I entered both Carolina’s Funniest Comic, and Port City’s Top Comic competitions! I’ve made it to round 2 of CFC and have made it to the finals of PCTC! These are my first comedy competitions and I’m havin a great time. Some of my best comedy friends have moved on with me and I’m looking forward to performing along side them in the coming weeks!
Following the Fear
In February I took a stand-up workshop with Comedian and Late Show with David Letterman Talent Coordinator Eddie Brill. He talked about how he likes to write on stage. In other words, saying what comes to mind, seeing what works, then refining it show after show. I thought that was an interesting way to approach the craft. I decided to start doing the same thing because I find that no matter how much I write it often seems forced and unnatural.
I had a show on April Fools day, and instead of worrying about what I would say, or spending hours writing and refining jokes, I made a list in my head of what I wanted to talk about and let it happen. Sure I knew how I wanted to say some stuff, but I didn’t have punchlines, or parts I expected to work. I didn’t put anything down on paper. I wanted it to be organic and genuine. So I stepped on stage with no expectations and 7 minutes to fill. Was it 100% successful? No. Maybe 70%. The times without laughs were longer, but the times people did laugh, they laughed much harder. And it felt great. I wasn’t stuck in my head, I didn’t really worry about what happened next, I just existed on stage and talked to people and said “like” alot. This is how stand-up should be, except for the “like” parts. Another wonderful side effect to working this way is being able to stay 100% true to yourself and your character. When writing traditionally it’s easy to make up stuff you think is funny, and it may be, but why compromise your truth? Nothing is funnier than the truth.
I’m really looking forward to doing more standup in this way and discovering new and wonderful things with the audience.
ZOMG! :0 I just texted what to who?
I often type out ideas for jokes into my phone. Unfortunately it’s not a smart phone and I don’t have a way to keep notes. So I start a text message to twitter, save it as a draft and usually copy the ideas to google docs at a later date. This usually works out well since I rarely tweet from my phone. This is an ass backwards way of keeping notes, but it works for me… scratch that worked for me.
A situation came up to where I needed to DM someone on twitter from my phone so I had to clear 4 pages of comedy ideas. I changed the recipient from twitter to my number and hit send. Unfortunately I got my own phone number wrong and ended up sending the entire rambling list of ideas to a stranger. And it was sent as 4 separate texts.
Here’s what I needed up sending, spelling errors and punctuation atrocities included.
Next time I go for a physical remind me not to wear the boxers with the crabs on them. Gravity waves. Travel universe over shrter sections of waves
(2/4) Use… to use over greater distances locks of love bikers drug test childrens unit hospital or child soldiers marriage fees go towards domestic violence
(3/4) raptors air quotes. True large print braille jonathan space. Rock. Guys who can sing may lead to you not having an asshole i pizza pizzabstoj rap615
(4/4) wendies pray
The text started out strong, but quickly devolved to a stream of consciousness mess. Luckily I know what 95% of these ideas refer to.
As a comedian, it’s important to write ideas down constantly. I’ve found, though, being that guy at a party always tapping ideas into his phone can be pretty douchey.
Fellow comedians, how do you keep the spark of an idea fresh in your mind for later without writing it down? Or like me, have you resorted to going to the bathroom just so you can type your ideas in private to avoid seeming anti-social or jerky?
I was asked to open for Kumail Nanjiani’s Christmas Eve Eve show! I saw Kumail last year and thought he was amazing. I would never have guessed that I would get to do this! I had a really great time.
I was also asked to be part of a Rooftop Comedy / Comedy Central Jokes.com showcase! This show will feature 15 comics doing 5 mins each. This show will be a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to it!
I’m starting to feel more comfortable on stage and my past few shows I’ve had a really fun time with the crowd. I’m slowly adding some new jokes here and there, but still relying on old standbys. Need to start doing a lot more stand-up so I can keep my set fresh. I have up to 15 mins for my NC Comedy Arts Festival set, so I need to get crackin!
Harold, Stand-up, and More or Less.
So what’s been goin’ on? Haven’t posted in a while, got caught up on being a bum. But! some great things have happened since my last post!
Since starting my improv journey at UCB NY and spending a year taking all the improv classes at DSI Comedy Theater ’ve finally accomplished a goal I set for myself. I auditioned and was placed on my favorite Harold team The 708! I really respect and admire all of the players on The 708 and can’t wait to learn from such great improvisers.
I was also placed on Improv Slam! Been fun, getting more comfortable doing short form, good brain training.
I signed up for Sketch 101 again and dropped out again. I was really busy with work, and was unable to complete my weekly assignments. I hate that I’ve dropped out of this class twice now. I’m always coming up with fun quick ideas for sketches when I’m sitting around the house, but I have yet to put the time and energy in to write a “proper” sketch.
Recently I submitted and was accepted to do Stand-up, Sketch (Crunchbot & Friends) and Improv (The 708) for the NC Comedy Arts Festival. I’m really excited to be a part of this and can’t wait for February! I’ll be performing twice for each category and will also be doing some stand-up hosting!
Standin up at the Del Close Marathon
While in NYC for the 12th annual Del Close Marathon, Jesse Jones gave me the opportunity to do some stand-up! There were some seasoned comics on the roster, so I felt great to be part of the show. Here’s the lineup from the evening.
I had a great time, and I’m definitely getting more comfortable, but I see I have a long way to go after seeing how relaxed Mark Normand was while he played off the crowd. I’m lucky if I remember everything I need to say.
It was great seeing which jokes worked in different regions. I’m sure I’ll learn more about that once I start traveling more. I’ll definitely be dropping the hair salon joke, I’ve always felt it was a little hack and weak, but I thought I needed to fill at least 6 mins.
I see this show as a milestone for a few reasons. One, I’ve now performed outside of North Carolina. And two, I have about exhausted my first set of material, so I need to get on the ball and do some writing!
How do you find the most success brainstorming ideas for your standup jokes? Any particular methods that work?
Once I have an initial idea/scenario I ask myself “If this idea/scenario is 100% true, then what else could be true/real in this world?”
Here’s a deconstruction of one of my far from perfect jokes as an example,
Main Idea: I farted myself awake last night.
If I can fart myself awake, what else could my farts do?
Put me to sleep, make me drunk, make me better looking.
Who do girls think is good looking?
Jacob from Twilight.
If I fart myself into him what else could I do?
I could fart myself into a werewolf.
How would being a werewolf affect me?
Being bald, that would be great for me, because I’d have hair. Or on the other side of the coin, it would be bad, because if I’m bald now, I’d probably end up being a bald werewolf.
The variations are infinite. Use each thought as a springboard to another thought. It’s just like the verbal pattern game played in Improv.
Pattern game where word association is used to generate ideas, often referred to as a clover leaf because the pattern arcs out with associated words and returns to the suggestion, and is repeated two additional times.
With the fart joke I started with a main idea based in reality, then I looped out into the craziness of farting myself into a werewolf, then brought it back and grounded the joke with how this insane idea would actually affect the real me.
That said, I’m a novice and I still have a ton of exploration to do in terms of crafting a joke. When writing 90% of my jokes I didn’t use this technique. I guarantee though, if I go back and rewrite them with the pattern game in mind they will get 200% better.
P.S. It also helps to share jokes with your friends, sometimes they will spark an idea or offer one that makes a joke even stronger!
Here’s a quick new joke I tried out at Goodnight’s last week. Sorry for the poor audio quality, hard to find just the right spot to record from.
What happened at the first meeting of Fight Club? Luckily thestanleyhumor and I were on the scene. Hard to believe we recorded this over 10 years ago.
How do I calculate my hours?
Any time I rehearse, practice, or perform I log it. I was hoping I could include the hours I’ve spent over the years making people laugh but, according to wikipedia, that wouldn’t be fair.
So that’s what I will do.
I will also record the hours I spend watching/analyzing comedy but I won’t include them in my countdown.
I need to log 1000 hours a year or about 20hrs a week. I started in 2008, so I’ve got a ways to go. Obviously the amount of time I spend practicing/performing will pick up depending on if I get a job in the field or not.
I’ve got lots of work to do, but I’ll get it done :)