Honing Your Stand-up Comedy Skills: Eliminating Filler Words

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Honing Your Stand-up Comedy Skills: Eliminating Filler Words

We all slip into the use of filler words, even the likes of David Letterman or Terry Gross! However, when your stand-up comedy classes or online comedy improv sessions become littered with “um”, “like”, “you know”, and other fillers, it’s time to intervene. Too many filler words can detract from your performance, leading your audience to count each instance instead of immersing in your punchlines. But fear not, here’s a roundup of practical tips to declutter your comedy:


  1. Embrace the Silence: The silence might seem awkward, but it adds emphasis and allows your audience to digest your jokes.
  2. Record and Review: By recording your stand-up routine or online comedy improv session, you can recognize and remove filler words.
  3. Use the “Period” or “Pause” Technique: Replacing filler words with a mental “period” or “pause” can break your reliance on these unnecessary additions.
  4. Take a Breather: Instead of resorting to filler words, simply stop and breathe. This can make you appear more confident and composed.
  5. Identify Your Fillers: Creating a list of your most frequently used filler words can help you become more aware and tackle them head-on.
  6. Ding-a-ling-ling!: With a friend and a bell, you can create an immediate feedback system. Each time you use a filler word, they can ring the bell!
  7. Chunk Your Information: By breaking your sentences into preplanned chunks, you can prevent filler words from slipping in.
  8. Maintain Eye Contact: Direct eye contact can boost your confidence, making you less likely to resort to filler words.
  9. Calm Down Before You Speak: A few seconds of quiet breathing can help you gather your thoughts, reducing the likelihood of fillers popping up.
  10. Gesture with Confidence: Keeping your hands out of your pockets and using gestures can make you appear more confident, reducing your reliance on fillers.
  11. Keep It Short and Sweet: Shorter sentences sound more confident and clear, reducing the room for filler words to sneak in.
  12. Preparation is Key: The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to fall back on filler words. Practice makes perfect!
  13. You Are Your Own Worst Critic: Remember, your pauses probably seem longer to you than to your audience. Don’t be too hard on yourself!

All these techniques can enhance your stand-up comedy classes and online comedy improv performances, helping you to engage with your audience more effectively. Combine these strategies in a way that suits your style. Remember, reducing your reliance on filler words can make you seem more organized, confident, and ultimately, funnier! So get started today, and let’s make your performances shine!


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