Stand up comedy course: Week 4

Read my write ups from weeks one and three.

I really enjoyed this week’s class. My set is beginning to take shape. I’m gradually accumulating material and the different parts seem to segue into each other nicely. After the class I was so pumped with adrenaline I had difficulty sleeping.

I’ve been listening back to my jokes on my voice recorder. I’m so glad I recorded myself. It’s very validating to hear people laughing, and it means that I can analyse what I said and make improvements. I got a good laugh for a joke about my English accent, which I am very pleased with as I think I need to address this distinguishing characteristic in front of an American audience.

My strategy has been to write too much, and cut the jokes that fall flat in front of an audience. In this class I was getting good laughs for most of my jokes, but one bit got nothing:

I hate how American TV censors movies
The other night Goodfellas was on. Surely no one could censor that.
It would end up being seven minutes long
Or an hour and a half with commercials

It’s not really a joke. There’s no setup/punch. It’s an exaggeration, and not a believable one. Maybe the joke could be improved by changing the film to something more horrific. Maybe I could try and lead the audience in another direction in the setup. Like this..

I watched a seven minute movie last night
It was the censored version of Saw 6.

Still ultra lame. I’m just going to cut it and move onto something better.

I’m performing at our Toastmasters’ stand up comedy night in just over a week (6.15pm on 25th Feb, check out the website if you’re in San Diego and want to come). It should be a great evening. I’m pleased that my first time in front of an audience of more than four people will be Toastmasters, as they’re likely to be much more supportive and forgiving. But I’m slightly concerned that on a Thursday evening, straight after work, with no alcohol, they won’t be ready to laugh.  And I may have the dubious honor of going first, which means people may still be coming in. I’ll definitely need to use every trick I can think of: instruct the audience to clap the compare; get a laugh in the first 5-10 seconds; keep up the momentum of punchlines; etc.

By Friday I need decided which routines I’m going to use, remove any “unclean” jokes, flesh out any holes that might have left and add segues. Then I can spend the weekend learning it and have a trial run during next Monday’s class.

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