How to Pursue a Career in Comedy

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Making people laugh on a consistent basis is an art form. Comedy masterminds know what to say, when to say it and to whom to say it. If you are brave enough to pursue a career in comedy, honing your skills is essential. Rave reviews from friends and family don’t make you qualified for a headliner spot--just yet. Developing your natural abilities can give you the confidence and skills to pursue your dream.

Commit to Success

  • Your starting point is not as important as your commitment to greatness. Comedic minds come from all types of backgrounds and stages of life. Rodney Dangerfield sold aluminum siding for a living before making a return to comedy in his 40s. Tina Fey joined the Second City training program following college and landed a writing job at "Saturday Night Live" within three years. The Connected Comedy website advises that affirming why you want to pursue comedy can help you assess your growth.

Think Big

  • The Connected Comedy website advises aspiring comics to broaden their definition of what it means to be a comedian. For example, some comedians perform standup while others write material for shows. Allowing fear to stop you from experimenting with new material or working with different people or can stunt your professional growth.

Write Jokes

  • Penning original material hones your writing skills and aids in voice development. It also shows your seriousness and provides concrete examples of your vision and abilities. The Keeping Comedy Alive website encourages comedians to write down and expand upon funny observations in a dedicated comedy journal. Additionally, in the article “Comedy Careers: Learning To Be Funny Is No Joke” by David Seidman on the Experience website, stand-up comedian and author Judy Carter advises comedians to get comedy buddies to bounce ideas off of in real time when writing. Carter says that exclusively writing at your computer can make your material stiff because you get no human feedback.

Reach Out

  • The Connected Comedy website advises against a lone wolf mentality. Productive associations can keep you grounded and provide industry notoriety.Join a sketch comedy troupe to boost your confidence and teamwork abilities. Enroll in training classes to learn different comedic styles and writing methods. Asking comedy veterans to critique your material can also help you shed stale jokes and gain new perspectives.

Study Up

  • Jerry Corely’s Comedy Clinic website relays the importance of learning from other comedians to enhance your stage presence. Attend comedy shows and festivals, taking note of which acts work and which acts fall flat. Connected Comedy also advises comics to immerse themselves in all things funny. Binge watch classic and trending comedies to gain perspective on why they are funny. Incorporating what you learn into your act can produce more laughs.

Stand Up

  • Performing your act on stage can give you a better idea of which jokes to keep and which jokes to toss. Scan the audience for sighs and laughter. You may find that your material is a better fit for another type of audience than you originally intended. Sign up for open mic nights at a variety of venues for a comprehensive assessment of your skills. Recording your performances can help you assess your growth.

References

  • Photo Credit John Rowley/Photodisc/Getty Images
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