Saturday, March 26, 2011

Writing Comedy

Sorry guys this is a long one.  I wanted to start off with a sort of preamble to my journey to let you know not only where I'm going but how I got here.

                A lot of people ask me where I got both my inspiration for material and how to get up on stage and do what I do.  One of those questions has an easy answer.  I was born into a traveling family so I didn't spend a lot of time in one place.  Anyone else who has done this knows you have to learn to make friends quick or be lonely.  So I quickly found out my talents lie in making my classmates laugh, so I became the class clown.  As I got older I didn't stop despite finding more stability in my high school years.  I became obsessed with stand-up comedy at this time and absorbed as much as I could find to watch.  In turn I would tell my friends about all the hilarious jokes I had heard, they understood that it wasn't my material but my delivery of it was good.  What started out as kind of a nonchalant comment that I should get into comedy slowly became my dream.  Being the class clown I grew up craving attention, possibly because of the lack of it I got at an early stage, which I feel sufficiently explains why getting on stage is so easy for me.

               Once I got to college I found out about all these great comedy open mics in the area and knew I had to start writing because I had no material.  The problem is that I had no idea how to write.  What I decided to do was to carry around a little notebook and write down anything I found funny, whether it be some obscene conversation I had with friends or something I thought was silly about a commercial.  In no time at all I had an entire flipbook full of ideas.  The hard part was figuring out what was actually funny.  My freshman year there was a talent show for my dorm.  At this time my roommate also wanted to do comedy, so we designed a duet set to perform and while our material was somewhat over the line offensive for a campus in the south full of Christians we actually got some good reviews from audience members.  That and a lot of uncomfortable people shifting in their seats.  Here's where the tale gets tragic.

                There were a number of comedy events on campus sponsored by a school organization.  I had joined this group as a way of meeting people in the entertainment industry, however, if I had known then what I know now I would never have joined.  Because of my previous involvement with this organization I was disqualified to compete in any comedy events for fear that if I won it could be seen as biased by the student body.  I was thoroughly pissed, frustrated upset and just about every other negative emotion you can describe for a while.  But I continued to write, determined to not let this keep me down. I managed to establish a campus open mic and perform there.  I had a great deal of positive feedback which for me was a blessing and a curse.  I was overjoyed that people truly liked my material, but there weren't enough shows to perform at.  In the last year a local bar has started its own open mic the is available for performers once a month.

                Finally there was a place in town to regularly perform.  But herein lies the rub.  The relatively same groups of people come every month.  So in a months time I have to write at least 4 new jokes so I don't seem stale.  I haven't been able to use a joke more than twice because of the recurring audience.  This in a way can also be a blessing, it forces me to actively write more and more material.  At this point if I were to perform for a fresh crowd I could probably have at least a half hours worth of material.  My next show is April 17th.  If any of you live in South Carolina it would be awesome if you came out.

52 comments:

  1. Sorry about the group fail... It sucks when people classify you in a certain way to seem "fair". I'm in Texas, but if I was up there, I would love to see you. Come down here after college and I'll pay to see your show! :)

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  2. Stand up comedy seems like it would be a lot of fun, but very difficult to actually do successfully on a regular basis!

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  3. I always wanted to hear a comedian's point of view. Thanks for sharing so deeply :)

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  4. Absolutely Mars, shit could get real.

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  5. Seems tough. Good luck and I hope to read more about your endeavors.

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  6. I'd never be able to make it. More power to you!

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  7. This is actually really interesting. It was a great read and I look forward to more of your stuff.

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  8. nice writting there... you should do a background update :S it hurt my eyes

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  9. Thank you, sorry it hurt your eye. What kind of update are you talking about?

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  10. very interesting read, will follow for sure.
    good luck on your journey!

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  11. Thats good that you're writing a lot of material. Good luck at your next show!

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  12. Awesome, it's good to keep writing and stay sharp. What comedians are your influences or your favorites?

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  13. Wow its hard to say or choose but I would probably go with: Daniel Tosh, Anthony Jeselnik and a little Brian Reagan as my influences. My favorites would include that list plus Nick Swardson, Patton Oswalt and Dave Chappelle. Those three are more storytellers which isn't my style but I love their stuff.

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  14. I think Twitter is a nice place to come up with jokes by following other comedians for inspiration and following trending topics to see whats being talked about.

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  15. I find this helps... Say things like "am I right?" People love it.

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  16. thanks for sharing ur point of view, made me understand comedian better =)

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  17. Joining for more vids like the first post, damn funny sir.

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  18. Wow, thanks for the post! Interesting!

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  19. Great Post, definitely following this blog

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  20. Interesting, excited to see what happens!

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  21. this blog is pretty good keep it up, i enjoyed watching the vids in your previous post. any new vids coming up soon? :)

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  22. I'm waiting for some footage from a friend who is working on a documentary and filmed my last performance along with some other comedians.

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  23. Good luck for your shows man - Requires a lot of confidence and a quick wit, nice work giving it your all

    Cheers! and following

    Mike.

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  24. I think it's awesome that you're practically FORCED to write new material every other day. It really gets the creative juices flowing. I deal with the same thing as a digital artist.

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  25. I would love to do stand-up but I just don't have the balls for it.

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  26. Wow man. Good luck with your shows.and keep up the good work

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  27. Really interesting post. Good luck with the comedy. Stand-up is something that I've always wanted to do, I'm a reasonably funny guy around friends and can make people laugh. I've just never had the initiative to actually give it a go. This post has inspired me though!

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  28. Comedy is pretty cool, I wish i was good at writing it.

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  29. Could you make a blog entry saying what artists inspired you to do what you do...or how you got started?

    I just watched the Bill Hicks documentary recently and it was very interesting.

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  30. Good for you Foto! I hope you send me some of your stuff when you're done. /\ustin: I certainly will, probably later today.

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  31. Thanks for the information on that topic. It was very informative. I look forward to reading more about this topic.

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  32. Perhaps you can get a friend of yours to tape one of your performances? I for one would like to see it, and perhaps give some feedback :)

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  33. My first post has some footage Kevings, if you'd like to look at that. I'll also have more coming soon.

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  34. Dude, I think you have to have a pair to be able to go in front of a public and perform comedy. Mad props

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  35. I do very nerdy jokes whenever I do stand up, and not many people get them around here except in college areas.

    Good luck at the art of comedy!

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  36. You'll make it, you've got what it takes!

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  37. Im not really into stand up comedy
    not sure why

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  38. nice post dude :) good to hear ur point of view

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  39. nice story. thanks for sharing it with us. wish you success in comedy.

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  40. I think you are sitting on a goldmine right now -- document the HELL out of it, SHARE IT, allow the criticism...

    Relish in the glory. Than let me get free tickets!

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  41. man being a comedian sounds a lot harder then i expected, good luck!

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  42. making ppl laugh is a serious business

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