Chapter 10 – Peak Comedy Club Performance

Chapter 10
Peak Comedy Club Performance

There are always options for making people laugh if you’re willing to take the risks that go with searching for them. Many of the suggestions in this section are designed to give you those options. Some of them you can use right away, others you’ll have to practice. All of them will come into play at some point in your career as a professional comedian.


Peak Comedy Club Performance
Table of Contents

COMIC TIMING

AT A COMEDY CLUB TAPE RECORD EVERY SHOW

THE FIRST SHOW IN A COMEDY CLUB
Crash and burn
Perfection

PREPARE A SHOW LIST FOR THE COMEDY CLUB SHOW
Use code words
Write the show list on your hand

SUPPLY AN INTRODUCTION FOR THE COMEDY CLUB
Never tell the M.C., “Just say anything.”
Put your introduction on a 3 X 5 index card
Spell your name phonetically
Make it funny
Use credits
Incorporate your subject matter
Design it to present your personality or attributes

WARM UP AT THE COMEDY CLUB
Physical exercise
Get into a playful mood
Be quiet and focus
Run through your show
Think up jokes

GET ON STAGE DURING THE APPLAUSE AT A COMEDY CLUB

IN A COMEDY CLUB AVOID CLICHÉ GREETINGS

FOR THE COMEDY CLUB DEVELOP A STRONG OPENING LINE

ACKNOWLEDGE THE OBVIOUS AT A COMEDY CLUB

AT A COMEDY CLUB AVOID ALL COMICS’ CLICHÉS
Physical clichés
Verbal clichés

DON’T ASK A QUESTION AS A SEGUE AT A COMEDY CLUB

WATCH OUT FOR THE MOTOR-MOUTH SYNDROME
Fear of forgetting your material
Trying to fit too much material into the allotted time

PERFORM THE SETUPS WITH EQUAL COMMITMENT

NEVER MAKE FUN OF SOMEONE’S LAUGH AT A COMEDY CLUB

TREAT THE AUDIENCE AT A COMEDY CLUB AS A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE COMEDY CLUB AUDIENCE IS LAUGHING
Freeze
Remain active and in the same state of mind you were in when the laugh began
Allow the laughter to affect you
Think about what you’re going to talk about next

ABOUT COMEDY CLUB EMPLOYEES
M.C.’s
Waitpersons
Bartenders

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST AT A COMEDY CLUB


Peak Comedy Club Performance
SAMPLE

AT A COMEDY CLUB ACKNOWLEDGE THE OBVIOUS
If there’s something about you the comedy club audience might fixate on, you must address it so they’ll let it go and you can get on with your comedy club show. The kind of things I’m alluding to are usually physical, but they can also be personality traits. For instance, if you are very obese, have one crossed eye, your national origin is unclear, you have a physical tic or a missing or deformed limb, these things need to be addressed so the comedy club audience can relax and enjoy your comedy instead of wondering about these anomalies.
It’s not always a physical attribute that needs to be acknowledged; sometimes it’s a personality trait. An example of this is my student Sharky. He’s a very nice man, but there’s something a little edgy about his manner that sometimes makes the audience uncomfortable. I suggested he broach this with a joke. He did:

“If you don’t like me but you like my jokes, do what you do at home—close your eyes and pretend I’m someone else.”

This next example is also about one of my students, Jeff Pines. He came to my class a bit shy because he has a speech impediment. When he speaks you can understand him, but he has an obvious lisp and I felt it needed to be addressed. Preferably with a joke. I wasn’t sure how Jeff would take my advice, but in class the following week Jeff began his show with this:

“Greg says I have a speech impediment. Maybe it’s just that your ears are screwed up.”

This was very funny because not only did he reverse the situation, he got to bag on the teacher. Well, Jeff went on to the advanced comedy classes where he continued to make up jokes about his lisp. Then on the joke writing night of the workshop, I mentioned that he could turn his lisp into a character. From this Speech Impediment Man was born. Every week the Speech Impediment Man routine got funnier and funnier with jokes like:

“Wherever there’s a drunk who needs me to translate for him, I’ll be there.”

Then, during his routine on our comedy club showcase night, Jeff surprised everyone by tearing open his shirt to reveal a T-shirt sporting a Superman logo with an extra “I” in the middle of it to signify Speech Impediment Man. The comedy club audience roared; I think I even heard a couple of foreheads hit a table. This is an excellent example of turning a problem into an asset through a willingness to have a sense of humor about it.

Peak Comedy Club Performance has the techniques for succeeding in a comedy club. Comedy club bookers look for comics who are polished for their comedy club. Buy Greg Dean’s book “Step By Step to Stand Up Comedy” to learn the tricks of the trade that work in every comedy club.

 

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