Sitting on top of these three pillars is Remarkableness. Being remarkable is all about being “worth talking about.” When you’re effective, unique, and authentic… you’ll be worth talking about. Nothing makes your performance more powerful than having all three pillars in place.
But if one of these pillars crumbles, your remarkableness crumbles with it. If you’re unique and you’re able to come out like a real person instead of a robot, but you can’t get an audience laughing, nobody’s going to be talking about you at the end of the show. If you’re effective and authentic but you’re blending in with every other comedian on a show, nobody’s going to talk about you.
Most new comedians only focus on effectiveness, which is why they are rarely worth talking about. Other comedians are able to capture a little authenticity, as well. But few comedians really take the time to tap their uniqueness and inject a lot of personality into performances. When you’re unique, you get noticed. When you get noticed and you’re effective, you get remembered. When you connect with the audience on a deeper level, you become the type of comedian than can drive audiences wild… and you become remarkable.
How No-Name Comedians Created A Fan-Base
This is how no-name comedians create a following. They don’t gain fans one-by-one. They become remarkable, and their fan base grows exponentially as a result.
The strategy of these remarkable comedians is so simple and so effective that it’s amazing how few comedians actually use it. Remarkable comedians drive one type of audience member wild. They over-serve this specific audience so much that those one or two audience members tell their friends (friends generally have the same sense of humor). The next time, those people bring several friends. Now, instead of having one or two audience members who are perfect for their senses of humor, they have five or ten… which means they get more laughter on stage… making them even more fans… and the circle of awesomeness grows on and on. Eventually, the system tips. The comedian who was once a niche comedian goes mainstream.
Think about your 3 favorite comedians. How many of them did you find and how many were recommended to you? When I was doing live comedy classes, I found that quite often that all three of my students’ favorite comedians were recommended by friends. In fact, it’s pretty rare to “stumble” upon great comedians. You’re much more likely to have them recommended to you by people with a similar sense of humor.
This is exactly how Steve Martin (video) became the top grossing comedian of all time, even though he started out as a niche comedian. Very few people liked “anti-comedy” in the beginning. It was so wildly different than anything that audiences had ever seen that many people didn’t know what to think about it… but for the few that like it, Steve Martin was the only comedian worth talking about. Martin didn’t convince people to become his fans… his fans did. All he had to do was remain consistent to the world that he built and and his fans adored.
…and by the way, in case you’re wondering… my top 3 comedians are Richard Jeni, Eddie Izzard, and Steve Martin. All three were recommended to me by friends and all three have helped shape my own approach to comedy.
Bonus Video: Evolution of Stand-Up Comedy (Compilation Video)