From a comedian’s perspective there is one great thing about all tragedies. It becomes fodder for jokes. Probably because we need to laugh to release all the stress and built up pain. So comedy will always be around. I don’t know what shape it might take. What will happen to comedy clubs if our current crisis continues? I got no answers folks. But in case you want to learn to see the funny, find the funny, and tell the funny then what better time then now. Up your comedy game with the resources I will list here.
You can also read ‘Before you become a comedian, do these 5 things first’
Quick note – these are books I read very early in my comedy career. Maybe some of it might be dated. A lot of it I might not follow anymore as my own style has developed. But at the beginning all of these books gave me some real insights and helped me understand this wonderful art. So here goes, something to spend your free time on!
Stand Up Comedy: The Book – Judy Carter
The most popular book on performing stand up comedy has been around since 1989 with revisions and even a follow up book. What I like about it is that this one is a fun and breezy read. It breaks down writing and performing stand up comedy into easy to follow steps and exercises. Judy covers everything from gathering material to developing it into material that works on stage in front of a room full of strangers along with stage techniques.
And while there are other similar books out there teaching almost the same kind of steps etc, this one is just full of good examples and would probably benefit anyone trying to come up with good content in general.
Get started here with your stand up comedy journey :
Comedy Writing Secrets – Mel Helitzer & Mark Shatz
A more wider coverage of comedy than just stand up comedy – this book also talks about writing for sitcoms, editorials, columns, speeches, advertising, greeting cards, t-shirts, and more!
This book is well written and a fun read. It covers some great theory without sounding like a boring lecture (who knows what really makes us laugh anyway?). The book is full of great ways of brainstorming to humor writing exercises. You can read this book as a quick read to grasp some quick comedy techniques or you can use it to really hone and develop your writing. Either way – fantastic book!
Tap into your comedic genius here
I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons – Kevin Hart
Don’t be fooled. This may look and sound like an autobiography but it’s also a great insight into the world of comedy as well as developing into a comedian. Kevin talks about his personal experiences which any new comedian SHOULD learn from. He talks in depth about how he worked the clubs and got on the road. There is mention of how he changed his style and eventually created material that made him the star that he is today.
I enjoyed his audio book version as well on audible – specially because he reads it! But if you’re going to go down the reading route, here you go:
There you go people. I promise you need nothing more than these books to get started. After that, it’s finding ways to put up performances – on paper, on stage, or on video. Personally my one mantra has always been ‘get up there and have fun’ because everything else will fall into place. Good luck!
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