[NSFW] Lessons from the Comedy Trenches: Turning Gags into Growth

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Lessons from the Comedy Trenches: Turning Gags into Growth

In the dynamic world of stand-up comedy, maintaining a fresh and relevant routine is as critical as delivering a punchline. A recent conversation with seasoned comedians offers invaluable insights for aspiring comedians taking online comedy improv or stand-up comedy classes. Below, we distill the key learning points into digestible nuggets of wisdom:


  1. Constant Evolution is Key: In the ever-changing world of comedy, relying on old material can lead to stagnation. Just as you would in an improv class, be spontaneous, fresh, and open to constant reinvention. Remember, jokes that killed in the ’90s might not get the same reaction in the 2020s.
  2. Self-Promotion is Essential: Building your brand as a comedian often requires a level of self-promotion. One comedian’s experience as his own publicist reinforces this. Learn how to sell your comedic abilities and performances in a compelling, engaging manner.
  3. Never Stop Networking: In this industry, your network is invaluable. You never know when an old friend might be able to get you a guest set or an opportunity for a new gig. But also, understand the etiquette of networking and respect the grind of others.
  4. Practice isn’t just for Improv: It’s not enough to tell the same joke over and over again. Comedians must refine their craft constantly. Every stage performance should feel like a renewed effort, not a repetition of old patterns. The diligent practice you get in stand-up comedy classes should extend into your live performances as well.
  5. Beware of Complacency: Many comedians fail to grow because of complacency and laziness. Just like in an improv class, constant improvisation and the drive to keep pushing boundaries are essential to maintain relevance and growth.
  6. Embrace the Grind: Stand-up comedy requires hard work and resilience. Whether it’s working the trenches at small gigs or tirelessly promoting on social media platforms, embracing the grind is part and parcel of the journey.
  7. Avoid Repeated Jokes on TV: While repeated jokes can work in certain settings, they are often not as effective on TV. The authenticity of a first-time reaction can’t be replicated. Viewers appreciate originality and spontaneity.

Applying these lessons to your comedy journey can lead to growth and success, whether you’re taking online comedy improv courses or stand-up comedy classes. Remember, comedy is an art form that requires just as much dedication and practice as any other. So, keep innovating, stay authentic, and most importantly, keep them laughing!


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