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How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 6: Proper Microphone Technique

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 5: Avoid All Comics’ Clichés, I showed how hacky phrases get in the way of being an original comedian. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 6: Proper Microphone Technique, I’ll explain how to use a microphone to the best advantage.

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 6: Proper Microphone Technique

Bad microphone technique is another of my pet peeves which has easy fixes. Too many beginner and intermediate comics don’t understand how a mic works so they hold it in an ineffective manner. When a mic intrudes on the show then it isn’t being used properly.

How a Mic Works

The mics used in stand-up comedy are omni-directional, which means there’s a bubble around the mouth piece about four inches in diameter. When the comic’s mouth is inside that bubble, it’ll pick up the voice perfectly.

Bad Technique

When the comics put the mic in front of of their mouths, it creates several problems. One, it covers part of the face so the audience cannot see the comics’ full range of expressions. Two, the breath goes directly into the mic causing breathy sounds to whoosh and hard consonant sounds to pop. These distortions make it more difficult for the audience to understand what is being said and can affect the amount of laughter from the audience.

Good Technique

Hold the mic below the chin. Make sure your mouth is inside the bubble so it can pick up the voice. As simple as this may sound, it’s not how most comics hold the mic. I saw a comic recently at the Hollywood Improv who held the mic too high and in front of his mouth, so he whooshed and popped all the way through his show. Then the headliner came on and did proper mic technique, so his show was so much more pleasant to listen to because there were no distortions of his voice. Just keep the mic below the chin, but inside the bubble and you’ll be doing yourself and the audience a favor.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 7: Be Playful, Not Funny, I’ll discuss the problem of trying to be funny and why it doesn’t work.

BTW

• For all my current students, I’ve created an free open mic at Marty’s Comedy Club, where my students have an audience and get to work out.

• Almost ready to publish my Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy – Workbook Series. These workbooks have exercises for all the techniques in my original book. Look for it on LULU.com

• My wife, Gayla Johnson, is soon to appear on Beverly Hills Pawn in May of 2013. Check her out.

 

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

 

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.

BTW

• 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

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greet the Audience

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip3:Mic and Stand, I showed how knowing how to use the microphone and stand will make your show more fun. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greet the Audience, I’ll explain the importance of opening your show by greeting the audience honestly.

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greet the Audience

It’s very awkward when a nervous comic runs right to the microphone and goes right into, “I hate bumper sticker.” It lacks social grace. I’m not saying you must have a conversation with the audience at the top of the show, but merely say, “Hello,” before going into material.

Even worse is when comics all say exactly the same thing as a greeting, “Hi. How you all doin’ this evening?” Or some slight variations. Please, please, please don’t do this. This kind of greeting is what I call a Comic’s Cliché. Comic’s Clichés are all the commonly used phrases comics repeat because they heard other comics use them. How many times in a show does the audience want to be asked, “How you all doin’ tonight?” Or “Wus up?” I’ve heard as many as thirty in one open mic. Nothing like being original.

Advice: Greet the audience like you would with any conversation with strangers. Say, “Hello,” and introduce yourself. If you want more of a greeting beyond that, be honest about how you’re feeling right at that moment, “I’m glad to be here, but a little nervous.” Be genuine and the audience will respond in kind.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 5: Avoid Comic’s Clichés, I’ll discuss how beginner and some experience comics fill their show with mindless clichés that only hack comics use.

BTW

• Fundamentals Workshop begins Monday May 13th 2013. More info: stand-upcomedy.com

• Just got the covers for my Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy Workbook Series. They’ll be published on LULU.com in May 2013.

• Smoked an Alec Bradley American cigar while writing this blog. It was good, no better.

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 3: Mic and Stand

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip2: The Entrance , I discussed the importance of getting on stage smoothly . In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip3:Mic and Stand , I’ll explain the proper and improper uses of the microphone and stand

How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 3: Mic and Stand

For beginners and mic and stand can be intimidating. When you use the mic and stand properly, they’ll disappear for you and the audience. If done improperly, they can become a hindrance to your performance.

Advice and Technique: Get to the venue early, get on stage and take the mic out of the holder and grab the stand below the fastener and move it behind you out of the way. Why grab it below the fastener? Because if you lift on the top section it may come out of the bottom section and it’ll become a problem. Next, bring the stand back to the front of the stage and place the mic back in the stand. Do this several time to make that transition smooth.

When you hold the mic, place it below your chin. Not out in front of your mouth. Why below your chin? Several reasons: one, your breath going into the mic will cause it to whoosh and pop making it difficult for the audience to understand you. Two, if the mic is in front of your face the audience can’t see your expressions. Place the mic on your chest bone, which will solve most of the problems of keeping it near your mouth, and staying under your chin. The mic and stand are integral part of the stand-up comedy experience. Get used to them.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Open Mic Tip 4: Greeting the Audience, I’ll discuss the honest and cliché ways of greeting audiences.

BTW

• Got the covers done for my Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy – Workbook Series. Look for them in 2013 on LULU.com.

• Free Stand-Up Comedy Class – Thursday May 9th  2013 – 7pm to 8:30pm. Get on the confirmation list: gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• While writing this blog, I smoked a Fuente – Hemingway. I prefer Fitzgerald.

 

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

How to Be a Comedian – Tip 2: Open Mics – The Entrance

In my previous blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 1: Sit and Watch, I suggested when you go to an open mic for the first time, well, sit and watch. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 2: Open Mics – The Entrance, I’ll explain the importance of getting on stage smoothly.

How to Be a Comedian Tip 2: Open Mics – The Entrance

Jerry Seinfeld said, and I paraphrase, “A smooth entrance makes for a smooth show.” Getting from your seat to the stage may sound easy, but with nerves, fear, and your head reeling with the ideas you want to talk about, it can be a real challenge. This simple task, done badly, can ruin your time on stage.

On my way to the stage, I’ve knocked over tables and spilled drinks, tripped on the steps getting onto the stage, pulled the top half of the mic stand out, hit myself in the mouth when I pulled the mic out of the stand… And those were the only laughs that I got.

Advice:

Get to the club or room early. Pick a spot in the room where you want to sit that’s has a clear path to the stage. Next, walk that path, step on stage, take the mic out of the stand and place the stand behind you. Talk to get used to the mic sound and walk about the stage a bit. Then bring the mic stand forward and put the mic back into the stand. Walk off the stage, which isn’t as easy as it would seem as your eyes will have adjusted to the bright lights and you won’t be able to see very well. Take a moment to let your eyes adjust and then walk back to your seat.

The simple act of running through your entrance and exit will make for a smooth show.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian – Tip 3: Proper Mic Technique, I’ll discuss the correct way to use a microphone.

BTW

• Setting up an Open Mic in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area. More info: facebook.com/gdcomedy

• Getting a cover done for my workbook: How to Write Jokes.

• How to Be a Stand-Up Comedy – DVD on sale with a discount. stand-upcomedy.com

 

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

 

How to Be a Comedian Tip 1: Open Mics – Sit and Watch

In this blog series, I’ll offer some advice and techniques to help beginners deal with the challenges of becoming a comedian. In this blog, How to Be a Comedian Tip 1: Open Mics – Sit and Watch, I’ll explain how one way of dealing with the fear of getting up in front of other performers as the first step to becoming a comedian.

How to Be a Comedian Tip 1: Open Mics Sit and Watch

They say most people would rather die than speak in front of people. Comedians run the risk of doing both at the same time. There are few things in life more terrifying than learning to be a comedian. The open mics are sometimes brutal with critical comics sitting in the dark in the back of the room. Or even worse, visible and disinterested in what the comedian on stage is doing. But even with all these negatives, doing the open mics is a necessary part of the process for learning how to handle any situation when you’re on stage. But there are things you can do to help overcome the fear.

Advice

Decide to go to an open mic and not perform. Just go. Sit and watch. This will make you more comfortable with that venue once you decide you want to give it a shot. And the most important thing you’ll learn is that the others at the open mic are less funny than you are. This will give you a small boost of confidence that you can indeed get in front of this group and do as well or better than they have done. Go. Sit. Watch. Later, perform.

In my next blog, How to Be a Comedian Tip 2: Open Mics – The Entrance, I’ll discuss the importance of having a smooth entrance as a way of easing the jitters.

BTW

• Please “Like” me on my Facebook Fan Page #gdcomedy.

• If you would like to get my tweets “Follow” me @gregdeancomedy.

• I smoked a Genesis Cigar while writing this blog. It may have become my favorite cigar.

 

How to Be a Comedian – Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 13: Speak for Objects

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 12: Purposely Misunderstand, I explained how misunderstanding can lead to funny comments. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 13: Speak for Objects, I’ll explain how saying what objects could say if they could talk.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 13: Speak for Objects

Have you ever looked at an object and thought, “If it could speak, it would say ‘this.’?” It may not be able to speak, but you can. Richard Pryor was a master at this. His routine about his crack pipe talking to him is one of the most profound routines in stand-up comedy history. Eddie Izzard speaks for object in his shows in very funny ways. These are the kind of jokes that help comedians express their truth by anthropomorphizing objects.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind Game: Look for an attribute in an object that you and others recognize as a human expression, and then say what that object might say. It’s that simple. The trick is noticing the characteristics of things and expressing it publically. Speak for the silent majority.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 14: Reinterpret Acronyms, I’ll discuss how making acronyms mean something different than what is intended is an easy laugh.

BTW

• I worked with Katie Wagner who is helping me with my social media. If you really want to know how to use social networking to improve your business, she’s the one.

Free Stand-Up Comedy Class – Thursday May 9th – 7:00pm – 8:30pm Get on the Confirmation List. gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• I smoked a Fuente cigar while writing this blog. Always good.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 12: Purposely Misunderstand

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson11: Sit and Pay Attention, I showed how being quiet and noticing your environment can lead to unseen ideas for material. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson12: Purposely Misunderstand, I’ll demonstrate how easy it is to find jokes through misunderstanding what others are saying.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 12: Purposely Misunderstand

In life we all strive to understand and to be understood. This assumption makes it easy to turn the tables and purposely misunderstand to find jokes. The trick is to convince the other person that you’re really did misunderstand. When the person tries to straighten out the misunderstanding, this will give you more information to misunderstand.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind Game: sort for ambiguities and accept the meaning that was not meant, and then continue the conversation as if that wrong meaning is the right one. For instance, I was riffing an audience and asked a guy sitting next to a gal if they were a couple. He said, “More or less.” I looked at the gal, “Do you realize he thinks you’re in a moral-less relationship?” It got worse for the guy from that point on. Easy laughs.

Word of Warning: this can get irritationg quickly, so notice when to move on. And please don’t try this while getting a traffic ticket.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 13, Speak for Object, I’ll discuss how to take on the point of view of objects to create humor.

BTW

• Please follow me on Twitter @gregdeancomedy and Facebook #gregdeancomedy.

• Coming in May 2013: Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy – Workbook Series. It’ll be available on LULU.com and Amazon.com.

• Smoked a Black Pearl cigar while writing this blog. So, so.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 11: Sit and Pay Attention

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Jokes are in Details, I demonstrated how digging into the specifics can help create jokes. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 11: Sit and Pay Attention, I’ll discuss the importance of sitting somewhere and paying attention to discover an unseen world for making jokes.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Sit and Pay Attention

You need to become aware of the world around you. Our environments are filled with so many things we learn to filter out. Not until you stop and notice will you wake up to reality. The world is amazingly diverse and filled with infinite possibilities.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind Game: Go to your favorite place, and then sit and be quiet. Use all of your senses to look, listen, smell, feel and taste. You’ll notice so many things you’ve taken for granted or ignored for years. These are the things others ignore and you can use this information as the topics for jokes. There are realms of things average people never notice. Notice.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 12: Purposely Misunderstand, I’ll show how funny people create misunderstandings in order to make jokes.

BTW

• I finished the workbooks for my Be Funny Book Series. Each of the five books includes an eBook, Audio Book, and a Workbook. It’ll be available on clickbank.com later this year.

• See my wife, Gayla Johnson, in Tyler Perry’s All I Want Kwanzaa.

• I smoked a Gurkuh Century cigar while writing this blog. Short and tasty.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’ Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Jokes are in Details

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 9: Recurring Themes of Pop Culture,, I discussed how comedians use pop culture as ideas for material. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Jokes are in Details, I’ll demonstrate how comedians dig into the details of their topics to find jokes.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Jokes are in Details

Jokes are not in generalities, they are born from details. You can’t write a joke about “family,” because it’s too broad. You can write jokes about the mishaps of vacations, strategies for getting into the bathroom first, and the lame presents you got. These are all details, which will each contain even more details. Constantine Stanislavski said, “You can never be too specific.” This is also true for joke writing.

Do you know the parts of a zipper?

How to play this game: select some common thing, and then dig into the details by asking questions. Who, what, when, where, why, and how the hell out of it. Get into the habit of collecting details. Feed detailed information into a comic mind, jokes will flow.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 11: Sit Somewhere and Pay Attention, I’ll show how important it is to be aware of your environment by taking the time to notice.

BTW

• Learn to write a joke in less than two minutes: ijokewriting.com

• Check out the Yelp Reviews of my Stand-Up Comedy Classes

• No cigar this time. My wife likes that.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube