There are loads of existing comedians who will want to kill your dream before you have even stepped up on stage. I mean it’s not their intention. But a smug ‘so just because your friends find you funny doesn’t mean you will be on stage’ will pop out of their mouths as they talk about the new comics who just bombed in front of them . This and in other ways, our experienced stand up comics will make you as worried as the people working on Elon Musk’s next product launch.
Comics can’t help it. We need to feel important. So expect a lot of advice. And then watch some of those same comics bomb on stage. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
Basically, don’t listen to anyone. Except me. I know other comedians will tell you the same thing but they are idiots who think just because their friends found them funny that they’ll be funny as stand up comedians also. Want to try stand up comedy? Here’s all you need:
1. Get comfortable using a mic
It’s not the size of your mic or speakers that matter. It’s how you use it. OK I lie. I’ve gigged at places where the speakers and mic were shit and it made it impossible to perform. But assuming the venue has managed to get this right, it’s now on you.
You see, if they can’t hear you clearly, then they are not going to connect. The only thing that puts people off more than a video with bad sound quality is a politician’s false promises. I’m just kidding. We still end up voting for them. In short, don’t be that video.
So here’s what you need to do. Grab anything that looks like a mic. I mean a hairbrush or bottle of water. Practice talking while making sure your makeshift mic always hovers near your mouth. It’s that simple but it still needs getting used to so you don’t mess it up on stage. Make it as second natured as driving your car and running over someone and hiding their body in the trunk till you get time to bury it in a forest.
2. Promise you’ll do it at least 10 times
That’s what she said. And then you suppressed a smile and said yes anyway. But this is for your own good. Unless you’re lucky, extra talented, or clueless, you’ll find there will be more bad gigs then good one right off the bat. So promise yourself to give it a go a few times before you decide if this is for you or not.
It’s kind of like the dating game. You go on lots of dates and can’t seem to impress anyone initially. Then you realize that maybe you have to do a few small adjustments like sort your body odor, ability to hold a conversation, looks, finances, the friends you hang out with, the neighborhood you live in, the beliefs you’ve held on to since childhood, and of course get over the childhood traumas you faced. And before you know it, you find a partner who loves you for who you are.
So, just tell yourself I’ll get on stage ten times at least. At THE VERY least. If you pay attention and have some honest introspection, you’ll find you don’t need tips from anyone except Salman Qureshi on how to be good at stand up comedy.
3. Video yourself
Most of us actually are bad at being honest with ourselves. So record it and watch it later. You’ll cringe. You’ll see when people laughed and when you looked like a complete idiot. It’s fun. As fun as watching paint dry on the secret door you’ve created that opens up to a funky room containing lots of gadgets that you will use to save the world.
I lie, it’s not that fun. It’s very painful. Watch and learn.
4. Talk to people, be yourself and have fun
You’ll develop your own style and better material with experience. In the meantime, just chill out at these gigs. Continue to be the person making both old friends and your new comic friends laugh off stage.
You’re in the world of comedy right now. Forget becoming a celeb comic and being recognized. Forget being deep and coming across as smart. If you’re not laughing and having fun with it then why the hell are you doing it?
And finally, let me leave you with this final piece of advice, because saying it like that makes it sound like it’ll be more important and I’m very benevolent for taking the time to give you one more. Here you go:
5. Don’t forget to find another way to make money.