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Goodspaceguy
Jul 23, 2006

It's for you.

I hunted around and couldn't find any threads for active stand-up comedians so I thought I'd fire one up. So where are you fellow goon comics? How long have you been performing? Are you in a "good comedy city" or some tragic backwater town where you have to ask a bar to let you put on a show? What's the most amount of time you've done (did you bomb?)? Have you done the road? I'm curious what your comedy experiences are.

I'm currently in Seattle which has a good open mic scene but pretty much nothing in the way of professional work. You can go up pretty much every night of the week and a couple times a night if you have a car. There are about 100 or so comedians who perform once a week and maybe 30-50 who go out more than that. Personally I've been performing for four years with several gaps and only really consistently for the last year or so. My goal is to move to New York within the year and really try to make a career out of it.

This thread can also be a place where people can ask questions and get advice. You can post videos too, but I'd be inclined to say that having strangers comment on some tape of your open mic set can do more harm than good.

So, comedy goons, show your bitter selves.

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tintin1983
May 17, 2003
TOO DUMB TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POST AND REPLY

I'm working on a blog and try to get some stand up ready. But, I am terrified of getting on stage. I have 2 blogs and a twitter. Can I post links to that stuff here?

I also have material that just needs to be edited but, tonight I decided to post some stuff.

coolguy90000
Jul 31, 2008


I'm an aspiring comic from a small city about an hour away from Toronto (in Canada ). I've been on stage 4 times, twice in my city and twice in another. Unfortunately there aren't many opportunities for comics in my area, but I plan on moving to Toronto or Montreal in the next year or so.

The most time I've done is 10 minutes, half of it was riffing on what'd happened to me that day. Haven't bombed yet but I'm prepared to eventually, it's inevitable. I'm having a friend tape my next open mic set and I'll post the link here.

If there are any comics from Toronto or Montreal reading this, I'd love to hear about your experience in the open mic scene. I don't know much about Montreal's english comedy scene so any information would be appreciated!

Smeed
Mar 22, 2008

Rhetorical questions only

This might seem like a stupid question, but I've been throwing around the idea of getting into stand-up but have no idea where to start. How do you guys write your material? Do you just develop it from things that come to you throughout the day or do you actually sit and write? I'm just trying to figure out the first step to putting together material. I live in what I'd consider a tragic backwater city so I imagine open mics to test whats good and whats garbage will be few and far between.

Goodspaceguy
Jul 23, 2006

It's for you.

Smeed posted:

This might seem like a stupid question, but I've been throwing around the idea of getting into stand-up but have no idea where to start. How do you guys write your material? Do you just develop it from things that come to you throughout the day or do you actually sit and write? I'm just trying to figure out the first step to putting together material. I live in what I'd consider a tragic backwater city so I imagine open mics to test whats good and whats garbage will be few and far between.

Not a stupid question. I've tried sitting down and writing, and still do it from time to time, but it's an incredibly frustrating process just because stand-up is so tied to an audience reaction. My friends have made it work, but you need to commit around two hours to it. My best description of the process is writing down every funny idea you have then trying it out on stage (I'd suggest watching this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSLG1scOfa8). The key is just to go on stage as often as you can and figure out what works for you. For your situation I'd suggest finding a "music/poetry/everything else" type coffee shop open mic and asking if you can do stand-up. It's not ideal but it's stage experience.

tintin1983 posted:

I'm working on a blog and try to get some stand up ready. But, I am terrified of getting on stage. I have 2 blogs and a twitter. Can I post links to that stuff here?

I'm not sure how much posting your blog might help with stand-up.. I'd suggest getting over your fear of going on stage though. Even though a lot of comedians look confident and cocky on stage, I can assure you most of them were just as terrified as you are their first time. It's just something you have to push through (and it gives you a sweet little adrenaline rush when it's over).

Goodspaceguy fucked around with this message at Nov 25, 2012 around 18:17

Wiley Scribner
Jun 12, 2011

legislate global health initiatives all day


I'm in the same boat as that other guy who doesnt know where to start. Any tips on how to look at situations differently? Actually sitting down to right jokes is near impossible for me.

coolguy90000
Jul 31, 2008


Will it spoil me posted:

Actually sitting down to right jokes is near impossible for me.

It was for me too, but honestly it's just like anything else that seems near impossible. If you just force yourself to do it over and over again, it'll get easier and easier. I find that I CANNOT just sit down at my laptop or with a pad of paper and just write. To me it's nuts that ANYONE can do that. I need to be up and moving around, talking to myself, playing with my cat.

I found that if I'm putting all of my energy into starring at a blank page, it'll stay blank. Try doing something that doesn't require much thought while you're trying to work out a premise or punchline or whatever. Like I said, walk around your house, play with a pet, talk out loud. Just getting in the habit of spending a few hours working on jokes - whether you complete any or not - will make the next time less stressful and probably more productive.

Like I said in my last post I'm new at this too, so this isn't expert advice. It's just what I've noticed works for me.

Wiley Scribner
Jun 12, 2011

legislate global health initiatives all day


Thanks for the tip. I hope this thread gets humming soon, anyone know of any other online resources for good info on comedy?

Pastamania
Mar 5, 2012

You cannot know.
The things I've seen.
The things I've done.
The things he made me do.


Keep a pad and pen on you at all times. Most people actually think of tons and tons of stuff on any given day, they just don't write it down. Then, during a writing session, take those ideas and run that poo poo into the ground.


Material isn't usually the problem. You can read the phonebook on stage and it'll work if you present it right. Literally. A comedian actually did that at Edinburgh,for like 20 minutes, and it was a hit. People really will laugh at any old poo poo, so long is its presented well.

We live in a world where loving Friends is considered comedy gold by many.. Don't lose too much sleep about material.

coolguy90000
Jul 31, 2008


Found this the other night, Ralphie May talks the business and gives some great advice. Check out some of Kyle Cease's other videos too.

http://vimeo.com/15182852

DavidAlltheTime
Feb 14, 2008

All David...all the TIME!


I've started thinking of trying to get 5 minutes of material together to maybe do an open mic. I haven't written anything, other than just noting prompts like 'that time the cat got stuck in the spare tire', and '2 weeks to live and you have to do laundry'. Because the funny for me, comes from casually telling those stories, instead of being precise.

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


I'm trying to get the balls to do my first open mic sometime in the new year. I was taking a small weekly comedy improv course (which was building up to a performance to a few people tomorrow evening, so I'm making GBS threads myself!) so I'm definitely bookmarking this thread. Actually, I'd recommend doing an improv course if you're having trouble writing material, as it's great practise to just break down your logical filters and just run with an idea no matter how ludicrous it is.

Personally, any time I see something that makes me chuckle, I write it down along with why I laughed at it. Then I'll just start typing in a conversational style about that as though I was telling a story to a friend. Along the way, I'll jot down any notes that I want to be sure to hit and try to guide the story towards getting through all of them. When trying to memorise my material, I just have a list of the key bullet points of the routine so that I don't end up just reciting what I've written word for word.

Now, this might be dreadful since I haven't actually performed any of the stuff I've written yet, so once I finally get up there I'll post again with how badly it all went!

I know that UK and US comedians tend to have rather different styles, but he's a fantastic British podcasts from a comedian called Stuart Goldsmith that I would recommend to anyone who's interested in stand-up.
http://www.comedianscomedian.com/
Basically he interviews other comedians about how they write their material, where they get their inspiration from, etc. I generally try to stay a few episodes behind in it so that every time I'm running short on motivation to get writing, I'll listen to a bit of the podcast and suddenly get back in the mood to get some work done.

Wiley Scribner
Jun 12, 2011

legislate global health initiatives all day


What are some examples of fantastic delivery and timing?

weirdspaceships
Jan 25, 2012


Will it spoil me posted:

What are some examples of fantastic delivery and timing?

Tig Notaro's newest set, Live, is good for a million different reasons, but I think the delivery is just amazing. She's performing a short 30-minute set, and just a few days before, she found out she had breast cancer. So it's coloring everything she talks about, and she pushes through just telling jokes to making this genuine connection to the audience. In addition, the way she talks about all the misfortune in her life just has this great impact. It delivers very well.

It reminds me of those SNL Debbie Downer skits, kind of. If you're interested, you can find it on Louis CK's website for five bucks.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

That's a nice stack of dragons you have there. Be a real shame if I sneezed on it.

Another goon who's thought about trying the comedy thing without knowing where to start checking in.

My question is this: What do you think about taking another comedian's joke and telling it yourself, as an exercise to explore your own style? I mean this as an at home, working on yourself thing, not stealing material to tell live audiences. It seems like a good way to bypass the whole writing material step so you can work on delivery and figuring out your own rhythms and whatnot. Just a thought I had the other day.

Mordecai Sanchez
Jul 21, 2009



inthesto posted:

Another goon who's thought about trying the comedy thing without knowing where to start checking in.

My question is this: What do you think about taking another comedian's joke and telling it yourself, as an exercise to explore your own style? I mean this as an at home, working on yourself thing, not stealing material to tell live audiences. It seems like a good way to bypass the whole writing material step so you can work on delivery and figuring out your own rhythms and whatnot. Just a thought I had the other day.

You've basically described being able to tell a joke, which is one of the core things a comic should be good at. It's same thing as hearing great jokes from your uncles and grandpa and classmates, who heard it from someone before, and learning to tell it well. Except for retelling it to others, of course.

Pastamania
Mar 5, 2012

You cannot know.
The things I've seen.
The things I've done.
The things he made me do.


inthesto posted:

Another goon who's thought about trying the comedy thing without knowing where to start checking in.

My question is this: What do you think about taking another comedian's joke and telling it yourself, as an exercise to explore your own style? I mean this as an at home, working on yourself thing, not stealing material to tell live audiences. It seems like a good way to bypass the whole writing material step so you can work on delivery and figuring out your own rhythms and whatnot. Just a thought I had the other day.

loving hell, this post ran away from me. Wall of text time, folks.

I don't really see the upside as an exercises over spending time working on your own material. Timing and material are interlinked - Doug Stanhope couldn't do Michael Mcintyre's material, no matter how he reworked it. There's no 'bypassing' the problem, I'm afraid. Fortunately, you've already solved it, and have been solving it since you were like 2.

You already have you material, delivery and rhythm. Every time you've ever made a friend laugh, you've delivered a good joke with great timing. That's all it is. Stand up is about transplanting that moment to the stage. To do that firstly you've got to remember it a week later - Keep a pad and a pen in your back pocket at all times. A smartphone won't cut it - I tried it, and I just ended with pages of meaningless shorthand that can be rather disturbing to read back. Why did I have a note that simply said "PEOPLE ON TRAIN in capitals letters? Why did I have a note that simply said "Jews"? I mean, I'm not that sorta comedian. At least I don't want to be. I guess the world will never know.

Seriously, I can't emphasise that point enough. Keep a motherfucking pad and pen in your back pocket at all times. Forever. Always be writing stupid poo poo down. Always. This here Ted talk nails it, albeit in the most pretentious way possible. Feel self-concious scrawling away in front of your mates? A few deaths on stage will quickly put that poo poo into focus. That's the trick. Notes. Notes notes notes. Notes notes notes notes notes. Motherfucking goddamn notes.

When you come to sit down and write your set, you should have a solid bank of dumb bullshit to draw on. Pick the bits that still seem funny (That'll be about 1% of your notes - thats why it's important to take so drat many), repeat the joke outloud and then write down the wording. Make sure you do say it out loud, it'll help you write with your own voice and not in the style of Shithead and friends who were DJing the radio on the drive home. Then rehearse it. Again and again. Your mind will go blank on stage, this poo poo needs to be borderline instinctual. Once you've got to the point that your murmuring nob gags in your sleep, you'll be able to recall it at a whim. This is good - When you panic on stage and your mind goes blank (it will) your mouth can start running this poo poo off on automatic while you brain figures out what's going on. The audience will never know.

Then do it on stage, feel awkward as gently caress because your talking to 20 silent strangers you can't even see, fluff it, feel terrible, drink yourself into oblivion, repeat, and hope you get good and make a living by the time your liver implodes. Welcome to stand up comedy, shitheads.

-----

Since people are asking for writing techniques, I figured I'd share a few I picked up when I was gigging. I'm in two minds about sharing some of these - they work, but they're more designed for panel show writers who have to come up with 75 gags a week (No, comedians don't write all the jokes on those shows themselves. Also, Wrestling is fake and there is no tooth fairy). Some comedians, at least on the British scene, rely far too much on these techniques and end up sounding like generic middle class white guy on stage #263. Why Yes Mr Open Mic Comedian. I, too, have noticed Boris Johnsons crazy hair, but I'd never have the balls to mention it outloud. Well done sir. You have my axe. And my bow.

The two steps of association
So, the idea goes that you take a blank piece of paper and write a thing down in a circle. It can be anything. Since this thread will inevitably turn into a graveyard of broken dreams, lets take the word "dreams". Now, with a spider diagram, do a bit of word association. It can be anything, funny's not the point yet. Done? Now take those words you've come up with, and do the same exercise on them. You'll have something that looks a bit like this, only hopefully not written in my hideous rodent-man hybrid scrawl.



You then take two areas that are far away from each other on the diagram, ram them together and see if theres a joke there. I've only done a expanded in a couple of areas because whatever, but from this limited example alone there I've got:

"The problem these days is that Martin Luther King wouldn't of had a dream, because he was up all night playing Mafia Wars"

"I don't understand. I'm a guild master and a level 56 elf, but my parents still tell me I don't have any ambition"

Not great, but then it was like 5 minutes work. If you kept digging there'd be some gems in there.
I'm sure there's something on Martin Luther Kings Wet Dream, an ambitious bed, a wet nightmare (There's probably a whole loving set there) facebook for pillows......


Breaking memes for fun and profit

I'm tempted to go onto kickstarter to campaign for the funds to buy advertising on Reddit that simply says "THAT'S NOT WHAT MEME MEANS". By meme, I'm referring to a widely culturally accepted phrase or idea, so something like "It takes two to tango", or "A watched kettle never boils". This exercise is about simply subverting a meme.

So, one that always worked well in my set goes:

"They say a problem shared is a problem solved. Now I have the clap"

I wrote a shitload of them a few years ago, but that was the only one that worked. Which pissed me off: "A watched kettle is still better than BBC3" was way better. Audiences are poo poo.

The Thank You list

Simple. Have a near nervous breakdown on paper about all the poo poo that pisses you off day to day. Then find a way to 'thank' those responsible for it. This technique will also allow you to understand British people.

The goddamn motherfucking rule of goddamn three

I hate this idea, because it's based on the same concepts that form a key part of every creepy NLP, hard sales and PUA course out there. But it does work, so whatever.

Theory goes that the brain abosrbs things that are presented in groups of three. In adverts you'll often get slogans like "Bigger, better, faster!!!". The comedic technique is to do the same thing, but throw in something subversive.

"I love my girlfriend. She's friendly, funny, and has finally stopped trying to escape the basement" -

It's not an open mic set if it doesn't include at least one poorly thought out surprise sex joke, folks.

It's been a while since I gigged, if any other tricks come to mind I'll post 'em. But please please please don't rely on 'writing techniques' alone, unless your goal is to be a completely forgettable hack, in which case carry on. Trust me though, the poo poo you talk about with your mates is far more genuine and therefore funny than anything you'd get out of any 'writing technique' - comedy is about being the funny person in the pub. In front of a room of judgemental strangers. While blind.

Pastamania fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2012 around 20:49

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


Pastamania posted:

It's not an open mic set if it doesn't include at least one poorly thought out surprise sex joke, folks.
I remember back when Frankie Boyle stood out due to his material and there wasn't thousands of lazy hacks doing open mics thinking that saying "child surprise sex" makes you an instant comedy legend. Simpler times!

Same goes for Catholic priest (or more recently, Jimmy Savile) jokes.

In a bit of material I'm writing, the inevitable conclusion is a surprise sex reference and I'm desperately trying to push it in any other direction. Actually, one day I ended up writing so many god-awful sex jokes that I could probably do a good couple of minutes about how bad my own material is and how I'm ashamed of it!

Ksrugi
Mar 21, 2010


The comedic rule of three is in everything. It goes waaaaaaaaaaaay back to the Greeks and it's still something I have trouble wrapping my head around too. Shakespeare uses it a lot in his writings and it's a rule in Shakespeare performance that lists like that have to build or you lose the impact of the line whether it's tragedy or comedic.

I'm an actor. I've auditioned my rear end off for work on film, TV, and the stage, done performances in front of 800+ people, and am always the one Asian guy in whatever you see. Stand up comedy is another planet with its own law of physics in my book. So much of what you do as an actor is focused on your partner, your environment, and what's going on around you. A stand up comedian has himself, his material, and the audience. Working purely off the energy a room full of strangers is something to be admired.

TonyBromo
Dec 16, 2012

by Fistgrrl


Nice. Glad to see so many goons into Standup and Comedy Writing.

NOPE

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Somebody fucked around with this message at Dec 17, 2012 around 00:04

FouRPlaY
May 5, 2010


Another wannabe checking in – who also lives an hour away from Toronto (in Waterloo).

Although I do like to make the people in front of me laugh and definitely want to do stand-up, my interests are more in the written word. My first goal was to be Dave Barry (as in, writing humours nonfiction articles and books), then Seth McFarlane (as in, writing animated sitcoms), and now it's mixed to be Ken Levine (who wrote for MASH, The Simpsons, and Fraiser, and now has his own comedy blog at http://kenlevine.blogspot.ca).

It's always been one of those “yeah, I'll get to it” dreams until literally this past week. I've started slowly, but I sat down and wrote jokes for four of the five days this week (I've spent the weekend playing Assassin's Creed 3). It's small, but it's a start.

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


My problem is definitely having too many half-baked ideas and not enough complete material that I'd be happy to perform. I guess once I actually have my first try at stand up then that might inspire me to finish off some ideas, or if I gig enough the. I'll eventually be forced to finish off something new!

Zero Star
Jan 22, 2006

Robit the paranoid blogger.


I'd like to recommend the series of videos that veteran Irish comedian Ed Byrne made for FHM as part of their Stand Up Hero contest. They cover aspects such as wording jokes, how to conduct yourself on stage, and so on.

Polishing a gag
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4gYZ-godl8

Gag structure
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeP0Omvvmjs

Acing the debut
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8c2cstqhhA

Where to look on stage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHTWkb64j2Q

Finding your style
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO0yP9ntU0Y

Style refinement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPhJ1nJPFuM

Making it big (this one is quite UK-centric)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExSypRWsoiA

As for me, I've got a few decent jokes that make my friends laugh and the details of some decent open-mic nights in London that I'll be chasing up in January. The advice in this thread is great and definitely makes me feel a lot more confident about performing myself.

burdt
Feb 27, 2009

i wanna make it (wit chu)


Tried this a few times bombed and froze and haven't gone back since. Bombing hard really makes you learn and inevitably I've been writing material non-stop since I umm stopped.

Different rhythms work for different people, you just have to keep at it and eat some terrible horrible sets to get past the jitters.

Edit yourself. Less is more except when it isn't but you don't really know when it isn't if you haven't gone through your material on stage a few dozen times.

Godspeed first timers. If they don't laugh know that it gets worse. Eating a million dicks leads to stand up Zen.
But it probably doesn't but that won't stop you.

Tape that first set.

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008


This thread was really hard to find, I've seen at least two closely related threads about standup, so if anyone sees any more, it might be helpful to refer them to this thread.

I have also written a mighty wall of text, so if you're in a hurry, skip to the bottom where I uploaded a couple of my semi-recent open-mic sets. And if you're really in a hurry, you shouldn't in this thread at all. It would actually be very cool if everyone would start posting their sets and workshopping.

==

I would say that for comedians at all levels the best thing you can do is record yourself when you go up every time so you can find when the laughs are coming consistently. Making notes is good, and having a smartphone is really helpful, because you can write and also record on it.

The other huge thing is don't steal jokes, ever. And if you and a famous comedian have an identical joke, you have to stop doing it unless you can document not on
ly that you were doing it first, but that they saw you do it and stole it from you. Since that's not what happened, you probably won't be able to do it.

There are only so many things that are funny and there's a lot of parallel thinking in comedy, but you're gonna look like you stole it--I don't scour the earth to make sure no one's done a joke about dicks before, but I have had someone tell me after a set that they've heard a bit similar to mine from someone really famous, and I looked into it and decided to stop doing my version because they were uncannily similar and there was no way to take in a different direction.

Bits are important, but so is the energy in the venue. Every open mic venue is different every night, and sometimes you can go up with the best material in the world and deliver it flawlessly but you're still gonna bomb. This is because the audience can be horrible or simply non-existent, and other comics who have heard thousands hours of bad comedy are often not going to be listening at all.

I have a few standby bits I use rarely that work pretty much every time, and if even those get a tepid response I just experiment and go out of my comfort zone since I'm already bombing. A good rule of thumb is to do a bit three times and if bombs all three times retire it or rework it. I often don't follow that rule because I get bored and want to try all new stuff every time, but my reputation suffers for it. When you get any kind of showcase or non-open mic gig, you should have a more or less decided setlist and polish every day you can until the show.

Anyway, theory is good but practice is better, and the only real way to test material are live audiences.

==

These are two recent sets I did for audiences of less than a dozen people, but that's normal. It was the first time for almost all of the bits both times and they're really rough and loose, but that is what open mics are for, and there are a few things that were pure improv that I like and am going to do again in the future. I also say "like" far, far, too often and I'm working on being nervous in a different way, but only a few english majors have come down on me for it in the past.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/pb7toz
http://www.sendspace.com/file/qciei4

Anyway, these are a few examples of what you can get away with on open mic without any polish. And obviously, my ego would be curious to hear critiques and if anyone thought any my jokes that silently bombed for that crowd are actually funny.

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


A question for the people who have been doing it for a while:
Do you keep a categorised list of all the routines you have? Like, you have all your material typed up (maybe not word for word, but enough of it to remind you what the content is) and you have categories/tags on each one to make it easier to transition from one piece to another?

e.g. Routine A is about films, so you can pick a set order by searching for another routine that is tagged with "films" and "anger" so you easily link into that from routine A, then a third routine which is tagged "anger" and something else, and so on.

Would I just be better off just mixing about the order and seeing what flows naturally?

Lake Jucas
Feb 20, 2011


Stand-up rookie here. I moved to NYC after graduating to pursue comedy, but I haven't done nearly any stand-up in the last two years. I do a ton of improv and sketch, but after my city performance were kinda lovely it has been hard to bring myself to go back (even though I want to), and I keep making way too man drat excuses not to.

I am going on vacation next week. I think I am going to reorganize what I have written and try to put together a five minute set. All these resources you are posting are fantastic. I love you all for them.

What are peoples opinion on posting stand-up material here for critique (even though it will translate like poo poo without seeing it. Maybe we can videotape ourselves and post the footage?)

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


I like the idea of those of us with no experience being able to get our work critiqued in advanced, though as you say seeing it written down makes anything look poo poo!

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

I'm Un-Saveable! Do you understand?! I can't be saved, I have sex in my butt.


Question Mark Mound posted:

and you have categories/tags on each one to make it easier to transition from one piece to another?


Would I just be better off just mixing about the order and seeing what flows naturally?

In the US (at least what I've heard from other comics I've worked with) there are like 3 "pieces" to a stand up comedy show.

Jokes: one set up and punchline (or multiple punchlines occasionally)

Bits: 1 or more jokes on the same or similar topics that flows

Sets: combination of jokes and bits to create something intentional that you perform when gigging.

I'm sure every comic does it differently, but I essentially "name" my bits. After I've worked it out for use on a paying gig, I know my material well enough that I only really need the name of the bit to remind me of what is included. I then combine them together to create a set. So it sort of ends up looking like a set list for musicians.

example (this is my current 20 minute set):

No Shave November
Not My Type
Never Underestimate a Woman
Spartan Weddings
Autocorrect
Fake Tooth
Skinny Jeans
2 Boners
Li'l Smoky Gnomes
Hippos are Meth-heads
Online Dating


Now, how do you create a set that's fluid with all that crazy rear end subject matter all over the place? A comedian friend of mine that runs a club in Reno told me this awesome piece of advice: "if you have the ability to get the crowd with you in the beginning of your set, they will follow you wherever you go. trust that. So as long as those transitions make sense to you, in your head, they are gonna be with you" and you know what? he's right. That set is all over the place but it works, and pretty fugging well too.

It's not gonna work the same for everyone, but just so you newbies know, you don't have to have some really specific segue or anything. Just like conversations, stand up goes all over the place sometimes to make you laugh.




Lake Jucas posted:

Stand-up rookie here.

Maybe we can videotape ourselves and post the footage?)

You should always be video taping yourself anytime you go up, especially when you first start out. You never know when you're going to say something off the cuff at an open mic and create a brilliant bit. I have many times that i didn't write something down right away because i was hosting open mic and forgot to and now that joke is lost forever (like my virginity). It's also important to tape yourself so you can watch how you deliver jokes. look for those filler words you use too much (um, uh, you know, gently caress) and cut them out intentionally. you'd be amazed how quickly this can make you funnier and sharper on stage.




tl;dr-

3 pieces of comedy: jokes, bits, sets

name your jokes, line em up in a list that makes sense to you and tell em.

always video tape yourself.

CannedMacabre
Jul 6, 2007

In space, no one
can hear you fart.


Name your jokes, but leave those names out of your set. Dan Cummins is a funny comedian, but his shtick of following a joke with, "that joke is called..." has never been funny.

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008


I have a notebook where I write down all potential ideas, then the more refined stuff gets typed up more or less how I'd like to say it, then I email it to myself and make condensed version out of pretty much just key words to help me remember it. Then I look at the key words on my phone right before I go up and record my set, and then go back to my notes after to add/remove things based on the recording. Honestly though, standup comedy is the most free-form thing and everyone has their approach to how they like to organize their material, so as long as you're getting laughs, you're doing it right.

I should clarify that the sets I posted are just audio--I like to have a video recording if I'm doing a showcase but for open mics audio is good enough, unless you feel like you need to work on your body language and physical comfort, of course. If people want to put stuff here I think that'd be great, but I'd say the bare minimum to be really helpful is an audio recording, even if it's just you in your room talking. Written and spoken comedy are two different animals and some of the funniest spoken jokes can fall flat when they're only written down.

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


Not necessarily related to performing stand-up comedy, but people in this thread would obviously be fans so it seems like a good place to ask.

In the new year I'm going to be launching a comedy listings website for my local area (well, the tiny country I live in) and the plan is to try and get acts/promoters to put their own listings up, with me catching whatever I miss (e.g. for the big TV acts who'd be too big/busy to list on a local website!). Although, I've gone through and put in a load of shows from the main venues just to get things running.

What kind of stuff would you find most useful in a comedy listings website? Right now it's mainly a calendar with event pages that show a title, blurb, photo, price and link to the event page on the venue's website. It's all being done through Wordpress and I'm not much of a coder, so any new functionality will need to be through existing plugins or very simple tinkering of code!

Eventually I'd like to get a blog going in it but I don't have time or much to write about in it myself, so ideally it'd be a place for local acts to write things about the scene which I could then publish on the site.

Pastamania
Mar 5, 2012

You cannot know.
The things I've seen.
The things I've done.
The things he made me do.


Zero Star posted:

I'd like to recommend the series of videos that veteran Irish comedian Ed Byrne made for FHM as part of their Stand Up Hero contest. They cover aspects such as wording jokes, how to conduct yourself on stage, and so on.

Polishing a gag
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4gYZ-godl8

Gag structure
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeP0Omvvmjs

Acing the debut
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8c2cstqhhA

Where to look on stage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHTWkb64j2Q

Finding your style
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO0yP9ntU0Y

Style refinement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPhJ1nJPFuM

Making it big (this one is quite UK-centric)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExSypRWsoiA

As for me, I've got a few decent jokes that make my friends laugh and the details of some decent open-mic nights in London that I'll be chasing up in January. The advice in this thread is great and definitely makes me feel a lot more confident about performing myself.

I used to gig around London, most gigs and networking tends to be done in Facebook round here on a group called 'the comedy collective', which also doubles up as on of the most hilarious dives of Internet drama queens you'll ever find. Ask there if your looking for gigs in London. You can literally gig every night of the week in London, but be aware that people so tollarance for shock value is somewhat higher than elsewhere - it's worth getting out of town every few weeks as well if you can, you'll be a better comedian for it.

Kung Fu Jesus
Jun 20, 2002

lol jews gonna get fucked.

I have no desire to be a comedian but I find those videos of shop talk really fascinating.

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

I'm Un-Saveable! Do you understand?! I can't be saved, I have sex in my butt.


Kung Fu Jesus posted:

I have no desire to be a comedian but I find those videos of shop talk really fascinating.

I do love being a comic, honestly but I will say this too. The creation of comedy is almost as fun and fascinating to me as the "doing" of comedy so to speak. It's a real shame to me that so many comics are really paranoid about material being stolen (which is something I feel like you can't stop so why bother, because there's no copyrighting jokes anyway) because some of my favorite times have been sitting around with other comics and talking about bits and how to tweak them or adding tags to make them funnier. I don't think you're alone in thinking the shop talk is interesting, is what I'm saying.

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008


Standup is kind of a solitary journey that many people don't find rewarding because the concrete circumstances are kinda ugly and repetitive. So I guess it's not too surprising this thread hasn't really taken off, but it's still a shame. Other than generic drunken redneck crowds and a couple of comic friends who have the same sense of humor as me, there's not a lot of opportunity to get people to listen to bounce ideas off, or just listen to my stuff and see if it's funny to strangers.

Anyway, hopefully a few people got inspired to get started and are putting work in--reading and preparing are great, but at the end of the day either you go up or you don't.

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


I almost think it'd be worth having an IRC channel or something full of comedy goons to bounce ideas off each other without it being too public of a forum that other people could easily steal some gags?

Pastamania
Mar 5, 2012

You cannot know.
The things I've seen.
The things I've done.
The things he made me do.


Smerdyakov posted:

Standup is kind of a solitary journey that many people don't find rewarding because the concrete circumstances are kinda ugly and repetitive. So I guess it's not too surprising this thread hasn't really taken off, but it's still a shame. Other than generic drunken redneck crowds and a couple of comic friends who have the same sense of humor as me, there's not a lot of opportunity to get people to listen to bounce ideas off, or just listen to my stuff and see if it's funny to strangers.

Anyway, hopefully a few people got inspired to get started and are putting work in--reading and preparing are great, but at the end of the day either you go up or you don't.

The other reason standup threads don't tend to take off is that standup should be inherently undoable in written form, which is what we're largely limited to in a thread. If you watch a lot of comedy you'll notice that there's an almost musical element to a lot of it - 3 beats of setting up an expectation for the audience, and then a beat subverting it for the punchline. Sure, the greats know how to subvert and play with that form, but if you watch stuff from earlier in the careers, they almost certainly mastered it first. Standup is like being a musical conductor, only change a classy music hall for dive bar, replace the orchestra with bunch of drunk angry rednecks, and replace that little stick you have with a poorly thought out knob gag.

It bares repeating, one guy got rave reviews in Edinburgh by reading out a phonebook on stage for 20 minutes. Talk to non-standups - most of them are most impressed when the comedian 'improvises' and deals with the public. Literally, the most impressive thing a comedian can do in their eyes is hold a basic 30 second conversation. The reason isn't that its 'funny material', but because most people are loving terrified that you'll try and talk to them, and so when you do it introduces a tension to the room that makes the most mundane bullshit seem like comedy gold. That's the sort of energy that's unique to standup, and it doesn't really translate into threads.

I'd argue that your 'drunken rednecks' are the perfect feedback. Learn to handle them without compromising your own material, and you're set for every audience on the planet.

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008


Yeah, you have to post audio or video--no different from any music thread that requires the same. And the audio pretty much needs to be live to really judge it, but I suggested before that people could just record it in their room if they didn't have access to an actual club and we could listen to it. It's 2012, very easy to record audio and video, very easy to download it. I totally agree that text is very, vey limited, but I don't see why we're limited to just text in the thread.

The redneck crowd is a bit specific at first but after a bit of trial and error it becomes really easy, because beer is cheap and they like to laugh: the number of times they've cracked up at just a facial expression or a non-laugh line has surprised me, and you can never predict or repeat it.

And really, this is not exactly a public forum, nobody cares that much, and the same risk for having material exists when you perform it, which should be constantly. If some guy steals my bit in an open mic 1500 miles away from me, no matter how well it lands, he's not going to get a sitcom off it. Plus I got timestamps if it should ever come to that, which it never will, ever.

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Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

I'm Un-Saveable! Do you understand?! I can't be saved, I have sex in my butt.


Pastamania posted:



Literally, the most impressive thing a comedian can do in their eyes is hold a basic 30 second conversation. The reason isn't that its 'funny material', but because most people are loving terrified that you'll try and talk to them, and so when you do it introduces a tension to the room that makes the most mundane bullshit seem like comedy gold.




The other reason this is impressive to audiences is because most people can't even fathom going on stage under lights with a microphone and telling jokes that they've memorized. The idea that someone could get up on stage and just riff on something an audience member said or have a genuinely funny conversation with someone you literally just met (and not even that if you didn't ask their name) is akin to magic to those people.

Pastamania posted:



I'd argue that your 'drunken rednecks' are the perfect feedback. Learn to handle them without compromising your own material, and you're set for every audience on the planet.


This. And also a room full of silent "don't give a fucks". Those are your best "training" audiences, so to speak.

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