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The Way To Be A Comedian

The Way To Be A Comedian

Avis Acting International

Among the most often asked questions I get while touring is"how to I get into this business?" I have been a professional touring comedian for 25 years, so I've heard this a lot! In the larger, sense, becoming a comedian is genuinely a three-pronged job.

Write your material

Hone and develop your comedy content (rehearse your"collection")

Get work.

Sound simple enough? Well now comes the complicated part; really doing this. The facts are that even if I gave you all of the answers just one to 2% of you would actually employ it and go out and take action.

Comedy isn't just an art. It is a business and also a science. However, most comic books --both professional and novice-- revolve comedy with frivolity and they treat their professions frivolously. Like anything worth doing, comedy takes work. It takes work to write new material and it takes more work to go out and get the gigs. Show business is two words; there is the"show" and there's the"company" and it might surprise you to know that much of the moment, you have to put more effort into the business compared to the show. The good news is, when you do it correctly, you're having such a blast that you don't actually work a day in your life!

Sound like fun? Let us proceed!

Let us start with writing and developing material. There are a great deal of folks out there that think that you can not learn comedy, that you are either born with it or you are not. That's a pure and simple fallacy spoken by people who don't have any idea about the science behind bliss or the structure supporting it. If you really Consider It, have you ever seen a baby pop from his mother's womb:

"two people were making love. . .then boom! Out pops me! Is this thing on?" You call a birth canal? It is more like trying to push an egg via a stir stick! Hey Mom? (spit, spit), you should shave that things! Haven't you heard of a'Brazilian?'"

It simply does not happen! Granted, there are some people that seem to naturally have a sense of humor constructed in. They appear to receive it. My theory is that they grew up around comedy, either listening to the greats in a young age, or they were raised in a household that was filled with humor. Each of the comedians I understand which make me laugh had exposure to funny people at a young age and started adapting comedic behaviours. Those behaviors got them attention. They began to comprehend the patterns of behaviour and speech that resulted in laughter and applied them to other situations with great results.

The key word from the preceding paragraph is"patterns." There are certain patterns that professionals use time and time again, to get laughs and it is usually a pattern that produces surprise. According to psychologists who examine comedy, within this circumstance, surprise is the number one element that triggers human bliss, if you're able to surprise someone with what you will state, they will usually laugh. One of the easiest ways to do this is to employ one of the 12 big comedy formulas I discovered over the years of analyzing the best comedians. But you do not even have to examine the greats to recognize this formulation. In case you've got a friend (I think most of us do), who turns everything you say to a sexual connotation, than he/she is probably applying this formulation. It is known as the"Double Entendre." This literally means"two meanings" You basically take a frequent term and twist the intended meaning to mean something entirely different, but it could actually fit in the announcement, but its exaggerated...

The other day I was in the supermarket. The clerk said,"Did you find what you were looking for?" I said,"I found that the wine and the candles, but I could not find a soul mate... You had Mahi-Mahi, but I'm not into twins."

In the above joke, once the clerk used the word"everything," she meant everything at the store. As a comedian the term everything may be a lot of things. In this situation I proceeded with a'soul mate' What makes the joke work isn't just the misdirection on the intended meaning of the word, but the fact that comedic interpretation of this word still fits within the context of this question. In case it did not make sense, then there would be no joke.

Let's look at the following Double-Entendre play on words: Former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was with a terrible season. At the media conference a journalist said to the trainer,"Coach, how to you feel about the implementation of this crime?" McKay replied,"I am all for it."

You can see that the word run was used in two distinct ways. This structure should be a normal tool for anyone who's learning how to write comedy. Among those ways that I refine this capability and make it more accessible for my daily life is by way of practice. After a month I do a term exercise which reminds me that our language has a slew of words that have multiple meanings. Maintaining this elegant in my brain, gives me a tool that's always sharp and accessible. This permits me to re-interpret something somebody says and employ a comedic spin on the word. The practice is simple, yet extremely strong. For your practice, I take fifteen arbitrary, but rather common phrases and write them down. Then I find at least five distinct meanings for every word. Working this workout consistently will give you an amazing leg up in your own quickness and finesse for a comedian. It is easy, yet extremely powerful. Notably because few comedians really do it. This is only one of twelve major comedy structures employed by all the best comedians and comedy writers. If I had been to include all of them in this guide, it would take you a week to finish reading. It's a simple, yet powerful example of ways to manipulate the English language and create surprise and activate laughter from an audience.

FACT: Every comedian that makes you laugh uses a minumum of one comedy structure. It's the structure of the words or the act-out that triggers the laughter. With no structure, there's no laughter. .

Even once you've got all twelve comedy structures down, (most comics operate with 3-4), and you develop an act of five or more minutes, to begin, thirty minutes to begin getting paid, you need to begin to work and hone it in front of an audience. I'd start with buddies. Run the material by them, see what they believe, see if you can make it better by tweaking the shock. Once you feel comfortable that you may perform the five minutes without thinking about it, then do it in front of an audience. How do you do so? Well, if you're in a larger city, there are probably plenty of open mics. These are places where you are able to perform 5-10 minutes of material to'test it' in the front of an audience. This is how I started. If you do not have the advantage of being in a large town, then you may have a comedy show that plays once a week or once a month on your town at a local bar or restaurant. If that is the case, take a trip down there and inquire whether you can M.C. the series. Most pubs which have'one-niter' comedy shows, do not possess an M.C.. Therefore, in case you show up and ask, they will most likely be more than happy to have you take action. If you do your five or ten minutes up front, then you can video tape . Once you've got a video tape that's of good quality, you have a calling card to find work. So now you still have to work the'business' side of the how to be a comedian equation. When you have an act that is generating a laugh every 18-20 seconds, also has a solid beginning, middle and end, it is time to get out there. What most start comedians don't see is that when you hit this level, (may take 6 months, or 2 years), it is time to get serious about treating your stand up comedy just like a small business. You are now a product (or service), and you need to sell. Now in your career, you won't have a manager or an agent. If you are lucky enough to have the cash, you can hire a Public Relations manager (around $3500 a month). They will be able to help you get out media releases, stains on the radio or television. However, you have to have a gig to promote original. However, most of us don't have that option once we're starting out so let's leave this alone. So you have a 30 minute act that you've been growing at open mics and other events such as parties, meetings, etc.. How do you get it on the street? At this point you could be looking at several chances in your journey to becoming a comedian:

Targeting the comedy club and one-niter market

Breaking into corporate comedy or speaking engagements.

I really do both clubs and corporates in my career, but today I mainly target corporate simply because there's more money in it for me personally. There is also the college comedy market, cruise ship market, resort and casino market, hot up comedian market (for live sit-com, sport and talk show audiences), and military shows. Military shows can be big. I had been working with a liaison for the military who said he could have me working for the rest of my life doing military displays. We could spend a lot of time going through each of the possibilities, but this could take days. The key issue to keep in mind is that if you can compose and create a comedy routine that's good and clean, you can work forever. Once you have this info, it's time to target your market, do your research and get started selling. That's appropriate. Start selling. You are your own business now and you supply a service. If you learn how to treat yourself like a business by drawing up a business plan, setting goals and following through, you will start to do the job. When you start in comedy there are 3 positions available. They are each expected to do for different amounts of time:

Opener/M.C. (15 minutes)

Feature or Middle (occasionally called"premiere") (30 minutes)

Headliner or Closing act (45 mins. -1 hour)

NOTE: This is business is aggressive, but here's something most comedians don't understand: If you work hard and you develop your action and you also develop your reputation for being a good comedian, you WILL WORK! This business and the bookers who provide comedians across the nation are constantly looking for great talent.

If you would like to aim the club marketplace, you should also aim the one-nighter market.This way you have more booking options available to you when booking dates. How do you aim? Start small; start neighborhood. In case you have comedy locally, speak to the clubs, go to the clubs, then ask the supervisors, door people, M.C.'s what the protocol is for getting in the door and auditioning or doing a guest set. Be polite and be persistent. Jay Leno drove from Boston to the New York City Improv several days a week for several months before Bud Friedman (the owner of the Improv) allow him perform a set. He was ready. He did a great job. The rest is now history. When you get your opportunity, be well prepared and do a well-crafted 5-10 minute collection. Afterwards, talk to folks, see what it takes to return to do another group. Once you mingle with people and create relationships and a reputation for being a good behave, today you've got all you need to find work. A good deal of comedy talent bookers on the road need to see video. Some will take a chance on you if you have references from a headliners. It is a good idea to develop relationships with as many comedians as you can. Be wonderful to everyone, always act professionally. It's these relationships which can make or break your chances for getting work. Make at least 10 phone calls a day to your livelihood.

Call comedy clubs and bookers. If you do not get them on your telephone, always, I mean always leave a message. Keep exact records on who you spoke to, who the decision maker is, the names of assistants and the best time to call.

If it sounds like you're a sales man. . .then well, you are. This is the business side of the equation of how to become a comedian and it is where many comedians neglect.

When you do eventually get a booker on your phone. Be considerate and ask them if you may send them a movie and if they would rather find the video online or on DVD or E.P.K. (Electronic Press Kit). Believe it or not, there are still some bookers out there who would rather maintain a DVD in their own hands.

Some of these bookers are tough nuts to crack. When I run in that dilemma, it is time to generate a personal sales call. I simply call or email and ask them,

"I really need to meet you and perform your area. If I can fly out there in a couple of weeks or so, do you feel you could find room in the line up for a guest set?"

For the toughest bookers in the country, this has always worked. But how do you afford that? Why your building your contacts and one-niter gigs, you make sure you reserve something around the region of the club you so covet. When you have that date in place and booked, call the club and see if it is possible to drop in and perform an audition set. Put in this excess step and you'll most likely get a guest set.

As soon as you perform the guest set, send them a thank you card (and or something with your image on it), to thank them for the opportunity and keep up till you get a spot. Never follow up more than once a week, if you don't still haven't spoken to the target individual, then follow up every 3 days.

Calvin Coolidge said,"persistence and consistency trump talent any day." So be persistent and consistent. Be polite and keep following up. And when calling does not work. Pay them a visit. Let them know you're persistent.

When you start putting dates collectively. Utilize every chance to tape. Attempt to get good sound quality, if at all possible. A great tape leads to additional work.

If you follow these steps:

Compose your comedy material

Hone and create your material (your"set")

Get work.

You'll be on your way to understanding how to become a comedian.

Current in France, London and the USA, the Avis Acting International theatre and cinema college has been contributing to the emergence of the planet's greatest actors for over 30 decades. The educational concept of Acting International, unique in its completeness and singularity, is based upon the complementarity of global techniques as well as the bases necessary for studying in direct contact with the demands of today's livelihood. This educational process is continually redefined through the natural interaction of complementary knowledge and recognized procedures of a group of renowned masters - French, French, American, Italian and English - all active artists.

The college provides multidisciplinary theater and cinema classes that span a period of three years. Two classes are available to students who will choose between theatre and cinema classes (full course) or cinema specialization. In addition, advanced workshops have been held in Hollywood, New York and London.