Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How to be a Stand-Up

Tip No.1: Be Funny

This is not as easy as it sounds. These two words, although Zen-like in their simplicity, are incredibly hard to achieve, much like the sound of one hand clapping. (Incidentally, in the world of comedy, the sound of one hand clapping generally means that you're dying on your arse.)

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Tip No. 2: Have a Bad Childhood

This is a vital requirement for all creative types. Your parents can help you a great deal with this one. They may need a little encouragement, but once you've explained what it's for, I'm sure they'll go out of their way to make your formative years a living hell.

With a bit of luck this will lead to massive insecurity, culminating in a desire to win the approval of a room full of strangers. Either that, or a thirst for vengeance on the world, explaining why so many failed comedians become serial killers or wheel clampers.

Tip No. 3: Talk About What You Know

Of course, this implies that you know something in the first place, which is a definite boon, so go and learn about some things. Stop reading this until you have...

Learnt about some things? Good. Now talk about them and make them funny.

Tip No. 4: Get Used To The Spotlight

There are many ways to do this without actually getting on stage. Late night joyriding followed by helicopter pursuit is a cheap and effective way of imitating that onstage vibe.

Or you could just buy a torch.

Tip No. 5: Know Your Audience

It helps if the things you're talking about are things that the audience can relate to in some way. For example, a middle class audience in a commuter town will respond much better to your whimsical anecdote about shopping bags ripping than your screaming tirade about the crazy layout of B wing and which of the screws are on the take.

Tip No. 6: Remember You're The Daddy

Once behind the mike, the comedian, even if female, takes the role of the Alpha Male in the room, and should stamp out any rivals, e.g.) hecklers. Pheromones are an important weapon in your arsenal, and it never hurts to mark your territory before a gig by peeing in all the corners.

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