How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 5: Avoid All Comics’ Clichés

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greet the Audience, I discussed how to open your show by honestly greeting your audience, instead of using the same old comics’ cliché as everyone else. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 5: Avoid All Comics’ Clichés, I’ll take it even further and suggest that you resist using any comics’ clichés in your show.

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 5: Avoid All Comics’ Clichés

Comics’ clichés are all those mindless phrases comics use because they heard other comics use them. These clichés are the fast track to becoming a hack. Identify them and eliminate them completely from your show.

These clichés have a function, mostly as greetings and segues. Instead of using an old hacky cliché, think up some original way of greeting an audience and transitioning from one subject to another.

Here are some of the most abused comics’ clichés:

Greeting: “How you all doing tonight?” and “Wus up everybody?”

Segue: “By a show of hands, how many people here are married or fill in any other subject?”

Must the audience be forced to respond to the same greeting from twenty comics? Must the audience respond to a question that’s only asked because the comic wants to bring up the subject of the next bit? For a change, look at it from the audience’s point of view. They want to laugh and have a good time, not answer a bunch of inane questions from unoriginal performers.

Advice: I discussed in a previous article How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greet the Audience, how to greet the audience in an honest way. So here, I’ll focus on the segue or transition clichés. Instead of asking a question of your audience as a way of brings up the subject of a routine…state your premise.

In a previous blog, How to Write Jokes – Joke Premise Part 1, I defined the definition of the joke premise as a negative opinion about a subject. Instead of asking the audience a question when you don’t care about the answer, state your premise: “My marriage confuses me.” Now you can go right into the jokes about how your marriage confuses you. This way, there’s no wasted time deflecting an answer from a useless question.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 6: Proper Microphone Technique, I’ll show the importance of holding a mic so it disappears for you and the audience.


• I’m running an Open Mic four nights a week at Marty’s Comedy Club for all my current students. Beginner students get five – 2 minute slots. Advanced students get eighteen – 5 minute slots. It’s so much fun to watch them develop the comfort on stage to let go and just play.

• Smoke a San Cristobol cigar while writing this blog. 93 rated and worth it.

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

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