4 Thing I've Learned Writing Standup Comedy

I love standup comedy. It’s an incredible art form. Standup Comedians who can tell stories and be funny are the people that I admire the most. 

I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the world of comedy. Mostly, I’ve done sketch and improv. But for the past 6 weeks, I’ve been taking standup seriously, trying to figure out if it’s something I can do. 

Here’s a clip of a recent attempt:

If you watched the clip, thanks for your time. It definitely an adventurous spirit to click to play an 'amateur comedy' video. 

Whether you believe it or not, it was tough to write that material. I know that I still have a lot of work to do to get even decent at standup. But I'm definitely learning.  

Here's what I threatened to talk about in the post title – the 4 Things I’ve Learned So Far:

1. Find Your Point of View
Your POV is the most important part of the performance, because you need to be yourself on stage. If you don’t believe the joke that you’re presenting on stage, the audience won’t laugh. Finding the Poley POV has been a fun challenge. 

2. Telling the Same Joke Twice is Hard
It’s fun to present a joke for the first time and get a reaction. It’s much harder to present it a second time – because you aren’t present in the moment in the same way – you have to remember what’s funny about the joke.

In the clip above, I totally stumble through the second joke segment because I've done the joke before. I know what I think is funny, but I'm missing the original energy because I've told the joke before. 

3. Collaboration is Inevitable
Whether you’re collaborating with the audience or other writers – the responses you get to your jokes tell you what is funny. At some point you have to humbly accept that you might not know what is funny about an idea and that the audience knows more than you do. It’s also been incredibly helpful to perform in front of other comedians who can give you their .02 about what worked and didn’t work 

4. Being Vulnerable is Freeing
Being onstage and being yourself is an incredible, therapeutic experience. I’ve performed improv and sketch on-stage and felt good about my performance, but I was never making myself vulnerable in the same way that I have performing standup.