play your area. If I could fly out there in two weeks or so, do you think that could find room on the lineup for a guest collection?"

For the toughest bookers from the country, this has always worked. But how can you afford that? Why your building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you book something around the area of the club you so covet. Whenever you have this date set up and booked, call the club and see whether it is possible to fall in and do an audition collection. Put in this extra step and you will most likely get a guest set.

As soon as you do the guest series, send them a thank you card (and or something with your image on it), to thank them for the chance and keep up till you get a place. Never follow up more than once a week, 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 daily." So be consistent and persistent. Be polite and keep up. And when calling does not work. Pay them a visit. Tell them you are persistent.

When you start putting dates collectively. Utilize every opportunity to video tape. Attempt to find great sound quality, if at all possible. A great tape leads to more work.

If you follow those steps:

Write your comedy material

Hone and create your material (your"set")

Get work.

You will be on your way to understanding 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 emergence of the planet's best actors for more than 30 decades. The educational idea of Acting International, exceptional in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of international techniques as well as the foundations necessary for learning in direct contact with all the demands of today's profession. This educational process is constantly redefined throughout the organic interaction of complementary knowledge and proven methods of a team of renowned masters - French, Russian, American, Italian and English - all busy artists.

The school provides multidisciplinary theater and cinema courses that span an interval of 3 years. Two courses are accessible to students who can choose between theatre and cinema classes (full class ) or cinema specialization. Additionally, advanced workshops have been held in Hollywood, New York and London.

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