Go up to just about any successful comedian out there, and they are sure to have a whole bunch of stories about their time starting out. It’s a romantic time, really, that chase of the ultimate goal of financial security and critical praise.
Those early days of being in stand-up are likely going to be hard on anyone who’s looking to get into the game. The market is more or less flooded with hundreds or thousands of other aspirants who are looking to claim the same fame you are.
And it’s not just about getting noticed; it’s about getting noticed while performing the material of your life, the A-level stuff, the funniest set you’ve ever come up with.
Talk to any comedian from Jerry Seinfeld to Damon Wayans Jr., and they’ll probably hand out some tips for making it in the business. But, if you don’t have access to talk to those comedians just now, we’re here to help you out. Here are three tips to keep in mind for making it as a stand-up comedian.
Perform As Often As You Can
You may already be aware of this first tip, but it’s vital that you get up in front of people often to perform your material, even if it’s just a small group of your friends or family. Comedians will tell you that it’s important to get used to this, since this will be your life. Stand-up comedy is nothing without an audience to laugh at it, so perform several times a week, even if you don’t feel like it.
What are you trying to do here? You’re practicing your delivery and testing your material in front of someone even if you aren’t actually getting too many official gigs yet. And this can only benefit you in the end.
Take Your Time
Jumping off of the previous point: as you practice your line deliveries, be sure to take your time and savor every word, every bit, every sentence. Comedy is all about your words and how you say them. It’s common to be nervous when you’re just starting out, and when people get nervous, they tend to talk fast.
Don’t do this, or at least be aware that you’re doing it so you can put a stop to it. Audiences won’t get what you want them to get out of your comedy if they can’t understand your words. On top of that, if you seem too nervous and jittery, it could affect the really funny parts of your sets.
Take your time, slow up, and you’ll do much better.
Even when you master the arts of talking in front of people and delivering each line slowly and carefully, you may find that you’re still not getting gigs. That’s to be expected, too.
As we said, the market is filled with other aspiring comedians who want the same stages you want in the same time slots you want them. To find your place among everyone else, you’ll have to be persistent with venue owners and anyone else who stands in your way. Fight for a spot. Offer to do it for free, just to get up there and be seen.
Starting out as a comedian can be a fun time, certainly not as glamorous as would be ideal, but if you keep trying, you just might make it one day.