Time: 10-20 hrs
Holy Shit that Was Terrifying
Typically public speaking doesn’t phase me at all. I can go up in front of 500 people in suits and open a banana, but for some reason telling a few jokes to a group of 100 or so people made me want to walk past the stage and into some oncoming traffic.
Maybe its a vulnerability thing, maybe its a challenge to your true level of “funnyness” thing. Maybe its a potential of hecklers or total social rejection thing…. either way, that shit was scary…but sooooooooo worth it. The high you get from convincing a bunch of people your funny on stage is pretty hard to beat, and I will definitely be pursuing that again.
How to Start
1. Find a Local Comedian and Ask for Help
Though this is not a necessary step, it going to save you incredible amounts of time and energy. It will also be a great way for you to filter through your jokes and find out which ones are good, which ones need work, which ones suck, and which ones are gonna get you punched in the face. All are equally important. How do you find a comedian you say? Go to an open mic, find someone you identify with and buy them a beer. Comedians like beer.
2. a) Find an Open Mic in your City, and Signup
b) Invite All Your Friends
What!? Signup for an open mic before I even have any jokes written?! Are you crazy!? Yes, yes I am, that aside… that is exactly what you wanna do. That and invite all of your friends. This is for two reasons:
- Inviting all your friends out to any sort of event is going to be a strong social motivator for you to go out and actually start taking action. Very few things are more motivating than expectations. Social Accountability=Getting Shit Done.
- Having a deadline set up, whether its a week away or a month away, is going to give you a tangible date to work towards. This changes the statement “I’m going to try standup sometime this year” to “I’m doing standup next week”. That shit is magical.
3. Start Writing Down EVERYTHING you Find Funny
This may seem obvious, but its extremely important. You first need to write jokes that are funny to you. Then, when they’re super incredibly funny to you… rewrite them 15 times until they’re funny to other people as well. Here’s a checklist you can follow to make sure you have a joke, and not just a pile of vaguely funny phrases.
- Does it have a setup? (creating context for the joke)
- Does it have a punchline? (the area where the joke takes a turn or is concluded)
- How are the setup and punchline correlated?
- Is there an exaggeration? And is it realistic?
- What are you saying?
- What are you trying to say?
4. Subscribe to This Subreddit
R/standup is an amazing subreddit for individuals anywhere from trying comedy for their first time to individuals who have been doing it for 40 years. Its a place to ask questions, get feedback or just talk about comedy. If you want to get some great information from comedians in similar situations to you, check this out.
Find a quite room with no-one around and go hard. And when I say go hard… I mean go hard. Some of the best stuff from that night came up while I was rehearsing. Jokes always sound different on paper than in your head, and often times while you’re rehearsing stuff can come out that is funnier than everything else you’ve been writing down for the past week and a half.
6. Repeat, as much as you possibly can.
What Did I Learn?
That I am not nearly as funny as I thought I was. Even though the comedy night went really well, I went into this skill thinking it was going to be a few hours of writing, a few hours of rehearsing and BOOM I’m a Comedian. Nope. I wrote and rewrote those friggin jokes probably 15 times, rehearsed for way too many hours, and spent way too much time and energy stressing out about that night. But through that hard work and practice, I had a great night and another awesome experience to check off the bucket list.
I also learned that way to many of my jokes are about masturbating….weird.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll talk next week 🙂