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 making people laugh. Slow down. Enjoy yourself. Remember, stand-up comedy is a relationship with the audience, not an opportunity for target practice with a joke Uzi. Here are a couple of reasons for the motor-mouth syndrome and their solutions:
Fear of Forgetting Your Material
When beginners are afraid that they’ll forget their material, they sometimes hurry from one joke to the next as fast as they can. This seems as if it would work, but it doesn’t. Actually, you’re more likely to go blank when you’re just trying to get through the material because any little interruption will mix you up completely. Besides, it’s not entertaining to watch someone rush through their material. The audience wants to laugh, not watch someone rush through their show because they’re afraid of forgetting.
The solution to this problem is to rehearse using Greg Dean’s Rehearsal Process which teaches you how to turn jokes into scenes and then act them out to remember your material as an experience. You can learn this process in my book Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy, available on Amazon.com.
Or my workbook. How to Remember Jokes Naturally, also available on Amazon.com. Buy one or both, you’ll be glad you did.
Trying To Fit To Much Material Into Your Show
This is usually a result of being too greedy. I know you want to get all your best jokes into your show, but trying to cram in too much material is a self-defeating proposition. You may get more jokes in, but if you have to race through them you can’t possibly perform them at their true potential. There’s nothing sadder than watching a comic mess up a series of really great jokes by performing them on fast forward.
To avoid this, find out how much time you’ll have on stage, and then rehearse a show at least 30 seconds shorter than the time allotted. This will give you a comfort zone, so you can have fun and play without feeling any pressure to hurry. And if you should bomb, you’ll be glad you’re doing a shorter show. It’s better to do fewer jokes well then many jokes too quickly.
In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 31: Stop Using Comic’s Clichés – Part 1, I’ll discuss the overused and repetitive clichés used by so many hacks.