Posts tagged 'Honing your craft' (9)

The need to commit to the craft of stand up

I think what's unique about stand up comedy is the overall commitment that you have to make to it, meaning you can't not do it for 6 months and then pick it up and expect to pick up where you left off. It's an ongoing preparation. That being said, the longer you do standup comedy, I believe the better you get at it. Obviously, stand up comedy is point of view driven, and having done it for 25 years I believe that I'm getting better at it. Also, finding newer ways to articulate my point of view.


There are subjects that I hope to figure out how to talk about. You know, different topics take time for me to figure out an angle into it. Whether it be something really dark, like on my last special I had a bunch of jokes about cancer, obviously not about someone having cancer, but about the shared human experience that we all have, it's touched everyone's life. So figuring out a way for some of these dark heavy topics to bring about humor and light surrounding them, if that makes sense? Because I certainly don't want my comedy to make anyone feel bad but I also do enjoy the challenge of making something humorous. Like being able to do a joke that is about religion that an atheists and an ...
I was slightly observational at first, going back to my early, early open mics. I was just writing any joke, because I wanted to be a real comedian. But my personality was always there and some of my material naturally became about me — about looking Jewish or hairy or whatever — and people liked that. Your voice and your persona will come out of that, the more you're comfortable with it. So when I tried to fit myself into a Seinfeld mold and I didn't get the laughs, that brought me out. And then comedians said, "Keep doing that." And then it was all about honing it and writing jokes for it. But if you ask me, honestly, I wish I could just go up and do jokes. Boom boom boom bing bing and I'm...
I always record my sets at least on audio. A joke really evolves the more you do it which is why doing the road is so important. You need those reps to make something polished and perfect.
i think i have way more patience now and can be funnier. as you get older you get more self esteem so you can get to the joke in a more graceful, artful way without rushing to the punchline in a desperate need for validation :) oh and I've accumulated way more mistakes to talk about which is always good. and I'm more humble now so can make fun of myself more because i now can tell how much of an idiot i am being :)
It’s just a series of steps that take place haphazardly. The file cabinet contains most of the things that are sort of in waiting, ready to be transformed into a usable language, you know? That’s the holding pen. The observations keep coming and the comparisons that the observations represent that are, you know you have a world view and it’s like your matrix and so, when you see things happen, you’re comparing those things to what you already know and how you already feel. That produces your impression. So those are things I write down, those impressions that I get from the world. So, some of them are in half form states, some of them are just ideas, just highlight, the key words, patterns, ...
I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of getting out of my comfort zone. I think that’s what you should do. I understand the temptation if you’re an alternative comic to just do alternative rooms. Or if you were a club comic to just do club rooms. Or if you’re a white comic just to do white rooms. It’s because bombing is so humiliating that you want to avoid it. But humiliation is where the growth is. This is also like why I enjoy drinking and I don’t like pot. I feel like with drinking you have to earn it. You gotta get those drinks down.
When I started out, I was doing more conceptual bits that were just kind of silly. And then gradually, I expanded my premises. Everyone when you start out, for the most part, your material is very brief. You don’t trust that you can stay on stage for that long and get laughs. You don’t want to overstay your welcome. So you tend not to flesh out your premises that much. As you get more confident and more relaxed, you’re able to give a premise the treatment that it deserves and really explore your ideas. That’s what happened with me—I gradually expanded, and my comedy slowly became more about me and less about high concepts.