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.