Greg Dean’s Glossary of Stand-Up Comedy Terms
Definitions to comedy nomenclature, slang and Greg Dean’s Comedy System terms.
To be funny, you must talk funny. This glossary of stand-up comedy terms helps you know how to be a stand-up comedian by being able to talk the lingo. A glossary of stand-up comedy should evolve with the times as terms go out of style and usage. If you have any suggestions for this glossary of stand-up comedy terms, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Include the word, definition, your name, and a link URL to your comedy website. The success of Greg Dean’s glossary of stand-up comedy terms depends on how well it’s kept up to date, so send in those terms. Thank you, Greg Dean.
1st story: the scenario imagined in the mind of the audience based on the setup of a joke.
2nd story: the scenario imagined in the mind of the audience based on the punch of a joke.
act out: a quick scene with one or more POVs is enacted during a comedian’s show; also see scene work.
ad-lib: to make up a joke within a scripted show.
alternative reinterpretations: a list of meanings or functions of the connector that are not the same as that of the target assumption, one of which will become a reinterpretation.
assumption: 1.) the audience’s expectation that the 1st story will continue along the predicted line of though. 2.) everything one is not experiencing with one’s senses in the present.
beat: take a a pause; to take a break for the purposes of comic timing.
behavioral jokes: jokes constructed with the nonverbal connectors of character, emotions/state of mind, body language/actions, and sound effects.
bit: a section of a stand-up comedy show or routine, also a short routine or a section of a routine.
blue material: jokes using graphic sexual overtones, scatological (toilet) references, and swear words.
bomb: to to perform a comedy show which gets no or few laughs.
booker: a person who hires and/or pays comedians to work in nightclubs.
callback: a joke that refers back to another joke performed earlier in the show; often presented in a different context.
capper: an antiquated term for the final in a series of jokes on the same subject matter which ends the routine with the biggest laugh.
catch phrase: a common phrase said in a extraordinary manner which becomes the trade make of a particular comedian. For instance Steve Martin’s “Excuse me.” or Billy Crystal’s “You look marvelous.”
character: POV the perceptual position achieved when pretending to be someone or something else.
closing line: the final joke of a stand-up comedy show which should get a huge laugh.
comedian: someone who makes his or her living being funny by means of an amusing character.
comic: someone who makes his or her living being funny by telling jokes.
connector: at the center of a joke, the one thing perceived in at least two ways. One way of perceiving it constitutes the target assumption; the second way of perceiving it reveals thereinterpretation.
Critic Spot: a location designated for evaluating one’s show; separate from the Rehearsal Space.
crowd work: verbally bantering with the audience; also see riffing.
emcee: Master or Mistress of Ceremonies; the person who introduces the performers; also see M.C.
feature: the second comedian in the standard three comedian stand-up comedy show line-up; also see middle.
flop sweat: the overabundance of perspiration one experiences from a panic reaction to bombing.
flopping: bombing; not getting laughs.
gag file: a joke file.
gag: a joke.
gig: a show business job.
graphing: a scaling device with dots on paper for evaluating the effectiveness of jokes to determine their proper placement within a routine or show.
hack: comic who performs orverused and unorginal material.
hammocking: a technique for placing weaker material or improvisation between two strong comedy bits.
headliner: the third and last comedian considered the star of a standard stand-up comedy show.
heckler: an audience member who talks and interrupts a show, usually by exchanging insults with the comedian.
improvisation: akin to ad-lib, but usually refers to the spontaneous making up an entire bit or the continual comedic conversing with audience members.
inside joke: a joke referring to information only a select group of people have.
joke: a device for expressing humor that employs a setup which contains a target assumption to misdirect the audience into accepting a bogus 1st story; and a punch which contains areinterpretation which creates a 2nd story that shatters the target assumption.
joke diagram: a visual aid for illustrating the structure of a joke.
joke file: jokes organized and stored on index cards or in a computer.
Joke Map: the first part of the Joke Prospector Writing System starts with a topic, creates apunch-premise, forms a setup-premise, and concludes with writing setups.
Joke Mine: the second part of the Joke Prospector Writing System begins with a setup and explains the process of using the joke mechanisms of target assumption, connector, andreinterpretation, to write a punch.
Joke Prospector Writing System: a joke writing system consisting of the two part of the Joke Mapand the Joke Mine.
jokey: 1. a term used to describe such obvious jokes that one would expect to hear a rim shot following them. 2. a comic’s groupie.
kill: to to give an excellent comedy performance.
laughs per minute: a measurement for counting the number of laughs in a show.
line-up: a list of the comics slated to perform.
LPM: laughs per minute.
M.C.: Master or Mistress of Ceremonies; the person who introduces the performers; also see emcee.
middle: the second comedian in the standard three comedian stand-up comedy show line-up; also see feature.
mike: abbreviation for microphone.
monologue: a speech for one person; in comedy, a stand-up comedy script for a solo comedian.
Narrator POV: the perceptual position achieved when being an observer or non-participant of an experience.
Neuro-linguistic Programming: a behavioral model and set of explicit skills and techniques founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. Defined as the study and mapping of the structure of the mind.
NLP: Neuro-Linguistic Programming
on the road: continually working outside of one’s city of residence.
one-liner: a joke made up of only one or two sentences.
one-nighter: a job which only lasts one night.
open-mike: a policy to allow anyone to get on stage and try to be funny.
opener: the first of three comedians in a standard comedy club line-up.
opening line: the first joke of a stand-up comedy routine.
pause: to stop talking in a show to enhance the timing of a joke.
POV: point of view.
POVs: points of view
premise: the central concept from which a series of jokes or a routine is written.
punch: the second part of a joke that contains a reinterpretation that creates a 2nd story thatshatters the setup’s target assumption.
punch line: (same as punch).
punch-premise: a step in the Joke Map stating a negative opinion about a smaller aspect of thetopic.
regulars: comedians who appears frequently at a particular nightclub.
Rehearsal Space: a location designated for practicing one’s show; separate from the Critic Spot.
reinterpretation: an unexpected meaning or function of the connector that shatters the target assumption.
reveal: within the punch, the pivotal word, phrase, or action that exposes or presents the 2nd story’s reinterpretation.
riffing: verbally bantering with the audience; also know as crowd work.
rip into or ripping: to attack, insult, or verbally tear into an audience member or comic who has heckled or otherwise deserves the abuse.
roll: on a delivering a string of jokes so that the audience continues laughing for an extended period without interruption.
routine: jokes all on the same subject or story that can be repeated on a regular basis.
running gag: multiple callbacks; a recurring joke within the same show.
scene work: a quick scene with one or more POVs is enacted during a comedian’s show; also see act out.
segue: a transitional sentence for purposes of leading from one joke or routine to another.
Self POV: the perceptual position achieved when performing as one’s self while participating in an experience.
set: a a stand-up comedy show of any length.
setup: the first part of a joke that contains a target assumption to misdirect the audience into accepting a bogus 1st story.
setup-premise: a step in the Joke Map stating the opposite opinion to that of the punch-premisefrom which setups are written.
shatter: with reference to joke structure, the point at which the audience realized that the target assumption is wrong.
showcase: to perform a stand-up comedy show for little or no compensation for the purposes of getting experience or being seen by a potential employer.
showcase club: a comedy club using a line-up of ten or more comics in a row.
shtick: a Yiddish word meaning a comic scene or piece of business; often implying physical comedy.
sight gag: a physical joke meant to be watched.
stage time: the duration, in minutes, a comedian spends in front of an audience making them laugh.
tag or tag line: an additional punch immediately following a punch that does not require a newsetup.
take: a a comedic facial reaction. Like the long Jack Benny take to the audience.
target: a shorter term for target assumption.
target assumption: the misdirecting assumption in a joke’s setup which creates the 1st story and is shattered by the reinterpretation.
throw away: to put little emphasis on a point usually considered important. time slot the specific spot a comedian occupies within a showcase club line-up.
time slot: the specific spot a comedian occupies within a showcase club line-up.
timing: the use of tempo, rhythm, pause, etc. to enhance a joke, or tailor it to an individual performing situation.
topic: the single and overall subject of a routine based on a problem.
topical jokes: about current events.
topper: an antiquated term referring to a joke playing off a previous joke; same as tag.
If you have any suggestion for Greg Dean’s Glossary of Stand-Up Comedy Terms, please contact Greg Dean firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the word/phase, definition, your name, and a link URL to your comedy website.
This glossary of stand-up comedy terms teaches you how to talk like a stand-up comedian by knowing the lingo. A glossary of stand-up comedy needs to evolve with the times as terms go out of style. The success of Greg Dean’s glossary of stand-up comedy glossary terms depends on how well it’s kept up to date, so send in those terms. Thank you, Greg Dean.
End of Glossary of Stand-Up Comedy Terms.