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     Chili Challis

           Lifetime comedian, comedy writer and coach

My Blog



Posted on July 13, 2015 at 10:47 AM

"More ramble scramble about stand up comedy, as always I hope you get out of it what I intended.”

I was asked once again for a solid key to gaining a voice in stand up comedy. I have answered this question before and I believe over the years my response has changed somewhat. Though I would trust as in everything in stand up comedy, it's all connected.

To directly get to the question of discovering voice I would say a big step would be capturing some honesty about yourself and having the courage to put it out there. That's it.

If I had to pick one way to unearth this honesty I would say it is 'comedian know thy emotional self' AND inject that into as much of your stand up as possible.

How? Well, every observation, every news or pop culture story you write about has an emotional affect on YOU, share that along with your funny twists and trapdoors. Keep it personal and emotional often, even darkness can be compelling, and relief from it, soooo funny. Ask any assemblage.

Rodney Dangerfield quit comedy once but when he returned he returned knowing his emotional world.

It was simply,

I don't get no respect”.

Zero respect was HIS thing and everything that went with it he made HIS own. His emotion was he was hurt, damaged and life just keeps piling it on. When Dangerfield made his entrance you immediately had a sympathy with him and a kinship; because everybody knows the feelings of hurt and being disrespected. Rodney owned that bracket with his audience and the audience felt a deep connection to him. He was a disciple of pain = comedy.

Consider that comedy isn't just about things, it's about YOUR things, and you feel for these things. They bring you comfort or aggravate the crap out of you, one way or another it's almost always about your emotions.

Emotions drive attitudes, and attitudes are the foundation of much comedy.

YOU wanna be funny and noted? Put YOU in your act. Capture your emotional world, your personal hash tags, write your own catch phrases, get in touch with where you're at emotionally and write and perform from there.

But here's a secret.

Make sure that when you're talking about you you you, that YOUR audience gets something out of it for THEM. They have emotions too that need to be addressed if you want to hold their attention when doing any kind of 'skit' for them.

Laughter for certain is an emotional need to fill and a much needed response when working clubs and colleges etc if you want to get return bookings; but remember we're still talking how to develop a voice. So in the big picture they (your audience) has a need to be able to 'take something home', a message, a deeper understanding of themselves perhaps?

Sure, ooor it could be an artful enjoyment of watching a unique honest personality, with an off way of thinking, thrash through his/her dealings and feelings with the universe. …. like Steven Wright or Sam Kinison, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Joan Rivers and maybe YOU.

In short here's the deal, when you have a topic you want to write about, do your best to think of how it affects you emotionally. Comedy is a big 'how do I feel' art form. The more you're in touch with how you feel and your jokes reflect that, the quicker you're going to be able to design a voice for yourself.

Just another sumthin to think funny about.


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