Making it big in the funny business takes more than being quirky and witty. If you feel the stage is calling you, there are a few things that will help prepare you for success and propel your career forward. The number one thing you have to remember is even the best, most successful comedians can write their own jokes.
Unless and until you have the means to hire someone to write the majority of your material, you’re going to have to get your own creative juices flowing. So, grab a pen and paper or fire up your device and start pulling together your thoughts.
The most successful comedians write clear and to-the-point setups. This is the part of a joke that informs an audience of any background information before the punchline. The setup needs to be short, sweet and to the point, so you don’t lose the audience before delivering the actual joke. Normally, you’ll hear a comedian say something like, “So the other day, I…” This is the setup. The comedian is setting the stage for delivery. You must master this in order to deliver a memorable punchline.
Speaking of a memorable punchline, it needs to be clever, witty, and original. Those that master the punchline are the most successful. On the flip side, if you can’t get this part down, you’ll have a tough time garnering lucrative laughs. Jokes are all about timing and your delivery of this line needs to be spot on. You need to understand when to speak, when to pause, and when to stop altogether and allow the audience to respond before moving on. You don’t want to stop your audience from laughing prematurely. Mastering this will come with practice.
Write every day, and make sure you actually get out the door and interact with people. This is where you’ll get your material from. We all have experiences on a daily basis we find funny or ironic, yet we don’t always share these with others. We merely chuckle to ourselves and move on.
Make a mental note of these funny moments and start sharing your reaction to the events with those in your social circles. See if you can’t get a few belly-laughs out of them. If you do, write down what happened and keep this material close. You may not always get the reaction you desire, but this is an excellent way to weed out the good from the bad before ever hitting the stage.