How to Be a Comedian

Handling Hecklers – Part 4

The art of comedy Aikido.

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In my previous blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 3, I discussed using heckler lines to get heckler to back down and shut up. In this blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 4, I offer several more tips for dealing with obnoxious morons. Never Invite the Heckler on Stage Guess why I know about this. When I was first beginning back in the mid-70's in San Francisco, I was working at a hole-in-the-wall club known as the Holy City Zoo. I was being heckled mercilessly when I lost my temper and said, “If you think you can do any better, then come up and try.” This one did. He pushed me out of the way and proceeded to tell one really funny joke. The guy running the open mike night came over, I thought to help me, but instead he told the heckler to get off stage, then turned on me and yelled, “There are t



Handling Heckler – Part 3

Let’s play Audience Whack-a-Mole.

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In my previous blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 2, I discussed keeping the proper state of mind when dealing with rude audience members. In this blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 3, I offer several hecklers lines to help purge the scourge. Use Hecklers Lines Heckler lines aren’t as easy to use as you might think. Just because you have a series of great insults memorized doesn’t mean that that’s all there is to handling hecklers. It’s a whole psychological game that you’ll need to learn. Be prepared with a variety of comebacks to fit the different kinds of heckles. You can write them yourself or get them from insult joke books. For example: “Shut up.” “Out of millions of sperm, you were the quickest?”



Handling Heckler – Part 2

What mental state are you from?

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It’s helpful if you’ve read my blog Handling Hecklers – Part 1, as it explains some of the psychology. In this blog, Handling Hecklers – Part 2, I’ll explain three principles that can help you to maintain the correct state of mind to successfully keep yourself and your show within your control. Remain Playful When handling hecklers, no matter how strong your comments, they still must be in the spirit of fun. If it appears that you’re trying to hurt the heckler, the audience will turn against you because the hurt line has been crossed. Remember, whatever state you’re in, the audience is in. If you become mean and vengeful, the audience will become mean and vengeful. The heckler may be messing up your show, but you can always make it worse by attacking without



How to Kill a Laugh – Part 1

Stop interrupting my comedy routine with you damn laughter.

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Results of How to Kill a Laugh One night at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, I watched a comic, I’ll call “Biff,” train an audience to stop laughing. In the beginning, the audience laughed as his jokes. The problem was he didn’t know what part of the punch was causing the laugher. So when the audience laughed, to finish saying what he’d written, he’d shout over the top of the audience’s laughter. This is basically saying to an audience, “Stop Interrupting my comedy routine with your damn laughter.” Since the audience still wanted to hear what Biff had to say, they quickly learned to be quiet. Around the tenth joke, the audience had been trained to stop laughing altogether. They were still smiling and enjoying his show. But Biff wasn’t ge



How to Be a Comedian – Tip 31: Stop Using Comic’s Clichés – Part 1

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 30: Avoid the Motor Mouth Syndrome, I gave some of the reasons beginner comics stream roll through their shows. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 31: Stop Using Comic’s Clichés – Part 1, I’ll discuss those overused phrases comics constantly use. How to Be a Comedian Tip 31: Stop Using Comic’s Clichés – Part 1 There are phrases that all the beginner comics use because they heard some other comic say them. These are what I call comic’s clichés. I’m not discussing societal clichés, which are



How to Be a Comedian – Tip 30: Avoid the Motor Mouth Syndrome

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 29: No Questions as Segues – Part 2, I discussed the overuse of asking the audience a question to bring up a new subject. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 30: Avoid the Motor Mouth Syndrome, I’ll give some of the reasons beginner comics stream roll through their shows. How to Be a Comedian Tip 30: Avoid the Motor Mouth Syndrome The motor-mouth syndrome occurs when the comic goes through the material without stopping for laughs or even a breath. You’re on stage to have fun mak



Segues – No Questions – Part 2 – How to Be a Comedian – Tip 29

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 28: No Questions as Segues – Part 1, I discussed the overuse of asking the audience a question to bring up a new subject. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 29: No Questions as Segues – Part 2, I’ll point out more amateurish mistakes which make comics look foolish. How to Be a Comedian Tip 29: No Questions as Segues – Part 2 Another unwanted by product of using questions as a way of bring up a Topic is when the comic doesn’t get the response he wants. Then, even worse, ignoring the answer or lack of answer to his questio



Segues – No Questions – How to Be a Comedian – Tip 28

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 27: Closing Line, I covered the importance of having a joke to get off stage with a laugh. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 28: No Questions as Segues – Part 1, I’ll discuss the overuse of asking the audience a question to bring up a new subject. How to Be a Comedian Tip 28: No Questions as Segues – Part 1 Of all of the comics’ clichés, asking a question as a means of bring up a new subject matter is the most frequently abused and the biggest waste of valuable stage time. It’s a personal quest of mine to era



How to Be a Comedian – Tip 27: Closing Line

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 26: Opening Line, I discussed the importance of having an opening line to get a laugh right away. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 27: Closing Line, I’ll cover the importance of having a joke to get off stage with a laugh. How to Be a Comedian Tip 27: Closing Line One of the more awkward parts of a show is getting off stage. If you don’t have a designed exit, then you get whatever you get. Or if you want a smooth exit the technique to use is call Closing Line. By its name, it’s self evident what it



How to Be a Comedian – Tip 26: Opening Line

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In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 25: Acknowledge Idiosyncrasies, I discuss why comedians need to talk about things the audience may fixate on in order to get their attention back on the show. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 26: Opening Line, I’ll show the importance of getting that first laugh quickly. How to Be a Comedian Tip 26: Opening Line After you greet



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