Take a look at the stand-up comedians that you are a big fan of. What do they all have in common? Aside from the ability to get laughs and high creativity… each one of them uses stand-up comedy as an art form of self-expression.
What happens when a comedian DOESN’T use stand-up comedy as self-expression?
The most important consequence of not using self-expression is that the comedian comes off extremely hack. They use their stage time to talk about “stuff” without ever giving the audience a real reason to remember them after the show. Before the Golden Age of Comedy, this was fine. It was all audiences demanded. When the Golden Age of Comedy hit, stand-up comedy became about raw creativity and self-expression. Excluding self-expression from your performance is like excluding the main course from a dinner… it doesn’t matter how well the food was prepared because the customer’s expectations weren’t met.
Why Many Comedians DON’T Use Self-Expression To It’s Fullest Potential
One reason few stand-up comedians at the open mic levels use self-expression is because it requires showing your weaknesses instead of your strengths. In comedy, your strengths are your weaknesses and your weaknesses are your strengths. When you let the audience in on a weakness there is HUGE potential for laughter because there’s comedic conflict involved. Not only is this material extremely relatable (comedians often don’t give the audience enough credit for sharing these types of experiences) but the audience is able to view both the weakness and the ideal “front” that most people put up to hide similar weaknesses. The joke isn’t ACTUALLY about your weakness, but about how we have all attempted to hide that weakness to appear better to others. The ability to shed new light on the world is one of the ways stand-up comedy gets it’s power. And because most open mic comedians DON’T do this, you’ll be seen as a more original performer than your peers. Find more articles on Originality in Stand-Up Comedy and how to be a more creative comedian here.
What Happens When A Comedian Uses Self-Expression
When the comedian shows ACTUAL reality instead of the “fake reality” that most people put up, there’s huge potential for laughter. They also get a new and different point of view, which makes you more memorable as a comedian. It is also more relatable. It’s very difficult to relate to someone who’s only interested in “looking good” in front of others. They come off as fake and inauthentic… certainly not the right ingredients making them a fan of your stand-up comedy.
Combine all this with the fact that most new comedians DO NOT relate to the audience and you can see that showing your weaknesses are a powerful way of being unique in the eyes of the audience and develop a fan base. Learn more about how to develop a fan base in stand-up comedy here.
Jared Volle 1999