How To Be A Comedian

How To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

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

Write your material

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

Get work.

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

Comedy is not only an art. It's a science and also a business enterprise. 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 requires more work to go out and get the gigs. Show business is two phrases; there's the"series" and there's the"company" and it may surprise you to know that much of the time, you have to put more effort to the company than the show. The good news is, if you do it right, you're having such a blast that you don't actually work a day in your life!

Sound like fun? Let's proceed!

Let's start with writing and developing material. You will find a whole lot of folks out there that think that you can't learn comedy, which you're 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 Consider It, have you ever noticed a baby pop out of his mother's uterus:

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

It just does not happen! Granted, there are a number of people that seem to have a sense of humor built in. They seem to get it. My concept is that they grew up around comedy, possibly listening to the greats at a young age, or they were raised in a household that was filled with humor. Each of the comedians I know which make me laugh had exposure to funny people in a young age and started adapting comedic behaviors. Those behaviors got them attention. They started to recognize the patterns of behaviour and speech which resulted in bliss and applied them to other situations with great outcomes.

The crucial word from the preceding paragraph is"patterns." There are particular patterns which professionals use again and again, for laughs and it is normally a pattern that produces surprise. According to individuals who study 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 usually laugh. Among the simplest ways to do so is to employ one of the 12 major comedy formulas that I found over the decades of studying the greatest comedians. Heck, you don't even need to examine the greats to comprehend this formulation. If you've got a friend (I think most of us do), who turns all you say to a sexual connotation, than he/she is most likely applying this formulation. It is referred to as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two meanings." You basically take a common phrase and twist the supposed meaning to imply something entirely different, but it may really fit in the statement, but its exaggerated...

The other day I was in the grocery store. The clerk said,"Did you find everything you were looking for?" I said,"I found the wine and the candles, but I couldn't find a soul mate... You'd Mahi-Mahi, but I'm not into twins"

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

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

You can see that the term run was used in two distinct manners. This structure should be a regular tool for anybody who is learning how to write comedy. One of the ways that I refine this ability and make it more available to my daily life is by way of practice. After a month I do a word exercise that reminds me that our language has a ton of words which have multiple meanings. Maintaining this refined in my mind, gives me a tool that is always sharp and available. This allows me to re-interpret something someone says and apply a comedic spin on the term. The exercise is simple, yet extremely powerful. For your exercise, I take fifteen random, but rather common words and write them down. Then I find at least five distinct meanings for every word. Working this workout consistently will give you an wonderful leg up on your quickness and finesse for a comedian. It's easy, yet extremely strong. Especially because few comedians actually do it. This is only one of twelve big comedy structures used by all the best comedians and comedy writers. If I was to include all of them in this article, it would take you a week to complete studying. It is a simple, yet effective example of how you can manipulate the English language and make surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Every comedian that makes you laugh uses at least one comedy structure. It's the arrangement of the words or the act-out that activates the laughter. Without the arrangement, there is not any laughter. .

Even when you've got 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 have to start to operate and hone it in front of an audience. I would begin using buddies. Run the material by themsee what they think, see if you're able to make it easier by tweaking the shock. Once you feel comfortable you may perform the five minutes without thinking about it, do it in front of an audience. How can you do so? Well, if you are in a larger city, there are probably plenty of open mics. These are places where you are able to perform 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in the front of an audience. This is the way I began. If you do not have the benefit of being in a big city, then you might have a comedy show that performs once a week or once a month on your town at a local pub or restaurant. If that is true, have a trip down there and ask whether you can M.C. the show. Most pubs which have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not have an M.C.. So if you show up and ask, they will most likely 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've got a video tape that's of good quality, you've got a calling card to get other work. So now you still have to function the'business' side of the how to be a comedian equation. Whenever you've got an action that is creating a laugh every 18-20 seconds, and has a solid beginning, middle and end, it's time to escape there. What most beginning comedians do not realize is that if you hit this level, (may take 6 months, or 2 years), it's time to get serious about treating your stand up comedy like a small business. You are now a product (or service), and you want to sell. At this point in your career, you will not have a supervisor or an agent. If you're fortunate enough to have the money, you can employ a Public Relations manager (around $3500 a month). They can help you get out media releases, stains on the radio or tv. However, you have to have a gig to advertise original. However, most of us do not have that option once we're starting out so let's leave this alone. So you've got a 30 minute action that you have been growing at open mics and other events such as parties, meetings, etc.. How do 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 do both clubs and corporates in my profession, but now I mostly target corporate simply because there's more money in it for me personally. There's also the school comedy marketplace, cruise boat market, hotel and casino market, warm up comedian market (for live sit-com, sport and talk show crowds ), and military shows. Military shows can 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 military displays. We could spend a great deal of time going through each of the possibilities, but this may take days. The key thing to keep in mind is that if you can compose and develop a comedy routine that is good and clean, it is possible to do the job forever. Once you have this info, it's time to target your niche, do your research and get started selling. That is right. Start selling. You are your own business at the moment and you supply a service. If you learn to treat yourself as a business by drawing up a business plan, setting goals and following through, you will start to do the job. When you begin in comedy there are 3 positions available. They are each expected to perform for different amounts of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

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

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

NOTE: This can be business is aggressive, but here's something most comedians don't understand: If you work hard and you also develop your act and you develop your reputation for being a good comedian, you WILL do the job! This business and the bookers who supply comedians around the country are constantly looking for good talent.

If you want to target the club market, you should also target the one-nighter market.This manner you have more booking choices available to you when scheduling dates. How can you target? Start small; start local. In case you have comedy in your area, speak to the clubs, visit the clubs, then ask the managers, door people, M.C.'s exactly what the protocol is for getting in the door and auditioning or performing a guest set. Be polite and be consistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days a week for many months prior to Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) allow him perform a set. He had been ready. He did a fantastic job. The rest is history. When you receive your opportunity, be well prepared and perform a well-crafted 5-10 minute collection. Afterwards, talk to folks, see what it takes to get back to do another set. Once you mingle with people and create relationships and a reputation for being a solid act, now you've got all you need to get work. A lot of comedy talent bookers on the street need to see movie. Some will take a chance on you if you have references from some headliners. It is a good idea to build relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be wonderful to everyone, always act professionally. It's these relationships that can make or break your odds for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls a day to 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 who you spoke to, that the decision maker is, the titles of assistants and also the best time to call.

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

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

"I really want to meet with you and perform with your area. If I could fly out there in a couple of weeks or so, do you feel you could find room in the line up for a guest collection?"

For the toughest bookers in the nation, this has always functioned. But how do you manage that? Why your building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you book something in or around the area 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 excess step and you'll most likely get a guest collection.

Once you do the guest series, send them a thank you card (and or some thing with your picture on it), to thank them for the chance and keep following up until you get a spot. 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 any day." So be consistent and persistent. Be polite and keep following up. And if calling does not work. Pay them a visit. Tell them you're persistent.

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

If you follow these steps:

Compose your comedy material

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

Get work.

You'll be on your way to understanding how to become 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 world'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 global techniques and the bases necessary for studying in direct contact with the demands of today's profession. This educational process is constantly redefined throughout the organic interaction of complementary knowledge and proven methods of a group of renowned masters - French, French, American, English and Italian - all active artists.

The college offers multidisciplinary theater and theatre classes that span a period of three decades. Two courses are accessible to students who can choose between theatre and cinema classes (full course) or cinema specialization. Additionally, advanced workshops have been held in Hollywood, New York and London.
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