Stand-up comedy is an art. Yes, it’s an art to get people to laugh at your jokes. You have to have a certain demeanor and stage presence coupled with a killer delivery to get an audience to laugh all at once. Just ask someone like Damon Wayans Jr.
Stage presence and delivery isn’t all you need, though. Let’s dive into five tips for doing stand-up comedy.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Just as in any profession, practice could mean everything to a comedian. Practicing in front of a mirror is always a good idea to get the timing and delivery of a joke or story down, but you should also think about practicing in front of a small group of family or friends to see how it goes. Sometimes, those small, intimate settings could be even harder to knock the audience dead. If you succeed there, then you should have no problem on a stage in front of a larger audience.
2. Write. Then Write Some More
Similar to a songwriter or musician, you need to have a joke book. A secondary tip to this would be to ensure that you carry it everywhere!
You never know when the creative juices are going to come over you and you think of your next great joke. That’s what the notebook is for, so you can write down your thoughts as they come to you. All great comedians have a joke book. It’s where most of their performance stems from, and yours will too!
3. Be Yourself
This seems like a pretty simple tip, but this rule goes for all walks of life. Can you really be a great comedian if you aren’t naturally funny?
Chances are you are a comedian or pursuing the career path because you are funny and you love making people laugh. That is what will make being a comedian so great and not make you feel like you are working a day in your life.
When you get up to perform, don’t try to overdo it. Don’t try to be overly funny or you may screw up your joke. Be yourself and give the audience what they want, the authentic you.
4. Move Around and Use Gestures
When you take the stage, make sure you establish a presence. If you stand in one spot with a microphone and just spat out jokes, it’s going to be hard for the audience to engage. I’ve seen many stand-up shows, and the best ones are when the comedian is roaming the stage and performing gestures similar to that of the game charades, except you have the power to also speak.
Stage presence is everything when it comes to comedy. It’s typically just you up there alone. There is no 5 piece band behind you to back you up like musicians have. You control your own faith here, so dominate that stage!
5. Gig at Least Once a Week
Remember the tip about practice? What better practice is there than performing live in front of an audience. If you have dreams of making it big one day, start taking as many gigs as you can. Dive bars are a great place to get started.
If you start crushing the small shows, word is going to spread about your performances, and you should be on your way to bigger and better things.