How to Perform Stand-Up Comedy
This How to Be a Comedian Blog will give you a few important tips for performing your first time on stage as a comedian. To get the full “Comedian Quick-Start Guide,” sign up with your name and email on the right.
Before Hitting The Stage Your First Time
So now it’s time to head out for your first performance. But there’s still much you need to know before you do. So far in your journey of learning how to be a comedian you’ve found your comedic voice, written your first comedy material, and prepared yourself for your first performance through rehearsal.
But what do you do when there’s no time left to prepare? Here’s what you should do while you’re on stage…
How to Be a Comedian Tip: Record Your Set
The most important preparation you can do after prepping your material is to grab your video camera (or audio recorder). This is one of the comedian’s greatest tools (and it’s absolutely essential for those still learning how to be a comedian). Your recorder acts as an objective eye and/or ear in the audience. When you perform you aren’t going to remember nearly as much as you think you will. You’re attention will be on giving a solid performance and that is plenty for you to think about. Once you’ve mastered the skills for how to be a comedian you’ll find that you have plenty of time on stage to have your mind wonder. But for now, keep it simple.
Right before you hit the stage hit record on your video camera and set it down on a table. Preferably, you will place the camera in the middle of the audience so that it will be picking up audience response. This will give you INVALUABLE information after the show on both your performance and the audience’s reaction. In a later post we’ll discuss what to actually do with the recording. For now, just understand that your recorder is going to teach you how to be a comedian by showing you exactly what you’re doing on stage.
How to Be a Comedian Tip: Dressing The Part
So before you ever head out to the show you might be wondering “what do I wear?” (Ok, it’s possible that wasn’t your first thought… but it’s still an important question).
Whenever you are performing it is always a good rule of thumb to dress one-step above the audience. Ideally, you want to be dressed just a little better than the audience is dressed. This subconsciously tells the audience that you’re serious about the performance. But don’t overdo it. The only thing more distracting then someone wearing a wrinkly shirt and shorts that looked like he just crawled out of bed is a guy dressed to the nine’s in a dive bar.
The goal here is two-fold…
First, as mentioned, you want the audience to know that you are taking the performance seriously by dressing up just a ‘bit’.
Secondly, you don’t want your clothing to be distracting. Unlike music concerts, comedy requires the audience’s attention. Any time the audience is thinking about anything else you’re going to lose out. Their mind might wonder off for only a few seconds, but if you say a piece of important information in your setup line then they won’t get the punch line, whether the joke was funny or not. So if your shirt has a silly phrase on it that audience members will be trying to figure out what it says and missing your jokes in the process, leave it at home. YOU should be funny, not your shirt.
Another unwritten rule of dressing for stand-up is “Don’t wear shorts to a comedy venue.” Comedy clubs want to put on a professional show and they tend to look down on even brand new comedians who walk on stage wearing shorts. If you’re walking on stage at a comedy club always wear pants… (I mean long pants).
Secondly, be ready to go on when it’s your turn. Don’t walk into the parking lot for a cigarette. Make the emcees job as easy as possible.
Discover How to Be a Comedian That Can Consistently DESTROY On Stage
Our stand-up comedy courses go in-depth on these skills (which we only briefly covered here) as well as introduces you to many more key concepts to writing comedy, performing, and comedian marketing. We offer the Faster & Funnier Stand-Up Comedy Course, a Creativity For Comedians Course, Comedy Coaching, and package deals that suit your needs and will teach you how to be a comedian that can destroy on stage in the shortest time possible.