Be A Comic Now!
I’m always being asked by young people about how to be a stand up comedian – what are the things you need to know etc. My advice would be – have friends who don’t mind you trying out stuff on them. my best friends, Greg, Mac and Tom are the reason I’m a comedian.
They pushed me to perform and spritz and make up funny shit even when I wasn’t in the mood. In the end they are the reason I was able to stand up in front of 300 people. Their critique was much tougher than any normal audience could ever be. If I wasn’t funny, I didn’t get a lift home!
I’ll write more about being a stand up later on – but a good starting point would be this fantastic book by Franklyn Ajaye – who made albums called ‘I am a Comedian’ and ‘Don’t smoke dope, fry your hair’ and was a contemporary of Robin Williams and Richard Pryor.
At last a book about an art form where the writer has actually participated in that art form. In the book he talks about making notes each time you perform. Writing down what your ambitions are for your act, making sure you remember the best bits, making a note every time you make your friends laugh (this is the ‘YOU’ you want to be on stage). Taping every show and making sure you listen. Writing on stage versus writing in a secluded bower (Sinbad mostly improvs stuff on stage- whereas Jerry Seinfeld sits down and wrestles with whatever the comic problem is until he has some jokes).
This is a really good book. I know Andy De La Tour (veteran alternative UK comedy circuit practitioner) is bringing out his book on the ‘Sweaty Gym’ soon – but while you’re waiting – this isn’t such a bad place to peruse.
Thank you, btw to all the people coming to the shows and being so positive and groovy. I’m loving it.
Here’s the book:
Comic Insights: The Art of Stand-Up Comedy
by Franklyn Ajaye
Comedian Ajaye discusses the art of stand-up comedy and how it requires creating a personal comedic point of view. With a focus upon the various approaches, philosophies, and working experiences of the performers interviewed, he provides advice and professional tips on studying other comedians, finding a style, writing material, working the live performance, and appearing…