I found this article when I was looking up the definition of “riffing” for a project and I think it’s pretty funny. Although some of it is true, it basically says “riffing is a surefire formula for disaster and don’t try it, but some professionals are good at it though.” Hmm…how do you think professionals got good at riffing?
You think they just one day woke up and did it well? Doesn’t make any sense – riffing is the same as any other skill in comedy. You just have to get up there and try stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work. So you try something different. It doesn’t mean “you should never riff unless you’re a professional.”
I did some further research on Steve Roy and I found this hilarious article he wrote about how his “Killer Stand-Up Comedy System” is NOT a scam. If you have to write a post about how your “system” definitely is not a scam (so don’t worry) I feel like that’s pretty…telling.
If you want a good, free online course for comedy check out John Roy’s free online comedy class. Steve Roye even sounds like a ripoff on John Roy! Look I know nothing about the guy so maybe he is legit, but regardless I find this stuff fun.
So this video starts out saying,
“Did you ever notice how many jokes start with “Did you ever notice?” And what’s the deal with “What’s the deal?” There’s a lot of funny to be found simply by noticing the ordinary, everyday things you don’t ordinarily notice every day.”
And I was like “Whoa! How did they know that this joke I’m working on right now starts out with ‘what’s the deal with dolphins?’ What are the chances?! This person must know a thing or two about comedy.”
Other things I noticed about this video:
- it shares a lot of advice about asking questions, being specific, archetypes, surprise, mind mapping, observation vs. imagination, character, story, rule of 3, punch lines, and k words, but I feel like it leaves out the most important thing: get on stage
- the bunny helps me follow along
The video is written and narrated by Cheri Steinkellner, an Emmy-award-winning comedy writer.
Here’s a fantastic, pretty brief list of advice from New York City comedian Mike Lawrence on starting out in New York.
I’ve seen Mike Lawrence performing all over New York. He still comes to open mics once in a while to try out new stuff even though he’s a working comic who writes for Inside Amy Schumer, which I think is cool. He takes it seriously.
Here’s a great Modern Comedian video about him, too.
I found this quote from Norton a little while ago and I think it’s definitely an interesting thought. On one hand I agree, but on the other hand I don’t want to be whiny and all, “COMEDY IS AN ART TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!!!” Because you can’t take it too seriously. It’s comedy!
“Why is comedy the only form of the arts where people think they have to agree with or approve the content? You don’t walk through a museum with a towel and throw it over paintings you don’t like.”
This quote is from Jim Norton’s special American Degenerate. Jim Norton is great because he’s one of the main voices on this subject. He’s also one of the only more political comics who I find really funny.
Remember Nick Vatterott? I posted about him a week or so ago. Well, I found this really cool site called Sketchpad Comedy which is focused on helping people with sketch comedy and is based in St. Louis. And, one of their first blog posts is an interview with Vatterott. And it’s pretty great.
It has a lot of great advice about how to get started writing and that sort of thing. It also has some awesome videos from Vatterott. One of those is the cold open sketch he wrote for the Critics’ Choice Awards (hosted by TJ Miller) and the other one is his Late Night With Jimmy Fallon appearance. The sketch was awesome, but I was even more impressed by his tight 5. The set he put together for Fallon was so well put together and memorable that it makes me want to get way better! I’ve attached those videos below.
One great piece of advice that Vatterott shares in the interview is…
“Be prepared for the things that you want, so that when they come your way you’re ready for them. Don’t blow you’re chance to be seen by a club owner by getting an audition when your not ready, when your comedy is still hit or miss. Wait to get the audition when you’re killing on a regular basis. You don’t want to do an audition just crossing your fingers hoping you get it, you want to destroy and walk off the stage leaving them with no choice but to book you.”
I’m looking forward to more from Sketchpad! Seems like a fun site with good people.
Eli Sairs is a great comedian in NYC and I see him at The Creek and the Cave all the time. He wrote this funny piece for the The Interrobang about how you can get people to compliment you after you have a monster set. I like it.
As he says, “New York comic Eli Sairs runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.”
This is a piece that I can’t remember how I found about how comedy is a luxury. It’s a great message for comedians: do your bestest because the people who are listening don’t have to be there.
The writer of the piece is Mike Logan, a Philly comedian. You can find his blog here and twitter here.
Apparently, we share the same mindset:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin
I’m still in the “being ignored” stage.
Originally found on ComedianU.
Here’s a little list of things to know when you’re starting out comedy that I did not write. But it’s pretty short and pretty good advice, so I like it.
It was written by Hollis Gillespie, a humor columnist/writer and comedian who lives in Atlanta.
As I’m getting ready to launch a podcast with my comedy friend Matt (who also happens to be my roommate), I’ve been trying to find out more about what it takes to make a good podcast.
I just found this list of comedy tips that a comic named Simon Caine has compiled on his website from all his podcasting. He podcasted for a full year (34 episodes) and compiled all the best advice he got from each episode. The best thing is that his guests are people “from the industry,” so they kind of know what they’re talking about. Haven’t had a chance to actually listen to his podcast yet, but the tips are super helpful, and I think the podcast idea is really terrific. Just asking people questions about how comedy works can get you to a much better level of understanding.
Some of the episode topics look fascinating and I’m excited to give the episodes a listen!