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     Chili Challis

           Lifetime comedian, comedy writer and coach

My Blog


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Posted on June 19, 2016 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (19)
OK so you feel like death is closing in because you haven't really thought of anything new lately?
Quick as you can, get drunk!
Well maybe not that exactly but change your perspective as much as you can, in other words, do something different and while you're at it, make it exciting as you possibly can. 
Adrenaline can unplug writer's block in a hurry and stay with you for days or even a lifetime.
You can also combine adrenaline and words by taking notes during a rant about something that makes your blood boil or moves you. Just go for it and don't hold back. 
In the short time and involving less adrenal gland stimulating you can always go back to old material and write some tags or expansion ideas.
Remember that writing is about putting words to ideas. Don't think words, think images and describe them, your verbal numbness will fade.
Writer's block is no big deal.

It's really only a signal from your creative side you need a change. 
So change and write funny stuff.
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Posted on June 18, 2016 at 9:19 AM Comments comments (9)
Doing stand up comedy is all about making mistakes.
If you're not making them, you're not doing it correctly.
My requests for talents I work with are simple.

One of those requests is, don't try to be perfect, especially when you're just learning, which of course is the state of all of us. If you're new to stand up congratulations, this is about the only time you are allowed to fail, use it wisely.

It was once said that in order to succeed you have to make better mistakes. And that is providing you learn from them.
Comedy is personal and emotional I know but you must train yourself to be objective when things don't go your way.

Staying objective will allow you to learn from your mistakes and that is goal number 1 in mastering anything, including art.

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Posted on June 17, 2016 at 10:39 AM Comments comments (10)
I've always felt that an audience's attention has to be compelled watching your show. In order to deserve their attention over any length of time beyond a 5 minute practice set, I felt I should make all aspects of me and my words trustworthy and authentic. 
I made it a point to develop or (release) a fascinating stage character and be consistent with that character throughout my set. My character (me) has a story and I stick to that story. 
A while back I caught onto the power of allowing the audience in and give them time to breathe while enjoying the laughs. A good stand up knows how to 'stir the positive energy a bit', this can be done with stillness, you don't have to laugh at everyone of your own jokes. ;) 

I've found also that a constant barrage of words kills stand up. Punch lines! Allow the audience a maximum of laughter time and minimum of listening time. (that's my new motto) 
Or at least get to the point and make that point funny, repeat...often. That's stand up ... not everything, but part of it at least. ;)  Go get'em! 


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Posted on June 16, 2016 at 11:37 AM Comments comments (25)

The English language is like a great lover, for every single day it seems somewhat new to me.

We go to wild places this English and I. We open unexplored emotions, irritate and soothe past histories, expose and fire up feelings, and play 'what if?' until tears appear.

We both agree that life's experiences are numb without a true knowledge and experimentation upon one another.

 "Comedy, love it or leave it". 


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Posted on March 30, 2016 at 3:13 PM Comments comments (60)
Woke to a 'comedy teacher's' pitch in my mail trying to sell me their 'formula for writing a joke and becoming a comedian'.
As much as I thought perhaps this was a sly critique of a show I did, it wasn't. What it turned out to be was one of those spam emails trying to capture unwitting newbies and sucking them into paying a small fortune for 'comedy class stuff'. Ugh!
Buy my book!! Buy my Skype comedy lessons!! Buy my nearly completed stand up class you can inject directly into your frontal cortex!! I exaggerate, buuut, well you know, it's close huh?
As much as I believe and have proven in years of practice that some carefully considered coaching done by a skilled and experienced person can be of solid assistance to a comedy talent, it is NEVER going to be simply a formula that will get you there.
Read my lips, NO formula will EVER turn you into the greatest musician, actor, painter, writer or joke writer, EVER, EVER, EVER!
Why? Because a formula will NEVER take you to the places you need to go to write real stand up comedy.
What does? Oh maybe an obsession perhaps? A drive from deep down that's impossible to ignore? A 'funny something' that smolders inside of you that seeps out and is out of your control, you can't help it you make people laugh!??
THEN, MAYBE, you have the right stuff to begin an exploration into IF you've got what it takes to not only do stand up comedy, but to do it justice.
Did I say NEVER??

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Posted on February 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (6)

You don't get anywhere in comedy for being perfect. You get somewhere by recognizing you're not perfect, and set about putting all those imperfections under the comedy microscope. Run them through the ol' comedy lab.
What does that mean?
It means you begin to break down life's hurts, embarrassments, weirdness, to little scenes that can be talked about and/or relived in short emotional performance bursts. The goal being to gain laughter as you release tension on each sharing.
What's to be afraid of? The words will come, just feed your imagination some images and never fear to feel. Then put words to that.
Comedy is big on how things make you feel.
(from family, to commercials, your job, love life, fears and on and on...)
I mean if you want to get noticed you have to remove yourself from doing comedy and get into doing YOUR comedy.
How do you do that? Get to figuring out who you are. Get to know yourself. Ask yourself some hard questions and ask the question... why,... a lot.
Why do you do certain things? Etc. etc.
Stand up is an art form that you can make all about you. It's what you want isn't it? Dare to risk they won't like you. They will, you'll find a way if you're truly meant to do this crazy thing.
That's what you want to know as well isn't it? Are you truly a comedian? If you are stick it out there kids!
Risk and reap! 
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Posted on February 12, 2016 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (9)
I believe I got into comedy because I was called. I'm certain I had little or no choice, exactly like Richard Dreyfus in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'. Since I was a child it was all I ever saw myself doing and I wasn't sure there would ever be any money in it. I just knew comedy was it and that was it.
Lately my meditations have brought be to the real reason I have been so in love with comedy and that is I'm chasing happiness. And in as much as we all chase something in our lives that's acceptable to me. As I race after blessedness and sanctity up and down highways and bi-ways I believe I have learned it is paramount to bring some with me. Especially lately though I feel the irresistible urge to leave some behind. I think that just might be art creeping in? I don't know, more meditating to do.
I determined a long time ago when whatever it was set my soul to that of being a person of comedy and dedicating my life to it, it wasn't a selfish thing. I dedicated my life to comedy and all the people involved in it, good or bad.
I am you and you are me comedy. ;)
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Posted on January 15, 2016 at 8:47 PM Comments comments (13)
Ever ask yourself ...what's your center?
First thing I mean by that question is what is your core feeling or feelings?
Those feelings that make up you. Those feelings you live by. Do you display them in your jokes? Do they come out on purpose or are they accidental?
Do you know you even have them? Am I alone in thinking about them?
Are they exposed in your act? I bet they are.
Also I mean to question you when I ask about your center is what is your place for strength? Where do you go and what do you do when you need reassurance?
Besides being comforting and a good idea to know that when you're about to expose yourself to the eye of the public, I'd have to ask simply...
is that in your act? Could an audience have an idea of how to answer that question if asked after seeing you perform?


How do you hold the audience?
You would think that in stand up comedy the correct answer to this is it would be with laughter right?. You'd be correct for the most part, but of course I'm asking a question with a little more complex I hope.
How do you hold an audience to listen to all of your jokes and funny thoughts and bits?? Is it just by laughter or is it more, and have you checked this out?
By hold of course I mean to ask how do you compel them to want to listen to you? Is there a major theme? A feeling or life lesson that you are relying on to seam and seal your act? Does the audience catch on in the end? Is there a mystery to you that is revealed somewhat or completely in the end?
Are you sympathetic enough and interesting enough that someone would want to share the time and give you the right and responsibility to take up their time?
Stand up comedy is a matter of audience trust btw, it's much like a play where you have to get to know the main character, and of course that character is you, the audience grows to trust you via the laughs and story you present them. Showing competency in both you 'hold' them I'm guessing....and sayin'.
Just some things I think about and has helped me to go over in my act as well as thoughts. I have to say also it seems to make things even better when I apply them in a creative way in my writing for my stand up. It's my belief you can give the audience all of this AND laughs all in the same stream, and it's so good when you do...and now I know more necessary than I ever considered.
File this under other things I wish I had grasp a lot sooner...

...better late than never though. Don't forget to write like nobody is watching.  Peace
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Posted on January 12, 2016 at 12:12 PM Comments comments (28)
Growth in stand up comedy does NOT just happen.
You won't become a better comic simply by getting stage time. You WILL get to be a better comic by SMART use of stage time.
What does that mean? Well keep in mind there are always things you should be working on rather than just taking the stage and strutting your stuff. In the moment on stage while working on future moments all at the same time is a good plan.

If you're serious about stand up comedy there are many things that this could be, jokes, wording of jokes, placing and pacing of jokes, character behind the jokes, potential call back opportunities, listening to the audience as to what jokes really hit, which ones tanked, etc are but a few things that should have your full undivided attention in order to improve, NOT just how long or how short time wise you were on stage. NOT just to see if you could out gross the last comic buddy.

Let's face it, if you're performing for a couple of your smart ass drunk friends at the back of the room you are not getting the most out of your stage time. For your own good reboot everything and start over.

A well known comic out of Chicago (Emo) once told me his method of developing new material was that he would go onstage and try 20 jokes, the next day he would throw 19 of them away. Though that might be extreme, it's an example of the kind of work ethic you have to possess to develop. That is of course if that's your ultimate goal and you're not using an open mic night as a replacement for a bowling night. Something tells me too many are doing just that.
The truth is you should develop at your own pace but effort is a big part of doing that. Smart efforts for sure. Each stage appearance should have personal goals to be met besides simply getting laughs. Sounds strange doesn't it? Each time you're on stage you should be looking to get out new jokes while improving others and your delivery....and oh yeah, get laughs and look so natural while you're doing it.

Keep in mind that it's what you say and HOW you say it that get the really good laughs. Passion should always be there, keep the audience in mind, even if it's just open mic talents.

Don't allow others that aren't willing to do the proper work to bring you down. Put so much thought and effort into your stand up that you inspire them. It's what they want anyway, they're just too proud to ask....or maybe they just don't know. 
Either way be the comic that shows them the way. Be the light. ;)

It only takes one to make a change.

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Posted on December 21, 2015 at 2:22 PM Comments comments (13)
Your ultimate goal should be partners with your ultimate fear. - Lionel Suggs
At the heart of all anger, all grudges, and all resentment, you'll always find a fear that hopes to stay anonymous.”
  • Donald L Hicks
Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scar you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it. - JoyBell C.
Life lessons and comedy lessons are often similar, if you're doing it right that is. I'm thinking people have a hard time understanding their fears because from what I have witnessed they can't get past that second or third question....why?
Why am I doing this? I'm lifting rocks on fear, I'm gonna see what's under there and help talents that need to free themselves of the cold creative killing grip of it...including myself.
Why? I think fear is crippling to an artist. Especially when you're first starting out, but anytime of course.
It has the dark negative potential to freeze up the creative process.
Fear won't allow you to put forth the full effort necessary to see your vision through.
Why? It will inhibit your vision, it will always be cloudy , inconsistent and unsatisfying.
Why is that bad? An unsatisfied artist will get frustrated and ultimately quit or create crap and sellout to the easy, and everyone knows easy is not art. And it won't make anybody want to see what you produce more than a sampling. Easy gets old to an audience.
A few 'gets' to get started on getting over fear.

Get honest.- Get in the moment.- Get a vision.
- Get more positive things in your life.
Now get going on this and go get'em.
(see what I did there??)

I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.”
-Louisa May Alcott

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