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Best Advice for Getting Started in Comedy

If you’re always making your friends and family laugh, there’s a good chance that you’re often told that you should be a comedian. If you enjoy comedy, writing, and being the center of attention, it’s something you might want to seriously consider. Once you decide for certain you’re ready to make the leap and break into the world of comedy, how do you get started?

While the odds are against achieving the status of one of the world’s highest-paid comedians – Jerry Seinfeld who has a net worth of $950 million, following these steps might just help you earn at least a decent living at what you love doing.

Material

If you want to get started in comedy, you must first have original material. Being a comedian isn’t just about being funny, you’ll need to have to write a lot of material, so writing skills are a must. The most successful comedians set aside at least a few hours a day to come up with new material. Start by writing about experiences that can often be relatable to your audience. When you can relate to your audience by talking about humorous things in your life, genuine laughter is often the result. It’s also important to be very observant. You can find new jokes just by people watching too, which will also help you better deliver a punchline when you can imitate body language. Staying up-to-day with current events is important so that your jokes are relevant to current events and pop culture as well. 

Practice

A successful comedian is always practicing his jokes on friends and new crowds. Sign up for as many open mic nights as you can and never turn down a gig. If you are new to the scene, there is no gig too small that won’t help you perfect your skills and delivery. Comedian Sam Greenberg has been on the scene since he was 14 years old, and even though very experienced, he still does a variety of shows from basement clubs to well-known venues like The Laugh Factory and Second City.

Learn

You can learn a lot of comedy tricks, including delivery and timing, by watching other comedians perform. When you aren’t performing or writing, watch and learn from others. Go to clubs and take notes. Watch your favorite comedy movies at home and YouTube videos of stand up acts to see what works and what doesn’t for other comedians. There’s a good chance it will spark at least a few ideas for new material.

Don’t Do It For The Money

If you truly love comedy and do it because it makes you happy, you are going to be more successful than someone who just does it for the potential to make a lot of money. Unless they’ve made it big in Hollywood like Seinfeld, most successful comedians don’t get rich – opening acts often earn $50 or even less per show while headliners get around $200.