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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tips for Comedians #2

Tip 2: You need a snowball.

If you've ever tuned in to a comedian halfway through their set you might wonder why everyone is laughing. I felt this while watching a DVD of Robin Williams. I was bored but the audience was in love with him. People are in hysterics because comedians are the sum of all the jokes they have told. We're more willing to laugh at a weak joke in The Simpsons than a weak joke from an amateur. Because one has established itself as a reliable source of funny. I've experienced at this venues that I play at frequently. I can feel that people are laughing because of my reputation. They allow themselves to laugh at my weaker material because they can remember a time when I made them laugh hard.

Establish yourself as a reliable source of funny. I'm a big believer in putting the material that I believe will get a great response near the beginning of my set. When we think of a reputation we think of something established over several years. As a comedian you have to establish your reputation each performance. Whether you're playing a show to strangers or family members -immediately strive for a funny reputation. That way, you win people over and have them laughing at later, mildly funny, jokes. It's a snowball effect. You need to unlock the audience's desire to giggle. They need to trust you -the only reason to trust a comedian is laughter.

I don't strive to put "mildly funny" material in my set. But I can predict that some jokes will cause a huge belly laugh while others will inspire a smirk. Usually I put my second favourite piece near the beginning and I save my favourite piece for about 80% of the way through my set (where a more traditional climax will be).

1 comment:

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

That's for sure true. I've noticed this with bloggers, too. If a blogger is consistently strong, she can have a weak start to a post and I'll keep reading, because I know it's going somewhere. But if I'm reading a blog for the first time, or if I'm often bored by a blogger, I usually won't make it past the first paragraph if it doesn't grab me.