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.

 

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