Some time ago, I performed stand-up for a “talent audition” of sorts. It was for a Christmas show or something, and the best auditioners (word?) would get to perform at the show. You could showcase any talent, but since talents not relating to sports (read “football”) are lame, I auditioned while doing stand-up (more of a skill, really). I think I did pretty well, but nobody else showed up. So ultimately, the whole thing got scrapped; No show, no stand-up, nothing.
Despite my disappointment in the whole ordeal, it reinvigorated my passion for stand-up routines. So I thought, “Even though I’m not a professional comedian, and even though I don’t perform on a regular basis, and even though I’ve never done large shows, and even though I’m probably not that good, I should share my knowledge to help other aspiring stand-up comedians.” So here it is, ten tips for suck-cess.
- Steal Material From Other People – Most people will tell you that the “Golden Rule” of comedy is to never steal the work of others. Well, most people aren’t fucking famous, are they? The trick here is to do it discretely, that way no one will call you out/have their lawyers contact you. For example, instead of doing George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV” routine, do “Six Words You Can’t Say on the Radio.” Actually, wait, don’t do that; I’m gonna use it. I called it, and don’t fucking steal material from me.
- Don’t Fucking Steal Material From Me – Just don’t.
- Lists of Three – Whenever you list things while doing stand-up, try to keep your list down to a nice, even, perfect square, composite three. For instance, if you were doing a joke on “The Best Ways to Rape Hillary Duff”, you’d only want to list the three funniest ways, despite there being nearly countless preconceived and well thought out possibilities. I don’t recommend it, though, as most people find jokes concerning Hillary Duff to be offensive.
- Am I Fucking Stupid? – What did I just write about lists of three? Fucking idiot.
- Steal Material From Other People – See step 1.
- Steal Material From Other People – See steps 1, 5.
- “Call Back” Jokes – Call back jokes can be especially funny if used by a master of the comedic arts. It’s pretty simple: You take a joke and relate it (somehow) to a seemingly unrelated joke used earlier during your act. Actually…
- Steal Material From Other People - (A terrible example of a call back joke.)
- Blatant/Unrestricted Use of Vulgar Language – In stand-up, this is sometimes called “going blue” though nobody knows why. Swearing
can sometimes enhanceis the main and only staple of comedy. Typically, the more swearing, the funnier the show (always). To improve your swearing technique, I recommend studying one of the masters of profanity, the always funny, very tasteful, never offensive but still edgy Michael Richards; Class act all the way.
- Never Steal Material From Other People – This is typically regarded as the “Golden Rule” of comedy. No matter what, never steal someone else’s work.
You should now be ready to conquer the comedic world. Also, never rehearse, as improv is always funny. If you suck at improv, that’s okay, because watching somebody die on stage is also funny. Go, minions, be funny.