Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Stand Up Comedy - Your First Time on Stage

You think you're a funny guy or girl and you've gathered enough courage to perform on New Talent Night at a local comedy club. How should you prepare to face a room full of strangers and make them laugh?

First, you need your arsenal of funny material. Take time during the day to sit down and write a joke with a simple joke structure. The simplest and most basic form of joke writing is "set up and punchline". "Setting up a joke" is providing basic information about an experience or topic. It establishes a place, a feeling and a presence. The punchline element produces the surprise and the unexpected ending. A genuine surprise elicits laughter from an audience which proves your joke is effective.

Memorize your jokes and rehearse them either mentally or verbally. Create a visual picture in your head of the subject matter and your first jokes will be more easily committed to memory. Continue rehearsing your jokes daily until they can be recited out loud and with confidence. Achieving a relaxed conversational tone will demonstrate command of the stage and put an audience at ease.

Many new comedians assume they can stand on stage and be an "off-the-cuff" guy or girl. This can be a dangerous assumption. The first time on stage can be intimidating and it is very possible that increased nervousness will steal your mental reflexes and response time. You will be facing lights and strange faces as the audience stares at you, and you alone. Most likely, you will feel robbed of your humorous creativity as you know it. Having a solidly memorized "set" of material will give you a performance safety net on stage. It is better that improvising skills are utilized once an audience is engaged and laughing.

The first time on stage triggers the primal fear of facing a roomful of unfamiliar faces. You are taking on a very formidable challenge when standing on the comedy stage. Don't be too hard on yourself. Congratulations on conquering a fear that is only second to death. It does get better and more fun as you feel more comfortable on stage and as you get to know your "character". Performing on a weekly or nightly basis will make the joke writing easier and the performances will appear more natural. Taking those first few steps on the comedy stage are giant leaps in terms of personal goals and a lifetime of effort and enjoyment.

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