So you’re interested in doing stand-up comedy? There is really no clear way or sure fire formula for 'how to be a comedian' (unless Dave Chappelle or the owner of Comedycentral is your next door neighbor). Much like any other goal or dream you, it requires a lot of work, and you get back what you put into it. If you stick with it and keep your confidence, it can be a rewarding career path with travel perks and tons of job flexibility… Not to mention you can make money doing something you always dreamed about.
Like most, you will not be able to earn a living at first. Most stand ups have a day job and do open mics at night for free in hopes of getting comfortable with their act. Once you have a solid performance and real original material you can start commanding money for performing (hopefully). We live in the world of the internet so you might want to try marketing yourself online via Facebook & Youtube. If one of your videos goes viral and is shared a lot you can be an overnight success. You could even sign up for a Youtube partner program and start making money by placing ads within your video. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself you need to generate capital.
- Get out and see as much comedy as you can in clubs. Even if you're not quite ready to get on stage just yet, there are a ton of connections, club owners and promoters and fellow comedians that you can meet and see perform that will help you get some better ideas after seeing them on an open mic style night.
- Carry a pen and pad around with you always. You never know when a joke or comic style inspiration will hit you. You need to be able to jot it down at a moments' notice and hopefully you can eventually turn this into an act.
- Be yourself and perform in your own style. Nobody wants to buy tickets for a guy impersonating Larry The Cable Guy. Don’t steal jokes and always try to be true to yourself.
- Get up on stage during an open mic night at a local comedy club. I know this seems super scary to do and you’ll probably bomb, but it’s the best way to get used to learning the art of live comedy. It will help you feel out what material you wrote works and what does not. There really is no alternative for doing this live and this is probably the most important rule here. So just do it already!
- Tape yourself when you get up on stage. This is really important for reviewing your flow and getting better. A video or audiotape will help you examine everything you are doing wrong or right in fine detail and tweak it.
- Get up on stage... Right now!
- Don't be afraid to bomb!