The Way To Be A Comedian

The Way To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

One of 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 years, so I have heard this a lot! In the bigger, sense, getting a comedian is genuinely a three-pronged endeavor.

Write your material

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

Get work.

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

Comedy isn't just an art. It's also a business enterprise and also a skill-based science. But most comic books --both professional and newcomer -- equate comedy with frivolity and they treat their careers frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it requires more work to go out and find the gigs. Show company is two phrases; there is the"show" and there is the"company" and it may surprise you to understand that much of the moment, you have to put more effort into the company than the show. The fantastic news is, if you do it right, you are having such a blast that you don't really work daily in your life!

Sound like fun? Let us proceed!

Let us start with developing and writing material. There are a great deal of folks out there that think that you can not learn comedy, which you are either born with it or you are not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people that don't have a clue about the science supporting laughter or the structure supporting it. If you really Consider 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 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 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 in a young age, or they were raised in a household that was filled with humor. All the comedians I understand that make me laugh had exposure to funny people at a young age and started adapting comedic behaviours. Those behaviours obtained them attention. They started to comprehend the patterns of behaviour and language that resulted in laughter and applied them to other situations with good outcomes.

The crucial word from the above paragraph is"patterns." There are certain patterns which professionals use again and again, to get laughs and it's normally a pattern that creates surprise. According to psychologists who study comedy, within this circumstance, surprise is the number one component that activates human laughter, If you can surprise someone with what you will say, they will usually laugh. One of the simplest ways to do so is to apply one of the 12 big comedy formulas I found over the years of studying the greatest comedians. Heck, you do not even have to study the greats to comprehend this formula. If you have a friend (I think we all do), who turns all you say into a sexual connotation, than he/she is probably applying this formula. It's known as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two meanings" You basically take a frequent term and spin the intended meaning to mean something totally different, but it could actually fit in the statement, but its exaggerated...

Another day I was in the supermarket. The clerk said,"Can you find what you were looking for?" I said,"I found that the wine and the candles, but I could not find a soul mate... You had Mahi-Mahi, but I am not into twins."

In the aforementioned joke, when the clerk employed the phrase"everything," she meant everything at the store. As a comedian the term everything may be a great deal of things. In this case 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 the phrase still fits within the context of this 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 having a terrible year. At the media conference a journalist said to the coach,"Coach, how to you feel about the implementation of this offense?" McKay replied,"I'm all for this."

You can see there that the word run was used in two distinct ways. This structure should be a regular tool for anybody who's learning how to write comedy. Among the ways that I refine this capability and also make it more available to my everyday life is by way of practice. After a month I do a word exercise that reminds me that our speech has a slew of words which have multiple meanings. Maintaining this refined in my brain, gives me a tool that's always sharp and available. This allows me to re-interpret something somebody says and employ a comedic spin on the term. The exercise is simple, yet extremely strong. For the practice, I take fifteen arbitrary, but rather common words and write them down. I then find at least five distinct meanings for every word. Working this exercise consistently will provide you an amazing leg up on your quickness and finesse as a comedian. It's simple, yet extremely strong. Notably because few comedians actually do it. This is but one of twelve big comedy structures employed by all the best comedians and comedy writers. If I had been to include all of them in this guide, it would take you a week to complete studying. It is a simple, yet powerful illustration of ways to control the English language and make surprise and trigger laughter from an audience.

FACT: Every comedian who makes you laugh uses at least one comedy structure. It's the arrangement of the the act-out that activates the laughter. With no arrangement, there is no laughter. .

Even once you've got all twelve comedy structures , (most comics work with 3-4), and you develop an act of five or more minutes, to start, thirty minutes to start getting paid, you need to begin to operate and hone it in front of an audience. I would start with buddies. Run the content by them, see what they believe, see if you're able to make it better by tweaking the surprise. Once you feel comfortable you can perform the five minutes without thinking about it, then do it in front of an audience. How can you do this? Well, if you are in a larger city, there are probably plenty of open mics. These are places where you are able to do 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in front of an audience. This is the way I began. If you do not have the benefit of being in a large town, then you might have a comedy series that performs once a week or two once a month in your town at a local bar or restaurant. If that is the case, have a trip down there and ask whether you are able to M.C. the show. Most bars that have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not have an M.C.. Therefore, if you show up and ask, they will probably be more than pleased to have you do it. When you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape it. Once you have a video tape that's of good quality, you've got a calling card to find other work. So today you still have to function the'business' side of the best way to be a comedian equation. When you have an action that's creating a laugh each 18-20 seconds, and has a good beginning, middle and end, it is time to get out there. What most beginning comedians don't realize is that if you hit this level, (can take 6 months, or 2 years), it is time to get serious about treating your stand up comedy like a small business. You are presently a product (or service), and you want to sell. Now in your career, you won't have a manager or an agent. If you are lucky enough to have the cash, you can employ a Public Relations supervisor (approximately $3500 a month). They can help you get out press releases, spots on the radio or tv. But you have to have a gig to advertise first. However, the majority of us do not have that option once we're starting out so let's leave that alone. So you've got a 30 minute action that you have been developing at open mics and other events like meetings, parties, etc.. How can you get it to the road? Now you could be looking at several chances on your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and one-niter market

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I do both clubs and corporates in my career, but now I mainly target corporate simply because there's more money in it for me. There is also the college comedy marketplace, cruise ship market, resort and casino marketplace, warm up comedian market (for live sit-com, sport and talk show audiences), and military 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 remainder of my life doing army displays. We could spend a lot of time going through all the possibilities, but that may take days. The key thing to keep in mind is that if you're able to write and develop a comedy routine that's clean and good, you can work indefinitely. Once you have this information, it is time to target your niche, do your research and get started selling. That's right. Start selling. You're your own company at the moment and you provide a service. If you learn to treat yourself as a business by drawing up a business plan, setting goals and following through, you will begin to do the job. When you start in comedy there are 3 places available. They are each expected to do for various periods of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

Feature or Middle (sometimes called"premiere") (30 minutes)

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

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

If you would like to target the club marketplace, you should also target the one-nighter market.This way you have more booking options available to you when booking moves. How do you target? Start small; start neighborhood. If you have comedy in your area, speak to the clubs, visit the clubs, ask the managers, door people, M.C.'s what the protocol is for getting in the door and auditioning or performing a guest collection. Be considerate and be persistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days a week for several months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) let him perform a set. He had been prepared. He did a fantastic job. The rest is now history. When you get your chance, be well prepared and do a well-crafted 5-10 minute set. Later, talk to folks, see what it takes to return to do another group. As soon as you mingle with people and develop relationships and a reputation for being a solid behave, today you've got all you have to find 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 a headliners. It is a fantastic idea to build relationships with as many comedians as possible. Be wonderful to everybody, always act professionally. It is these relationships which can make or break your chances for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls per day to your career.

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

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

If you do eventually get a booker on your phone. Be considerate and ask them if you may send them a movie and if they would rather find the movie on the internet or on DVD or 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 own 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 ask them,

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

For the roughest bookers in the nation, it has always functioned. But how can you afford that? Why your building your own contacts and one-niter gigs, you make certain you book something around the region of the club you so covet. When you have this date set up and booked, call the club and see whether it is possible to fall in and perform an audition collection. Put in this extra step and you will most likely get a guest collection.

As soon as you perform your guest set, send them a thank you card (and or some thing with your image 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 haven't spoken to the target individual, then follow up every 3 times.

Calvin Coolidge said,"persistence and consistency trump talent daily." So be consistent and persistent. Be considerate and keep up. And when calling doesn't work. Pay them a visit. Let them know you're persistent.

When you start putting dates collectively. Utilize every opportunity to video tape. Try to get great audio quality, if possible. A great tape leads to more work.

If you follow these steps:

Write your comedy content

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

Get work.

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

Current in France, London and the United States, the Avis Acting International theatre and cinema school has been contributing to the development of the world's best actors for over 30 decades. The educational idea of Acting International, unique in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of international methods as well as the foundations necessary for studying in direct contact with all the requirements of today's profession. This educational process is constantly redefined throughout the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and proven methods of a team of renowned masters - French, Russian, American, English and Italian - all busy artists.

The college offers multidisciplinary theater and theatre courses that span an interval of three years. Two courses are accessible to students who can choose between theatre and cinema courses (full course) or cinema specialization. Additionally, advanced workshops are stored in Hollywood, New York and London.