How to Be a Comedian – Tip 17: Have an Introduction – Part 1

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 16: Microphone Technique – Part 4, Il offered tips on the mic stand, being ready for the unexpected, and how to exit the stage. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 17: Have an Introduction – Part 1, I’ll discuss the importance of writing an introduction for your shows.

How to Be a Comedian – Tip17: Have an Introduction – Part 1

Introductions are one of the most neglected aspects of stand-up comedy. An introduction is the first line of your show, but you don’t say it. How you’re brought on stage will set the tone for your show. Of course, it’s best to come on with a laugh that foreshadows your particular comic slant. Since most M.C.’s won’t know you, supply them with an introduction that will bring you on stage the way you want.

There are some M.C.’s who won’t use the introduction you provide. They’re going to do whatever they want. The best option here is to get to know them personally so they’ll want to help you because they like you. Until then, you’ll just have to live with it. You can only do what you can do.

Never tell the M.C., “Just say anything.”

You’re assuming the M.C. is competent. That’s a very bad assumption. Especially at open mike nights, the M.C.’s. are often control freaks who want stage time so much they’re willing to run the whole evening. I began giving my own introduction to M.C.’s after one introduced me as… The man who invented the blow-job.”

Even if you happen upon a good M.C., giving him or her permission to “Just say anything” is still a bad idea. One comic I know, when he’s the M.C. and people tell him this, will purposely mess with them just to teach them a lesson. Here is a paraphrase of one of his “educational” introductions:

“Our next dickhead is a knuckle dragging, mouth-breather, who made a big mistake when he entered the club tonight. He told me he was going to get more laughs than the other comics because this audience would laugh at anything since you have the I.Q. of a cuff link. And he hates the troops. Make up your mind – here’s Joe Blow.”

Yes, the comics show was a comedy nightmare. After the show, the comic blew up at the M.C., but the M.C. laughed it off, said, “You told me I could say anything. So shut up, and next time, give me something.”

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 18: Have an Introduction – Part 2, I’ll go over several pointer for writing a good introduction.

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