My Comedy Mindset

I try to approach every time on stage as a learning experience and a step towards improving as a comedian. 

I have two metaphors that I try to keep in mind, especially after a bad show. I thought I’d share them as maybe they’ll help someone else get through a tough patch in comedy or any other passion (or job) they have:

  1. Every performance is a brick in the wall of what will eventually become an amazing castle.
  2. I’m in the middle of a dense forest and can’t see around me. I have an axe, and instead of worrying about my situation, I need to just put my head down, get to work, and keep chopping. If I chop for long enough, I’ll get out of the woods. (I’m a huge Rutgers Football fan and I borrowed this metaphor from Coach Schiano.)

As much as I want to kill it at every show, this isn’t realistically possible at this stage of my career (although that’s still my goal every time). Therefore I view each show as a step towards the next one. One bad show won’t make or break my career  — although some shows are much more important than others in this respect. 

Have additional questions on this or other topics? Click here to learn about my mentoring services.

Other Comedy Tips:

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9 Tips for Your First Stand Up Comedy Performance

You love comedy. You watch all the great (and some not so great) comics and lots of comedy tv shows. You’ve probably written a few jokes and you’ve toyed with the idea of performing. Here are some tips to motivate yourself to get on stage and what to do when you’re there.

  1. Get on stage as soon as humanely possible. You don’t want to over think it, start making excuses and end up never getting on stage.
  2. Don’t get on stage without first running the jokes by your friends and seeing if they laugh. If your friends don’t laugh at any of your material, you either have terrible friends or terrible jokes. You decide.
  3. Keep a note card in your pocket. No matter how much you practice, your mind can go blank the first time. My mind would go blank at least once a set my first ten or twelve times on stage.
  4. Slow down. You’ll almost certainly be nervous and start to rush through your punch lines if there isn’t instantaneous laughter. It takes a long time to get comfortable with silence, but for now, just talk slower. Think you’re talking too slow? Slow down more anyway.
  5. Videotape it. Or if you can’t afford a camera (most still digital cameras have a video mode), get a $20 voice recorder or download VoiceNotes for your iPhone (if you have one).
  6. When you see a light, that means you have one minute to wrap it up. Don’t run your time. Chances are you’re not gonna be that funny your first. You don’t want to piss off the host and club manager as well.
  7. Don’t stop until you finish all your jokes or time runs out, no matter how quiet the crowd is and how much you feel like dying. Embrace the feeling of wanting to kill yourself, if you get hooked on this stuff, you’ll feel it many more times, even when you start getting paid to perform.
  8. Being nervous is normal. You’re stepping outside your comfort zone so you may feel some nerves or adrenaline before hand. That’s fine and natural. Know you’ll be fine once you’re up there and talking. If you’re up there and feel nervous for more than the first minute, you can say it aloud, the truth of the situation will probably get a laugh.
  9. Try to have fun. You’re not gonna get a half hour special or a sitcom deal from your first time ever on stage (this isn’t the 80’s!). So just try to enjoy it as much as you can.

Have additional questions on this or other topics? Click here to learn about my mentoring services.

Other Comedy Tips:

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