How to start a career in stand-up comedy

Have you been thinking about pursuing a career in stand-up comedy? What are some of the key ingredients for success?

25 January 2018

Like any other creative initiative, working on stand-up comedy will require a lot of perseverance, hard work and being open to criticism. Of course, there’s no formula to sucess, but if this is truly your passion, here are a few ideas which can help you out in the beginning:  

Develop your material
Make sure you dedicate time to work on your material. Write down ideas – you’ll want to have enough material to cover about 30 min of performance. In the beginning, you might not have that much time to perform, but it’s always best to have more content and then select what it is that you want to present.

Start with friends & family
In the beginning, organize small events (in your home or office) and invite your friends and family to come see you act. This will allow you to get a reaction from the crowd and slowly improve your performances. After you feel more confident and have enough strong material, try out an open mic.

Money won’t come easily
Stand-up comedy is not something you will leave your job for, unless you have saved enough money to work on it “full time”. Most comedians who are working their way up have permanent jobs which they can rely on for an income. Your job should allow you enough time to prepare your content and perform on evenings and weekends.

Hustle for yourself and put yourself out there
No one will be coming after you for gigs, especially if you’re just starting. Get yourself out there, visit bars, speak to promoters, comics and open mic organizers. You will get invaluable experience from performing at open mics.

It will take time
Have you ever heard about the 10.000 Hour Rule? Author Malcolm Gladwell says "it will take you roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field". In simple words, things will not work out magically – it will require a lot of time and perseverance. Think about it: how much time are you putting into your gigs, preparing material and networking?

Did you enjoy reading these tips? If you’re working on your content and need some inspiration, listen to some ideas from Ultimate Comic judge Jalang’o in a video here.

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