Stand-up Comedy Material: A Candid Discussion

Below you will find a video with a spirited discussion about various types of stand-up comedy material and what really matters most for a comedian to progress.

But before you review the video, please note that the discussion in the video applies to ANY type of stand-up comedy material, whether it be rated G or it is “adults only” material. My comments follow:




Here’s what I believe is most important when it comes to the stand-up comedy material a comedian chooses to deliver on stage:

The ability of a comedian to generate frequent and sustained laughter should always be in the forefront, again regardless of the “type” of stand-up comedy material they deliver.

But a comedian also needs to be satisfied with the stand-up comedy act they deliver. However, that should not be to the exclusion of what any audience will respond to with laughter.

“Cutting edge” comedy material will always be that which an audience can grasp, relate to, appreciate and respond to with big laughs regardless of the topic or subject.

There is what I can only describe as a “catch 22” situation associated with the concept of hack stand-up comedy material.

If a comedian performs material that an audience can easily identify with and respond to (relationships, kids, airplane travel, a DMV experience, sex), then they can get labeled as a hack by other comedians.

But if a comedian does material that is totally “unique”, but an audience can’t relate to, identify with or otherwise appreciate or understand what a comedian is talking about, they simple wont’ get the jokes (which causes a condition where the audience doesn't laugh called bombing).

I have an extensive article about hack comedy material on my other blog.

It only takes a cursory look on YouTube for the most popular comedians to realize that as far as generalized, broad topics go, many talk about the exact same things.

But what makes a comedian’s comedy material truly "original" is the application of their own unique experiences, opinions, observations and points of view that they express about a particular topic or subject.

Every stand-up comedian is the sole master of the stand-up comedy material that they choose to develop and deliver to an audience. 

That’s what gives stand-up comedy its variety and artistic value.

But that artistic value is only realized if the audiences a comedian performs for are laughing on a consistent basis no matter what type of stand-up comedy material they develop and deliver.

To be more specific, any comedian who is able to generate an average of 18+ seconds of laughter per minute is definitively performing at headliner level regardless of the comedian "title" they may hold or the length of time they are performing on stage.

In order to do that an audience must be able to understand, appreciate and/or relate to what a comedian is expressing in their stand-up comedy material, which is not difficult as long as...

A comedian is confident in the stand-up comedy material they have developed, know how to structure that material to get the frequency of laughs they need and prepare to deliver that material naturally and professionally.

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