If you’ve ever made your aunt spit-take her Shasta with one of your non-sequiturs, you may feel you have what it takes to become a comedian. If you feel like the world needs to hear all the outrageous thoughts you have and you need to be the entertainer you were born to be, how do you start the process of stepping into the spotlight?
If you think of many funny thoughts and laugh at yourself, people will probably think you’re disturbed. Not that that is a problem; it is just slightly disconcerting. So, instead of causing others discomfort, try writing down these thoughts as you go. Keep a journal with you at all times, and every time you make yourself chuckle with your wry observation of the current political situation or how people look like their pets, document that thought. Over time, you will build up a material base to weed through. If you have a trusted friend, share your journal with them and see if you are as hilarious as you think.
The whole sharing thing is like saying, “Hey, look at me naked and tell me what you think about me, all of me, and don’t be nice, really… don’t be…don’t be nice.” Sharing what you’ve thought and written takes courage. You are bearing a piece of your soul, and sometimes that place is a pretty dark, slimy, embarrassingly ugly place full of off-color jokes about nuns and babies with big heads.
Listen, comedy doesn’t happen alone; at some point, you will have to put your thoughts in front of someone besides your mother (who always says you’re soooo funny to your grandma). If you put yourself out there, you might as well try it out on someone you trust and who may think as darkly as you. Allow them to be critical. Well, not too much, but try to have them use the whole compliment sandwich philosophy: something nice, something harsh, something nice. Or tell them to be as much of a jerk as you need. It is going to help you. Really. It is. People paying to see you will not be so nice and will tell you, “You Suck.”
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Take a Class
We have all careers of a herd of comic actors and actresses. Comedy and funny acting is a craft, like painting scenes on rice grains or chainsaw carving. Craftspeople need to practice their art to grow and excel. Craftspeople also do their most significant growth when they are apprentices or guided by someone with much more skill than they have. Schools like Second City provide fertile interactive environments for training and development in the art of comedy. Like a good compost heap, they combine the heat, manure, and rotting vegetable matter to produce a fertile compound for the growth of funny.. Located in Chicago, they have helped launch the
Step on Stage
Whether acting in a comic play or an open mic night, stepping in front of people you do not know to make them laugh is is the number one way to become a comic. Braving the intense, overpowering, debilitating shame of failure in front of people who have paid to see anyone but you will probably build some character in you or start you on the path of supporting your local psychiatrist. Either way, you make someone laugh or get help for the talking to yourself. Win-win.