A stand-up comedian and freelance writer, Regi Brittain loves life and wants to help you enjoy it!
You Can Do It
I firmly believe that almost anyone is, or can become, funny enough to be a comedian. Sure, some folks will turn out to be A-list headliners, while others might only establish themselves as regional favorites, but you very likely have the skills to be a professional comedian. Let's explore some crucial supporting information.
People Usually Stink the First Time They Try Doing Anything Worthwhile
Think of something at which you are proficient. How good were you the first time you attempted it? By comparison, as a neophyte, you were surely terrible.
Do you think LeBron James came out of the womb fully formed into basketball's G.O.A.T.? Of course not! He had to develop his skills.
The same goes for comedians.
You Need to Ask a Different Question
Don't ask if you are funny enough to be a comedian. Ask, "Am I passionate enough to be a comedian?"
People are going to provide you with a multitude of reasons not to pursue your dream of being a comedian. "You're not funny!" was my first wife's favorite. "Wow! Being funny is hard," was my mom's favorite. And I have heard a variety of people ask, "Do comedians make money?"
As a novice, you don't need to worry about being funny to commit to pursuing comedy as a career. By applying yourself, you can become funny. From Day 1 of this endeavor, you will need the passion and the drive to push past people's perceptions, pessimism, and misplaced protectionism.
To help your cause, avoid any negative influences against your comedic goals, and seek positive, constructive input and mentors.
In Comedy and Life, a Skills-Based Mindset Will Take You Farther Than a Talent-Based Mindset
Most people will tell you that artistic pursuits require talent. Additionally, with regard to comedy, most comedians would agree. They see talent as the foundation on which you build skills. Frankly, most comedians are wrong.
Sure, I know that you can't teach a newt to tell a joke, but I also know that talent is a dubious human construct that keeps the multitudes from pursuing greatness. If you don't want to run with me on this point, consult the works of John Lennon, who once sang, "I don't believe in talent!"
Think About Capacity, Not Talent
Instead of talent, gifts, or some other immeasurable fallacy, we should adjust our mindsets to think about individuals' capacities. If you have the capacity to point out a situation or construct's absurdity, and if you have a good work ethic, then you have the capacity to learn to be funny in front of an audience.
The talent-based mindset wants you to assume that a comic's ability to be funny is a gift. But are comedians born funny? No person was born funny, just like no person ever walked out of the womb. Being funny is a skill, and skills are learned.
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Beware! For some, this is a radical thought. Talent-based mindsets are the norm. I once had one, believing, "You either have it, or you don't!" Frankly, that is B.S.! And now that you know it, you can take action toward your desire to be a comedian.
Repetition Builds Skill
How do you take the steps to become a comedian? Once you are open to growing a skills-based mindset, you simply begin and start building upon your experiences.
Top motivational master Tony Robbins likes to say, "Repetition is the mother of skill."
As a comedian who used to hear silence from the audience and now is accustomed to laughter, I can tell you that Tony is correct. When I started in comedy, I was horrible. (With personal tastes being subjective, some folks surely think I am still horrible. Ha!) Today, I have confidence, go-to material, and a growing professional footprint.
All of that has come from hard work, from taking action. And any future success will be 90% hard work, 10% being in the right place at the correct time, and 0% being born with magic funny dust up my bum!
Actions Conquer Doubts
In the summer of 2018, best-selling author and personal-success speaker Mel Robbins tweeted, "Your doubts create mountains. Your actions move them."
I suspect that most who read this article will arrive upon it by Googling, "Am I funny enough to be a comedian?" And I submit to you that such a query is largely doubt-based.
Doubts are normal. Everyone feels them, and that includes highly successful people. To stop doubting whether you have what it takes to be a comedian, take action toward your dreams from this day forward. I did it! So far, it has worked for me, and it can work for you!
The Fledgling Comedy Career Starter Guide
- Find a comedy open mic you can relatively conveniently attend (or substitute an all-arts open mic).
- Attend that open mic solely as an audience member to get a feel for the atmosphere and show rules.
- Give yourself one month to prepare thoroughly.
- Circle the date on the calendar of the open mic where you will perform in one month.
- Write loads of jokes.
- Pick 10 jokes that you think are your strongest.
- Arrange them with what you think is your funniest joke last and your second-funniest first.
- Practice those 10 jokes, in order, for 30 minutes every day during the week approaching your open mic. (It's fine to use your bathroom mirror and a hairbrush for this practice. Heck! I consider it cute and mandatory!)
- Tell yourself that, no matter what happens during your first open-mic performance, you will keep performing.
- Go to the open mic you circled on the calendar, sign up, be polite, graciously watch the other acts, run to the bathroom five times (that's what I did), wait for your name to be called, and go up there intent to leave it all on the stage.
After this first performance's rush, do not quit. Keep doing open mics until you are ready to pursue paid shows or produce your own paid shows at venues you approach. (Some people religiously perform at open mics throughout their comedy careers. I am in the smallish camp that believes open mics are indispensable confidence-builders initially and detrimental once you are regularly performing on booked shows. Why? The audience and atmosphere at most open mics are very different than you'll find at booked shows. Those booked shows are where we ply our trade once we have learned it.)
Now that you have discovered that you do, in fact, have what it takes to learn to make an audience laugh, get on it immediately! I will look forward to your success, and if we're ever on the same bill and you feel inclined to say thanks for this article, I love hugs!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Travel Chef from Manila on July 19, 2018:
I heard from others that being a comedian isn't an easy job. I agree with them becuase making people laugh require lots of intelligence in order to come up with jokes.