Being a comedian is a wonderful thing; you make people laugh, either for a living or as a hobby, and that is something that everyone needs more of! It is to you they turn when they are having a bad day,and they want to feel better. Being a comedian is a vocation with a lot of responsibility attached, but the rewards are enormous. If you think that being a comedian is what you want to do, here are some steps to get started.
Make People Laugh
It may seem like a prerequisite for being a comedian, but if you can’t make people laugh, then it isn’t going to be the right career for you! Start with the people you know and try out jokes on them to gauge their reaction. Are they laughing because you were funny or because they don’t want to hurt your feelings? There is a big difference between the two.
Once you are confident that they are all laughing for the right reasons, go out and show your act to strangers. Their reaction is all-important because it will be utterly truthful; if they find you funny, they will laugh and enjoy themselves. If not, you’ll have silence.
Try Open Mic
Look around where you live, or perhaps a little further afield if you are in a relatively small town, and you’ll come across bars or other venues offering ‘open mic nights’. It means that people are welcome to come in and perform to an audience. It might be comedy, singing, playing an instrument, a magic act, or anything else. This is a great way to find an audience without having to spend any money on hiring a venue or promoting your show. It is also how many of the great comics of today got started. The more they tried these open nights, the better they became and the more confident they were in their abilities. If you do this regularly, you might even start to build a following who will go with you wherever you are going to perform.
This experience will also let you know whether being a comedian is something you will enjoy. Being up in front of lots of people attempting to make them laugh isn’t something that everyone likes, and it might be that you dislike it intensely in the end.
Practice A Lot
Being funny as a career isn’t something that you can try off the cuff and hope for the best. You need to practice your jokes, and you need to practice them a lot. Comedians are renowned for being able to be funny while talking quickly and telling long, possibly complicated stories that have great punchlines. This takes a lot of practice to get right because if you keep stumbling over your words or forgetting what is coming next, your audience will not be able to concentrate on the story, and when the payoff finally comes, they just won’t find it funny.
You may have to tell the same story over and over again to yourself in the mirror, for example, so that you definitely get it right and can tell it in the correct order without any flaws. If this sounds like something that would be boring and you would rather not do it, comedy might not be where you should be heading.
Write Your Own Jokes
Although you might start by taking jokes from the internet or movies, for example, if you want to be truly funny and successful, you need to write your own. The most successful comedians always use real life as the basis for their jokes, and the more mundane the task is that becomes funny, the better, especially if is it something that everyone in the audience has experience of. Any topic can be used (as long as you do not intentionally intend to offend someone), from applying for installment loans to passing a driving exam, to going grocery shopping, or anything else that might have happened to you. The important part is to ensure there is a twist in the story as this is what will make it funny.
There Will Be Hecklers
Something that you are guaranteed to come across no matter how funny or successful you are is a heckler. Hecklers are the people in your audience who call out and try to disrupt and interrupt your act, and they can be a big problem if you let them get away with it. Once you really engage with a heckler, your stream of thought for your joke will be gone, and although it might feel satisfying, you will have lost the majority of your audience.
The best way to deal with a heckler is to ask them to stop, and then continue. Telling them that you are pleased they are there, thanking them for their comments, and then asking them to be quiet because other people are trying to listen is something they won’t be expecting, and it usually works. If they are genuinely disruptive, then security at the venue may have to step in. Don’t let them put you off; you just need to keep going.
Watch Other Comedians
If you want to hone your skills, then it is important to see other comedians and watch their acts carefully. You can find out more about joke telling, audience engagement, and more such as how to move (or not move) around the stage, and exactly how they time their gags to perfection. Although you should never steal anyone else’s material, getting a better idea of how to perform is absolutely crucial. If you can’t attend a live show watch a TV show or DVD, or look online for videos. Read autobiographies too as finding out more about these comics as people can be enlightening.
Find Your Style
Even though other comedians might definitely influence you, it is essential to find your own style. It is this style that will win you more fans and followers and will turn you from good into a success. If you copy someone else’s style, then there is no incentive for people to come to your shows when there are other people doing exactly the same as you. Be different and be yourself.