Stand-Up Comedy: 11 Life Lessons Learned on Stage (Part 1)


I’ve been performing stand-up comedy for nearly two years.  My first actual “show” was in March 2013, but I began writing and practicing in January of that year.

I am (by far) a newbie at stand-up. But…nevertheless…I have learned a few things along the way.

These lessons that I’ve learned aren’t necessarily new to me. Or new to probably most of you.

But…they are certainly important life lessons that have been (once again) confirmed.

11.  Patience, truly, is a virtue.

When I first started telling my “jokes,” there were a lot of blank faces staring back at me. But. I didn’t give up. I took the critique. I took the constructive criticism. And I learned from it. I had patience. I took my time, and developed skills that were required to tell jokes onstage, and make people laugh.

Plus – patience comes in handy when you have to wait 17 hours backstage before the club puts you up on stage.

10. A lot of people are full of s**t

Yeah, that’s right. I said it. It’s true. And you know it. I have met so many people (mostly in the entertainment industry) who just blow hot air from their mouths. Promises. And promises. But, nothing ever gets done. It’s amazing how many people over-promise, and under-deliver. I’m not sure if people in the entertainment industry are more prone to be “full of BS.”

But man, I have met an exorbitant amount of people who just talk and talk and talk. But never deliver.

I try to live by the good old-fashioned value of … doing what you say you’re going to do. If you have no intention of doing something, then don’t waste everyone’s time by promising you will.

9. Be prepared.

When I first became a lawyer, one of my bosses told me that the key to being a great attorney is to be prepared. Know your stuff. Do your research. Understand your environment. And, it was true. The prepared lawyer always sounded more intelligent. More “together.” And that was because they did their homework.

Same thing in stand-up comedy. Know your set. Know your jokes. Because the audience can spot a fraud from a mile away. And, they will certainly let you know it. By not laughing.

Being prepared in life is so important. Doing things of significance with a half-ass attitude will only lead to problems. Take a couple of extra minutes to prepare for your next endeavor. You won’t regret it.

8. Enjoy yourself.

Just have more fun. Being serious all the time is such a bore. For you, and for everyone that knows you. Be silly. Make dumb jokes. And relax. That’s the thing about being on stage. If you take it too seriously, you are missing the whole point. You are making people laugh. Not discovering the cure for cancer.

Have a good time. I have learned that enjoying yourself in everything you do in life is a way better approach than being an uptight robot.

Smile…and…live a little.

7.  Be grateful.

Be grateful that you have the health and wherewithal to get on stage. Be grateful that you have family and friends who come to your shows to root for you. Be grateful that you have a blue sky above you, and dirt beneath your feet. Life is fleeting, so be grateful for everything you have. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

6. Know your audience.

Speaking of audiences. You better know them. Because if you think that a group of 20-year-old college kids are going react to your jokes the same way as a group of 70-year-old women will…you are sorely mistaken. You may be able to make them laugh at your jokes, but they are probably all laughing for different reasons.

Same goes for any situation in life. Know who you are talking to, and modify your approach accordingly. We all have unique personalities, and if you want to achieve something with a person, it is in your best interest to find a way to relate to them.

8 replies »

  1. Thank you for liking “America’s Ancient Past: Part 1.” I don’t plan on doing stand-up comedy, but I admire your courage to do this. Unpredictable and unfriendly audiences are hard to face even if you are prepared. It sounds like you enjoy doing stand-up despite these drawbacks, and that is what will keep you going. 🙂

    There is something wonderful about performing on stage when you are spot-on and know that you have successfully established a connection with the audience. It is a magical moment when the audience is with you instead of against you, and the joy of bringing joy to someone else through your performance is a fantastic feeling. I experienced this when I sang in front of an audience for my voice classes and knew that I sang well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said! Thanks for the comment, as always. Yes, I do enjoy doing the stand-up but it has become increasingly more difficult to get stage time due to my other obligations. But, I will continue to do it as a nice hobby which allows me to release my inner goof-ball!! Do you still sing??

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome. 🙂 Yes, I understand about not having enough time to do everything because of work and other obligations.

        I still sing at home but not in public. The last time I sang to people was a few years ago at my previous job. I was talking to one of my co-workers, and I ended up mentioning singing for my voice classes. He wanted me to sing then and there! I was nervous because I was unprepared and had not sung in front of an audience for awhile at the time. However, he liked my voice so much that he wanted to hear me sing again after I had time to prepare. Two other co-workers found out about my singing and wanted to hear me sing too.

        I ended up giving three mini-concerts because I sang to each one of them individually. All of them seemed to enjoy my performances. One of them thought I could sing professionally. However, by that time I had been out of the spotlight so long that stage fright set in. The only way I could get through these performances was not to look at them and sing with the lyrics in front of me. I think singing for them was also challenging because I sang a capella. When you sing without music, you are more self-conscious about your voice.

        I am glad that I came across your post. It helped me remember how I was able to get through three semesters of voice class when I was in college. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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