How to Become a Standup Comedian

Hand microphone,- Stand up comedy

Entering the world of standup comedy can be challenging, but it is an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby or career.

The juggling act between writing jokes, putting them on stage, and improvising is hard to get used to, but with practice and guidance from a mentor, you can master the craft.

What Is Stand-Up Comedy?

Stand-up comedy is a form of stand-up performance that typically consists of a solo comedian performing in front of an audience.

Stand-up comedians often deliver jokes and humorous observations about everyday life, politics, culture and other topics.

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~ The 10 Ways To Learn The Art Of Comedy Writing ~

Funniest Stand-Up Comedians Of All Time

Bob Newhart

George Robert “Bob” Newhart is an American comedian and Actor.

“ I always hated when the studios just kind of said that anybody can act. You look at people like Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda – and I’m just talking about the male actors – there aren’t a lot who can act. It’s a very special talent, and I wish it were recognized as a very special talent.” – Bob Newhart 

Bernie Mac

I’m so black, I leave fingerprints on coal – Bernie Mac. 

On August 9, 2008, Mac died of pneumonia.

Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie” McCullough was an American stand-up comedian, voice artist and actor from Chicago. Mac’s acting career started with a role as a club doorman in the comedy Mo’ Money (1992) and also appeared as Pastor Clever in Friday (1995). 

Redd Foxx

John Elroy Sanford “ Redd Foxx ” was an American comedian and actor.

On October 11, 1991, Redd Foxx died of a heart attack. 

“ Do you realize that if the pilgrims have been chasing bobcats instead of turkeys.. we’d all be eating pu**y on Thanksgiving?! ” – Redd Foxx

Norm Macdonald

Norman Gene “ Norm ” Macdonald is a Canadian comedian, writer, producer, and actor.

“ Comedy is surprising, so if you’re intending to make somebody laugh and they don’t laugh, that’s funny – Norm MacDonald ”

Jim Carrey

Is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and artist. 

“ Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they’re eating sandwiches. ”- Jim Carrey 

Lewis Black

Lewis Niles Black is an American author, comedian, social critic, and actor.

“ Apparently there’s a gun for every american and I don’t have a gun – so someone’s got mine. ” – Lewis Niles

Kevin Hart

Kevin Darnell Hart is an American actor, comedian, and producer.

“Laughter heals all wounds, and that’s one thing that everybody shares. No matter what you’re going through, it makes you forget about your problems. I think the world should keep laughing.” – Kevin Hart

Chris Rock

Is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer and director.

“If a woman tells you she’s twenty and looks sixteen, she’s twelve. If she tells you she’s twenty-six and looks twenty-six, she’s damn near forty.” – Chris Rock 

Eddie Murphy 

Is an American actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter, and film producer. 

” Why don’t white people just leave the house when there’s a ghost in the house? Y’all stay in the house too f**kin’ long. Get the f**k out of the house! Very simple: If there’s a ghost in the house, get the f**k out! ” – Eddie Murphy 

Dave Chappelle

David Khari Webber Chappelle is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer and producer. 

What did the 5 fingers say to the face ? S L A P ! ” – Dave Chappelle

George Carlin

George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, author, actor, and social critic.

Carlin is best known for his black comedy and reflections on politics.

On June 22, 2008 – George Denis died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital.

“ Fighting for Peace is like screwing for virginity”. – George Denis Patrick 

Standup Comedy Tips 

  • Write a joke every day.
  • Keep your jokes simple and accessible.
  • Develop a voice that’s authentic to you.
  • Study other comedians and what makes them funny.
  • Review your jokes before you tell them in front of an audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, it’s part of the process.
  • Have a thick skin, not everyone will like your jokes.
  • Joke about things that people care about.
  • Think about the environment when you are telling a joke, don’t make it too loud or too quiet.
  • Be humble; don’t brag or boast about yourself or your jokes.
  • Be confident and believe in yourself when telling a joke in front.
  • Practice your material in front of a mirror and on stage.

Best Stand Up Comedy Books 

1. Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin - book cover

Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time. This is a must-read for every fan and scholar of comedy history, as well as anyone who’s ever tried to make a living with their funny bone.

2. How About Your Next Book, The Comedy Bible by Judy Carter

How About Your Next Book, The Comedy Bible by Judy Carter - book cover

This is the book you need to know if you’re serious about becoming a comedy writer or stand-up comic. Whether you’re looking for a new way to approach your day job, or are just curious about what it’s like inside the comedy world, this book will have something for you.

The Comedy Bible is a practical, funny, and inspiring guide for aspiring comedy writers and stand-up comics.

3. Seinlanguage by Jerry Seinfeld

Seinlanguage by Jerry Seinfeld - book cover

Seinlanguage is a collection of Jerry Seinfeld’s best jokes, stories, and riffs. It’s like his stand-up comedy: extremely witty and hysterical. You’ll laugh out loud at the same time you’re probably also thinking, “I can’t believe he said that!”

4.Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris’s

Your Next Book Is David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day - book cover

Is a bestselling collection of essays by David Sedaris. His book is separated into two parts. ‘

Part1- consists of essays about Sedaris’s life before his move to Normandy

Part 2 – draws humor from his efforts to live in France without speaking the French language and his attempts to learn it.

5. I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart - book cover

Kevin Hart’s autobiography, “I Can’t Make This Up – Life Lessons” shares some of his most personal stories from his past and reveals a set of circumstances that cast a contrastive but more intimate account on who he was, how he grew up, and his motivations.

A must-read for any aspiring stand-up comedian.

6. Your last choice is Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange

Your last choice is Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange - book cover

Howard Stern is a comedy figure and radio personality that has entertained audiences for decades. His show is full of raw, personal stories told through his unique brand of humor. This book offers readers an exciting look into the world of one of America’s most beloved comedians.

7. How to Write Funny: Your Serious, Step-By-Step Blueprint For Creating Incredibly, Irresistibly, Successfully Hilarious Writing by Scott Dikkers

How to Write Funny- book cover

What Scott Dikkers does is teach you how to write comedy with a sense of humor. He teaches you how to recognize your inner comic, how to write punchlines, how to make jokes funny, and tell jokes.

8. Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy

Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy - book cover

Sick in the Head is a collection of conversations with Apatow, his friends and colleagues, and family members spanning not just his career but his entire adult life. This compilation includes interviews and discussions about everything from childhood memories to the creative process to his experiences as a stand-up comic.

9. Playfully Inappropriate: The Fun Way To Write Comedy by Jared Volle

Playfully Inappropriate: The Fun Way To Write Comedy by Jared Volle - book cover

There’s no doubt that writing comedy is difficult and frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Comedian Jared Volle, an expert in the psychology of humor and creativity, offers comedians and actors a radically different approach to writing comedy.

This book will teach you how to recognize the world around you so that you can incorporate comedy into your conversations with ease.

10. Be A Great Stand-Up (Teach Yourself)

Be A Great Stand-Up (Teach Yourself) - book cover

Logan Murray has been teaching comedy for many years. In his book, he lays out the skills necessary to succeed in the art of stand-up. From a basic show structure that is easy to follow, to some of the most important elements of good jokes – Murray’s lessons are applicable in many fields.

11. ‘The Serious Guide To Joke Writing’ By Sally Holloway

'The Serious Guide To Joke Writing' By Sally Holloway - book cover

This comprehensive joke writing masterclass has been devised for beginners and experienced joke writers alike.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced joke writer, this book has you covered. Writers can save time and energy by using these techniques on every writing project.

What’s The Average Salary Of A Stand Up Comedian ? 

  • $58,258 (USD)/yr – Average base salary 
  • $28.01 (USD)/hr – Average hourly rate 
  • $1,614 (USD)/yr – Average Bonus 
  • Source 

Conclusion

Stand-up comedy is a form of stand-up performance that typically consists of a solo comedian performing in front of an audience.

Keep your jokes simple and accessible.

It takes a lot of hard work to become a comedian, so write every day!

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