When people ask me how I started doing comedy I always tell the story about how one of my best friends wants to write a comedic movie and decided the best thing to do would be to take a comedy writing class. My initial reaction was, ‘yo, that’s a great idea’ and told him I’d join him. He did some research (he ain’t really do research, he heard from someone that knew someone) and I called the spot they recommended.
At first, there were three of us taking the class together. After I had signed up, I repeatedly reminded them to pay and schedule their class dates and let me know but they never did it. A year goes by and they still frontin’ so I said, ‘I got money on the street so I’ll take the class, I don’t need these dudes to come with me.’
I’ve always been a fan of comedy but I never seriously thought about doing stand up. I thought, ‘I’m too angry to be funny and I don’t like people making fun of me’. ‘On everything I love, if someone makes fun of me, I’m gonna approach em…’ However, I figured let me try and see what the deal is and it’ll give me something new to do.
Nonetheless, I scheduled my 6-week class starting June 2014.
The first reason behind my decision to take a class was that I didn’t know any other way to start doing comedy. I only knew one person that did standup and I haven’t seen him in 18 years so I didn’t even know how he did it.
The second reason was because my boy told me he was gonna do it so I figured he did all the work beforehand.
If you have $500 to spare and 3 hours every Tuesday for 6-weeks…
1. Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions.
For example: “Who are my top 5 favorite comedians?”
If you’re not sure about the answer, go ahead and ask your family members, or friends who they like. Knowing what kind of comedy you like is going to determine what you’re going to write and who’s style you’re going to bite. But if you still can’t think of some off top, go to Youtube, Comedy Central, Showtime, HBO or Netflix and see who has specials. Can’t believe there are so many networks showing stand up comedy.
2. Go To A Couple Of Open Mics
Open mics could eventually be your every day. Check it out in your local area and see if you can, A. sit through 2 hours of online dating stories and dick jokes and B. get up there and talk in front of 4 to 10 people who don’t give a shit about what you’re saying. The way you can find where the open mics are to visit badslava.com or http://www.freemics.com. Both can be sorted by your region/location.
3. Test Your Relationships With The People You Love
It’s easy to get on an open mic stage and say a couple of dick/fart/I’m a stalker jokes but it’s hard to continually ask your friends and family to come watch you say the same shitty jokes every time you want to perform in front of a real audience. They’re going to get tired of you begging them. Your jokes will be hot garbage for a minute. If their relationships mean that much to you, don’t do comedy. Otherwise, bombs away.
4. Learn To Love To Write Every Day
There are times when you’re not going to want to write and you’re not going to want to get on stage and practice and you’re going to think, ‘why am I still doing this?’ Writing IS what you’re going to have to do, Every. Day. Even if it’s not jokes and you’re writing ridiculousness like, ‘My son still sleeps in the bed with me.’
5. Make Time To Go To A Few Comedy Shows
Real comedy shows. Like at your local comedy club. If you’re in or close to NYC, Standup NY, Gotham Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, LOL Comedy Club, The Comic Strip, Dangerfield’s, Greenwich Village, Comedy Cellar, West Side Comedy Club and Carolines are all big spots that have pros every night of the week. That’s a lot of comedy clubs and I’ve performed at all with the exception of 3.
Go to bar shows, a lot of the better ones are listed on http://thisweekincomedy.micshopnyc.com/, they’re all over. This is going to be your motivation, your study hall and eventually your hangout spot
If you do all of this and it’s all positive, then put down that $500 and learn how to write a joke or if you’re still not convinced, check out John Roy’s Entirely Free Comedy Class Online