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     Chili Challis

           Lifetime comedian, comedy writer and coach

My Blog


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Posted on November 17, 2016 at 9:33 AM Comments comments (88)
Bad set? 
Remember this...

It happens, to everybody.
It's not the end of the world. It is a learning opportunity.
It's not always the crowd's fault. BUT they can play a part.

It doesn't matter if it was a small crowd. Personal funny stuff goes over even in very intimate surroundings. Don't tune your timing and mind to big laughs, just laughs, that's all you seek.
*Booming laughs from a big crowd is just small individual groups of people laughing all at once. ;)

Too many bad sets in a row is a red flag that signals back to the drawing board. If you're really into it you will happily do that.

Consider seeing through the absurdity and remember the only rule in comedy is that you commit 1000% to having fun with it. No matter what it is you want to express in your comedy, if it's anger, confusion, frustration, angst, whatever it is, inside your head you must be having fun or it's no good for stand up.


Posted on November 5, 2016 at 8:19 PM Comments comments (11)
I really dislike the phrase, but let's face it, some people (too many people) genuinely do have a stick in their ass. What does that mean exactly? Well to me it means that too many of their thoughts come predetermined, all of their so called 'knowledge' is basically rhetoric or life slogans of some sort that save them the trouble of real thinking.
Sadly, I believe religion parcels out too much of that. And nothing worse than an inspirational sports idiom dropped on you during a true life crisis...oh man. Thank you for zero help there.
Anyway, back to the stick. It tends to remain there despite years of living due to the fact these poor helpless souls NEVER take a good honest look at themselves. They live life willfully distracted. 
Why? I guess because it's difficult thinking, which of course they don't like in the first place. Add to that it's arduous due to the fact you can't just visit or revisit past pros and cons and solve them in a sit-com or daytime drama length of time.
No half hour solutions here. You gotta feel sorry for the ones that don't even consider taking the time and making the effort to help themselves by simply getting to know … themselves. Honestly. It's an investment I strongly recommend. Talk to yourself or with soulful person at least, and for god sakes, listen.
Comedy message here? Simple.
The more you get in touch with what makes you tick, the funnier and more original all of your material is going to be and the healthier stronger artist/human being you will become.  
You want that, don't you? 


Posted on September 7, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (11)
If there is a formula in stand up comedy that I approve of it is this, in all of your thoughts & jokes you must get to the point and then make THAT point funny, repeat. Simple sounding but not so.
You must isolate a topic, (do that for the audience so they can easily follow you) then twist that topic to a near breaking point, then break it to allow the audience a release of laughter.
THEN move on to the next point, even if your next point in on the same theme.
Why? Because stand up is meant to be performed and performance is immediate.
The beauty of prose is it can ramble, you can have many ideas going at one time, funny can be in many levels because people are reading it and so they can re-read it if they need to catch on or catch up.
In stand up your audience doesn't have that luxury, they are listening to you in a the good ol' American half-hearted way and so need to be lead and even reinforced occasionally as to what your topic is and what you're making fun of.
In Dave Letterman's classic desk piece 'The Top 10 List', he repeated what the topic was several times during the reading of the top 10 jokes. He did this to reinforce the setup and set the timing. A stand up must do this, 1. to keep a distracted audience's attention and 2. to keep a punch line timing rhythm going. 
That is stand up comedy. Simple isn't it?


Posted on August 23, 2016 at 1:24 PM Comments comments (9)
10 Things New Comics Do To Sabotage Their Stand Up Sets.
1)...over think everything causing too much personal anxiety. Comedy is side of the eye type brush with reality. Don't even try to be perfect, many times it's funnier if you're off a bit. So relax!
2)...use too many unnecessary words and descriptions. In stand up you cannot ramble. No extra words. Use just the words the audience needs to understand your punch line.
3)...haven't given enough thought to who they are or what they really want to express in their comedy. Give some consideration to your complexities. There's TONS of material waiting for you there. Who are you? Find out, write about it.
4)...too much unnecessary movement that comes across as a nervous stagger to the audience. It grows tiring to watch. Strike a comedic pose or if you move, make it mean something and do it on purpose.
5)...back up on punch lines. When you deliver a punch it should be with confidence and moving forward or at least standing your ground. Backing up or moving away on punches denotes ill confidence. The audience picks up on it whether they immediately realize it or not. It's a negative.
6)...inconsistent character. You're nice, you're a demon, you try a clean joke, you say an awful thing, you do a smart joke, you use a dumb over the top sexual bit, you then try to go back to a clean joke...on and on.
7)...if an audience doesn't get a joke you batter them with insults about being stupid.
8)...mumbling, not speaking up, unclear thoughts or reasoning thereby over complicating a simple thought.
9)...looking down too much. This cuts you off from audience, they want to see the expressions on your face.
10)...not having a real set in mind. You should have a strong opening, a few funny things in the middle and a strong closer.
Say good night you've been a great audience.


Posted on August 13, 2016 at 10:47 AM Comments comments (100)
  If you want to write comedy begin small. 
Write about the little things, the in between moments, take something that isn't funny and purposely exaggerate it and make it funny.
You don't have to begin your million dollar script or book idea, it can be as simple as a few twists on your thoughts on a small notepad or phone screen.
Watch a TV program and critique it in a funny way.
Rant about something you don't like or that confuses you and write the high points down. Do what you can to capture the moment.
That's it, you're writing. Go for it. 


Posted on July 25, 2016 at 12:39 PM Comments comments (74)
Just learned of another long time career comedy pal being 'downsized' from his position in a comedy organization.
The positive side is as most comedy 'lifers' he's not just going away, he's hitting the ground running by immediately calling in some chips and starting his own circle of comedy related projects that include creating rooms, shows, special events, room management etc.
Here's my point, I'm seeing a lot of comedy circuits, rooms, TV studios, etc etc leaning towards the younger market and so eliminating the over 50 and 60 age bracketed comedic talent.
Can't say that's real astute of the youth craving comedy business. You see all they're doing is creating competition. There's a reason comedy 'lifers' hold that title....they're in it for LIFE. It IS their life and they're not going away. You let them go and they spring to life creating their own circuits and events, their own agencies and appeal to a very very large boomer and area aged market.
I mean no ill will to the younger talents. I support them more than most older comics and they know that. That is the way things go.... an appeal to and service towards a growing younger market is the way it is. I for one am way good with this and anybody that is familiar with me knows I assist younger talents constantly. In this art/business the dropping of or deliberate not hiring of senior talent s less than insightful is what I'm saying. This is NOT a competition, it's a sharing of younger AND older markets that very often live side by side in the very same cities. And it's happening now. Catch the FOF train.... (Funny Over Fifty)

Some comedy clubs, agencies and studios seem blind to this, too bad for them. It's coming, actually it's here, so there's no stopping it.
Age, whether young or old, WILL be served as long as there is a proper market. That's why they call it show BUSINESS. Fortunately for comedy it's shared and split nicely right now and for the coming years. Take heart senior comics, agents and managers.... this is the new comedy aftershock boom going on. It's happening. Join us! 


Posted on July 21, 2016 at 9:01 AM Comments comments (245)
You need more than jokes to be a good stand up. Scary thought isn't it?
Though there is no question great jokes give a big assist to going over well, a comedy talent still has to add so much essence.

Tell me, have you ever seen somebody butcher a great joke? The point that makes is simple, jokes can't stand alone.

There has to be a build, a story, a powerful personality packed with funny consistent attitude that suits the comic delivering those jokes. THEN you have stand up comedy. THEN and only then do you have a potential to become great.
Jokes + Involved Character = Success


Posted on June 29, 2016 at 10:58 AM Comments comments (7)
When to write? I never wait for a perfect time to write. The perfect time to write is when and where you feel it, and you know what I'm talking about. It can also vary as to time and place. Writing is like lightening, you never know, it just hits and you must be prepared to capture it in a bottle. 

For many who have other occupations and can't afford to stop everything and sit down at any moment and write, I would advise at least having a system in place to capture your thoughts, (feelings and images). 
A small digital recorder, pocket sized notebook or a quick note on your phone will help.
Great things have been scratched down on the back of bar napkins since forever, ask any comedian.
If you do have time to sit down and inspire inspiration then good for you. Remember to allow it to flow, don't worry about construction etc at first, this is how you get writer's block. Allow your images out and just have fun, put words to your feelings when you can but don't think about building yet. As the Beatles sang to us, let it be. And it will be. 


Posted on June 27, 2016 at 10:53 PM Comments comments (6)
Lately in every stand up set I do I attempt at least a couple of jokes/bits etc that scares me. I started this to keep stand up exciting for me after so many years. 

I can honestly say I wish I had began much sooner. 

Dare to risk. 


Posted on June 21, 2016 at 12:07 PM Comments comments (309)
Laughs per minute can no question be the measure of a comic.
What is a good rate? A laugh about every 10 secs says you're at that top of your game.
That's correct, 6 solid laughs per minute for every minute of your set.
Don't dismay, a good 4 laughs per minute is fine most times...but make them booming.
Now the question of 'storytelling' comics usually comes up. 
No problem, all you have to do is to listen to a great storytelling humorist, they are usually very compelling speakers, possess outstanding voices, mimics and situations. Annnd they get laughs along the way to their big finish.
If you have the talent for this by all means go for it.
Now it could be said that all comics are storytellers, some just choose shorter stories. 
So now you know about LPM's.