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How to try stand up comedy and avoid being funny at the same time.

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 3

How to be unfunny and lose an audience.

How to bomb a stage like a champ.


As an amateur stand up comic. I've had to sit through a lot of comics that entertained people and kept them distracted from the daily drag. Unfortunately, they were also quite funny, and everyone was too busy laughing to hear all the important things they had to say. Frankly, I've gotten kind of sick of laughter and good times. So for the enlightenment of stand up comedy, here's a few tips to make the night a total bummer and win the silent hostility you deserve.

1. Make the audience numb and bored with repetitive toilet jokes!

I remember a guy who, every night, would basically go through the same itinerary of bathroom/body-function humour. Whether it was an audience of mellowed out stoners at the Amsterdam cafe, or rough longshoremen, I could depend on his nightly on-stage ritual of describing his pooping habits. If laughter could be measured like a heart monitor, it would basically be a few spikes as he tried to shock the audience with the most obscene stuff...then a flatline of silence.

2. Be twelve years old.

At one cozy cafe-like place, in a more suburb-ish part of town, we had a new comedian try out. She was a twelve-year old girl, supported by six members of her family. She wasn't really funny.

3. Refuse to acknowledge the type of audience you have.

At the exact same place and night previously mentioned, the dude earlier mentioned went onstage right after the girl I had just mentioned. Did he gauge the audience first? Figure that maybe jokes that couldn't get longshoremen to crack up would probably be less of a hit with family friendly crowd? Nope. Like a champion, he stayed true to himself and recited the same jokes. Word by word. Poop by poop.

What was interesting about this night, was that the girl and her folks actually sat through the entire act. They actually smiled....polite, glued-on smiles. I think the crowd felt more sorry for the guy than anything else.

Some people say that you should read your crowd and feel the general vibe of the room before starting your act. But really, why settle for laughs and good times when you can get silence and pity?

4. Demand the respect of the audience...No exceptions!

Sometimes the audience just isn't giving you the attention you deserve; sometimes they're bored by the earlier comic, sometimes it's Tuesday and various members of the crowd have to wake up early to go to work...sometimes they showed up hours ago for hockey game and now, instead of winding down the night with their friends, they're forced to shut up and listen to your genius.

If you want to be successful at comedy, taking these kinds of things into consideration will definitely help you--

Oh wait, I'm trying to be sarcastic. Crap...never mind. 

5. Use a ridiculous amount of self-righteous indignation with no consideration for how you are totally blowing things out of proportion.

Go to Jezebel dot com.

Press the print button.

Use as material.

6. Suggest that you are going to stay onstage longer than your allotted time.

If you haven't had a chuckle yet, this chummy threat will be sure to remind the crowd that you're the one responsible for their misery. Just one more joke? Preface it with, "don't worry, I'll only be here for another fifty minutes."

7. ...Actually stay longer than allotted time.

 

 

 

 

Well that's it, folks. Use these techniques on the crowd and you'll be amazed at how quickly everyone shuts up and just stares at you for every single second you are on that stage. Enjoy sweating pacing around awkwardly, and grinning as you stare at the MC and hope to god he gives you the light. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

How to be unfunny and lose an audience.

How to bomb a stage like a champ.


As an amateur stand up comic. I've had to sit through a lot of comics that entertained people and kept them distracted from the daily drag. Unfortunately, they were also quite funny, and everyone was too busy laughing to hear all the important things they had to say. Frankly, I've gotten kind of sick of laughter and good times. So for the enlightenment of stand up comedy, here's a few tips to make the night a total bummer and win the silent hostility you deserve.

1. Make the audience numb and bored with repetitive toilet jokes!

I remember a guy who, every night, would basically go through the same itinerary of bathroom/body-function humour. Whether it was an audience of mellowed out stoners at the Amsterdam cafe, or rough longshoremen, I could depend on his nightly on-stage ritual of describing his pooping habits. If laughter could be measured like a heart monitor, it would basically be a few spikes as he tried to shock the audience with the most obscene stuff...then a flatline of silence.

2. Be twelve years old.

At one cozy cafe-like place, in a more suburb-ish part of town, we had a new comedian try out. She was a twelve-year old girl, supported by six members of her family. She wasn't really funny.

3. Refuse to acknowledge the type of audience you have.

At the exact same place and night previously mentioned, the dude earlier mentioned went onstage right after the girl I had just mentioned. Did he gauge the audience first? Figure that maybe jokes that couldn't get longshoremen to crack up would probably be less of a hit with family friendly crowd? Nope. Like a champion, he stayed true to himself and recited the same jokes. Word by word. Poop by poop.

What was interesting about this night, was that the girl and her folks actually sat through the entire act. They actually smiled....polite, glued-on smiles. I think the crowd felt more sorry for the guy than anything else.

Some people say that you should read your crowd and feel the general vibe of the room before starting your act. But really, why settle for laughs and good times when you can get silence and pity?

4. Demand the respect of the audience...No exceptions!

Sometimes the audience just isn't giving you the attention you deserve; sometimes they're bored by the earlier comic, sometimes it's Tuesday and various members of the crowd have to wake up early to go to work...sometimes they showed up hours ago for hockey game and now, instead of winding down the night with their friends, they're forced to shut up and listen to your genius.

If you want to be successful at comedy, taking these kinds of things into consideration will definitely help you--

Oh wait, I'm trying to be sarcastic. Crap...never mind. 

5. Use a ridiculous amount of self-righteous indignation with no consideration for how you are totally blowing things out of proportion.

Go to Jezebel dot com.

Press the print button.

Use as material.

6. Suggest that you are going to stay onstage longer than your allotted time.

If you haven't had a chuckle yet, this chummy threat will be sure to remind the crowd that you're the one responsible for their misery. Just one more joke? Preface it with, "don't worry, I'll only be here for another fifty minutes."

7. ...Actually stay longer than allotted time.

 

 

 

 

Well that's it, folks. Use these techniques on the crowd and you'll be amazed at how quickly everyone shuts up and just stares at you for every single second you are on that stage. Enjoy sweating pacing around awkwardly, and grinning as you stare at the MC and hope to god he gives you the light. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

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Comments

May 6, 2012 5:02pm
Introspective
I can think of a few comics who made the mistake of doing some of the items you've listed, and that's why they are no longer comics. Fun article.
May 7, 2012 8:38am
JudyE
Interesting read. I've sat through some of these too.
May 7, 2012 3:15pm
Rochester-rising
Thanks. I find the culture of stand up is pretty interesting...a lot of the new guys want to be unique and rebel against the norms...and they end up looking the same.
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