The Way To Be A Comedian

The Way To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

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

Compose your material

Hone and create your comedy material (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 really employ it and go out and do it.

Comedy isn't just an art. It's also a business and also a science. But most comics--both professional 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 really go out and find the gigs. Show company is two words; there's the"show" and there's the"company" and it may surprise you to understand that much of the moment, you need to put more effort into the company than the show. The fantastic news is, if you get it done right, you're having such a blast that you don't actually work daily in your life!

Sound like fun? Let's proceed!

Let us start with writing and developing material. There are a great deal of people out there that think that you can't learn comedy, which you're either born with it or you're not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people who 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 uterus:

"two individuals were making love. . .then boom! Out pops me! Is this thing on?" You call a birth ? It is similar to trying to push an egg via a stir stick! Hey Mom? (spit, spit), you need to shave that stuff! Haven't you heard of a'Brazilian?'"

It just doesn't happen! Granted, there are a number of people that seem to naturally have a sense of humor built in. They appear to receive 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 filled with humor. Each of the comedians I understand which make me laugh had exposure to amusing people in a young age and started adapting comedic behaviors. Those behaviours got them attention. They started to recognize the patterns of behaviour and speech which resulted in bliss and applied them to other scenarios with great results.

The crucial word from the above paragraph is"patterns" There are certain patterns that professionals use time and time again, to get laughs and it is normally a pattern that creates surprise. According to psychologists who study comedy, in this context, surprise is the number one element that activates human bliss, If you can surprise somebody with what you will say, they will generally laugh. Among the simplest ways to do this is to employ one of the 12 big comedy formulas that I discovered over the decades of studying the greatest comedians. But you do not even have to examine the greats to recognize this formulation. In case you have a friend (I believe most of us do), that turns all you say to a sexual connotation, than he/she is probably applying this formula. It's 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...

Another day I was at the grocery store. The clerk said,"Did you find what you were looking for?" I said,"Well, I discovered that the wine as well as the candles, but I could not find a soul mate... You'd Mahi-Mahi, but I'm not into twins"

In the aforementioned joke, once the clerk used the word"everything," she meant everything at the store. As a comedian the word that which may be a lot of things. In this situation I went with a'soul mate.' What makes the joke work isn't just 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. In case it didn't make sense, then there would not be a joke.

Let us look at another Double-Entendre play on words: Former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was with a terrible season. At the press conference a journalist said to the trainer,"Coach, how to you feel about the execution of the crime?" McKay replied,"I am all for this."

You can see there that the term run was utilized in two distinct manners. This structure should be a normal tool for anybody who is learning how to write comedy. One of those ways that I refine this ability and also make it more available to my everyday life is through practice. After a month I do a term exercise that reminds me that our speech has a ton of words which have multiple meanings. Maintaining this elegant in my brain, gives me a tool that is always sharp and available. This permits me to re-interpret something somebody says and apply a comedic twist on the word. The practice is simple, yet extremely strong. For your exercise, I take fifteen random, but rather common phrases and write them down. I then find at least five different meanings for each word. Working this workout consistently will provide you an amazing leg up in your own quickness and finesse for a comedian. It is easy, yet extremely powerful. Notably because few comedians really do it. This is only one of twelve major comedy structures used by all the best comedians and comedy writers. If I had been to include them all 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 create surprise and activate laughter from an audience.

FACT: Each comedian who makes you laugh uses a minumum of one comedy structure. It's the arrangement of the words or the act-out that triggers the laughter. With no arrangement, there is not any laughter. .

Even when you have all twelve comedy structures down, (most comics operate with 3-4), and you also build an act of at least five minutes, to start, thirty minutes to begin getting paid, you have to begin to work and hone it in front of an audience. I would start using buddies. Run the material by themsee what they think, see if you can make it better by tweaking the shock. Once you feel comfortable you can do the five minutes without thinking about it, then 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 can do 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in front of an audience. This is how I began. If you don't have the benefit of being in a big town, then you may have a comedy series that plays once a week or two once a month on your town at a local pub or restaurant. If that is the case, have a trip down there and ask whether you can M.C. the series. Most pubs that have'one-niter' comedy shows, don't possess an M.C.. So if you appear and ask, they will probably be more than pleased to have you take action. If you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape it. When you have a video tape that's of good quality, you've got a calling card to find other work. So today you still need to work the'business' aspect of the best way to become a comedian equation. Whenever you have an action that is generating a laugh every 18-20 seconds, and has a good beginning, middle and end, it is time to get out there. What most start comedians do not see is that if you hit this level, (may take 6 months( or two years), it's time to get serious about treating your stand up comedy like a business. You're presently a product (or service), and you need to sell. Now in your career, you won't have a supervisor or a broker. If you are fortunate enough to have the money, you can employ a Public Relations manager (around $3500 per month). They can help you get out press releases, spots on the radio or tv. But you must get a gig to advertise first. But most of us don't have that choice once we're starting out so let us leave that alone. So you've got a 30 minute action that you've been developing at open mics and other events such as meetings, parties, etc.. How do you get it to the street? Now you could be looking at a number of chances on your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and also one-niter Sector

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I really do both nightclubs and corporates in my career, but today I mainly target corporate only because there's more money in it for me personally. There's in addition the school comedy marketplace, cruise ship market, resort and casino market, warm up comedian market (for live sit-com, game and talk show audiences), and military shows. Military shows can be big. I had been working with a liaison for the military who said he would have me working for the remainder of my life doing military displays. We could devote a lot of time going through all the possibilities, but this may take days. The important thing to remember is that if you can compose and create a comedy routine that's good and clean, it is possible to work indefinitely. Once you have this info, it is time to target your market, do your homework and get started selling. That is right. Start selling. You're 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 begin in comedy there are 3 places available. They are each expected to perform for various periods of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

Characteristic or Mid (sometimes called"premiere") (30 minutes)

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

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

If you want to aim the club marketplace, it's also wise to target the one-nighter market.This way you have more booking options available to you when scheduling moves. How do you aim? Start small; begin neighborhood. If you have comedy locally, speak to the clubs, visit the clubs, then ask the supervisors, door people, M.C.'s what the protocol is for getting at the door and auditioning or doing a guest collection. Be considerate and be consistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days a week for several months prior to Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) allow him perform a set. He was ready. He did a great job. The rest is now history. When you get your chance, be prepared and do a well-crafted 5-10 minute collection. Later, talk to folks, see what it takes to get back to perform another set. As soon as you mingle with people and develop relationships and a reputation for being a solid act, today you have all you have to find work. A good deal of comedy talent bookers on the road need to see movie. Some will take a chance on you if you have references from some headliners. It is a fantastic idea to build relationships with as many comedians as you can. Be nice to everyone, always act appropriately. It's these relationships which can make or break your chances for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls per day to your livelihood.

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

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

If you do eventually get a booker on the telephone. Be considerate and ask them if you may send them a movie and if they would rather see the video on the internet or on DVD or even E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). Believe it or not, there are nonetheless a few bookers out there who would prefer to hold a DVD in their hand.

Some 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 inquire,

"I really need to meet you and play your room. If I can fly out there in a couple of weeks or so, do you think you could find room on the line up for a guest set?"

For the roughest bookers in the country, it has always functioned. But how can you manage that? Why your building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make certain you book something in or around the region of the club you so covet. When you have this date set up and booked, call the club and see if you can fall in and do an audition collection. Place in this extra step and you'll most likely get a guest set.

As soon as 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 till you get a spot. Never follow up more than once weekly, if you don't still have not spoken to this target individual, then follow up every 3 days.

Calvin Coolidge said,"persistence and consistency trump talent any day." So be consistent and persistent. Be polite and keep 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. Attempt to get great audio quality, if possible. A great tape leads to additional work.

If you follow those steps:

Write your comedy material

Hone and create your substance (your own"set")

Get work.

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

Present in France, London and the USA, the Avis Acting International theatre and cinema college has been contributing to the development of the planet's best actors for more than 30 decades. The educational idea of Acting International, unique in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of global techniques as well as the bases necessary for learning in direct contact with the requirements of today's livelihood. This educational process is constantly redefined through the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and proven procedures of a group of renowned masters - French, French, American, English and Italian - all busy artists.

The college offers multidisciplinary theater and theatre courses that span an interval of 3 decades. Two courses are available to students who will choose between theatre and cinema classes (full course) or cinema specialization. In addition, advanced workshops are stored in Hollywood, New York and London.
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