In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 23: Warm Up – Part 1, I explained some reasons to warm up before you go on stage. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 24: Warm Up – Part 2, I’ll give more ways to warm up before going on stage.
How to Be a Comedian – Tip 23: Warm Up – Part 1
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Be Quiet and Focus
Some people need to be left alone before they perform. If this is your style, physically warm up, and then find a place where you can be somewhat alone. But be sure to let the M.C. know where you are – you don’t want him to think you’ve disappeared.
I have this need to be alone, but only for sixty seconds before I go on stage. Before that I’ll play and jump around, but then just as I’m ready to step on stage I go internal until I’m introduced. If someone interrupts me when I’ve gone inside myself, I get very cranky.
I’ve learned to explain my quirks to the people I work around, so they won’t think I’m just being a jerk. If you let people know, they’ll usually be accommodating.
Going through your show can remind you of the order of your material, refresh your memory of new jokes, and help put you into a playful state. There are several ways of doing this, but let me start by saying that I don’t recommend running silently through your show in your head. For some reason, running through a performance in your head doesn’t help it come out of your mouth. You can try it, but you’ll quickly learn what all actors know: The least you should do is say it out loud. Which brings up the next option, stand up and go through your show out loud. The closer you can get to the state you want to perform in, the better. My favorite is called the Hyper run-through. This involves going through your show out loud, as fast as you can possibly speak. You’ll quickly pin-point the areas you’re not completely comfortable with because you’ll stumble over them.
Think Up Jokes
Some comics like to sit and think of some opening jokes for their show. They’ll lampoon the M.C., the environment, or go off of the material of the previous comedians. These jokes will usually just work for that one show or maybe that one gig.
In one club, I was following a pretty red-headed lady who did material about being up all night having kinky sex with a stranger. When I entered the stage I pretended to be exhausted and proclaimed I’d been up all night having sex with a kinky red-head. It yielded a big and easy laugh.
In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 24: Acknowledge Distractions, I’ll discuss why comedians need to talk about things the audience may fixate on in order to get their attention back on the show.
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