Stand-up comedy is a comic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them. The performer is commonly known as a comic, stand-up comic, comedian, comedienne, stand-up comedian, or simply a stand-up.In stand-up comedy, the comedian gives the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a shtick. Some stand-up comedians use props, music or magic tricks to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedy is stated to be the "freest form of comedy writing" that is normally regarded as an "extension of" the person performing. The improvization of stand-up is often compared to jazz music. A comedian's process of writing is likened to the process of song writing. A comedian's ability to tighten their material has been likened to crafting a samurai sword.
In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience by making them laugh. This might take many forms including jokes, satirical observations, amusing situations, acting foolish or employing prop comedy. A comedian who addresses an audience directly is called a stand-up comedian. Other practises include the sitcom, sketch comedy and improv genres.
Dialogue is a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literary and theatrical form that depicts such an exchange. As a narrative, philosophical or didactic device, it is chiefly associated in the West with the Socratic dialogue as developed by Plato, but antecedents are also found in other traditions including Indian literature.
Some of the main types of humor in stand-up comedy include observational comedy, blue comedy, dark comedy, clean comedy, and cringe comedy. Alternative stand-up comedy deviates from the traditional, mainstream comedy by breaking either joke structure, performing in an untraditional scene, or breaking an audience's expectations; this includes, but is not limited to, the use of shaggy dog stories and anti-jokes.
Observational comedy is a form of humor based on the commonplace aspects of everyday life. It is one of the main types of humor in stand-up comedy. In an observational comedy act the comedian "makes an observation about something from the backwaters of life, an everyday phenomenon that is rarely noticed or discussed." The humor is based on the premise of "Have you ever noticed?", which has become a comedy cliché. "Observational humour usually took the form of long monologues of personal narrative, and the punch-line was either hard to predict or never came."
Ribaldry, or blue comedy, is humorous entertainment that ranges from bordering on indelicacy to gross indecency. It is also referred to as "bawdiness", "gaminess" or "bawdy".
Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence, discrimination, disease, sexuality, religion, and barbarism.
Stand-up comedy is often performed in corporate events, comedy clubs, bars and pubs, nightclubs, neo-burlesques, colleges and theatres (audiences will give applause breaks more often in theaters). Outside live performance, stand-up is often distributed commercially via television, DVD, CD and the internet.
A comedy club is a venue—typically a nightclub, bar, casino, or restaurant—where people watch or listen to performances, including stand-up comedians, improvisational comedians, impersonators, impressionists, magicians, ventriloquists, and other comedy acts. The term "comedy club" usually refers to venues that feature stand-up comedy, as distinguished from improvisational theatres, which host improv or sketch comedy, and variety clubs.
A bar is a retail business establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, liquor, cocktails, and other beverages such as mineral water and soft drinks and often sell snack foods such as potato chips or peanuts, for consumption on premises. Some types of bars, such as pubs, may also serve food from a restaurant menu. The term "bar" also refers to the countertop and area where drinks are served. The term "bar" is also derived from the metal or wooden bar that is often located at feet along the length of the "bar".
A pub, or public house, is an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, which traditionally include beer and cider. It is a relaxed, social drinking establishment and a prominent part of British, Irish, Breton, New Zealand, Canadian, South African and Australian cultures. In many places, especially in villages, a pub is the focal point of the community. In his 17th-century diary Samuel Pepys described the pub as "the heart of England".
In stand-up comedy, from the time the audience enters the building,their feedback is instant and crucial for the comedian's act. Audiences expect a stand-up comedian to provide 4-6 laughs per minute, and a performer is always under pressure to deliver, especially the first two minutes. A comedian's ideas and jokes will fail nine out of ten times; this potentially requires a comedian to write hundreds of jokes to create a set. It can take an amateur comedian approximately 10 years to gain the techniques needed to be a professional comedian, this is a constant process of learning through failure.
As the name implies, "stand-up" comedians usually perform their material while standing, though this is not mandatory. Such acts performed while seated can be referred to as "Sit-down comedy".
"Comedians are more likely to exhibit psychotic[-like] traits" than the average person; most comedians display "magical thinking" and are "introverted[ly]" "anhedoni[c]."
A hack is a pejorative term for a comedian with rushed, unoriginal, low-quality, or cliché material.
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.
When a comedian unintentionally plagiarizes from any source, it is often a result of cryptomnesia.
A stand-up comedy show may (rarely) be one comedian; a multi-person, showcase format; or the traditional opener, feature, and headliner.A traditional format typically features an opening act known as a host, compère (UK), master of ceremonies (MC), or simply opener who, for 10-12 minutes, usually warms up the crowd, interacts with audience members, makes announcements, and then introduces the other performers; this is followed by a middle/feature act that lasts 15-20 minutes but is expected to have "30 minutes of solid material"; the feature act is followed by the headliner, who performs for "an hour." The second definition of an opener is applied when the opening act of a traveling comedian may perform a 25-minute set (the opener doubles as a feature). The "showcase" format consists of several acts who perform for roughly equal lengths of time, typical in smaller clubs such as the Comedy Cellar, or Jongleurs, or at large events where the billing of several names allows for a larger venue than the individual comedians could draw. A showcase format may still feature an MC.
Many smaller venues hold open mic events, where anyone can take the stage and perform for the audience, offering a way for amateur performers to hone their craft and possibly break into the profession, or for established professionals to work on their material.Industry scouts will sometimes go to watch open mics. Breaking into the business requires "10 minute[s]" of "A" material. Roadhouses (remote clubs) start booking people for "20 minutes of 'A' material." "A" material is, equal to or greater than, getting a big laugh "75% of the time."
Bringer shows are open mics that require amateur performers to bring a specified number of paying guests to receive stage time. Some view this as exploitation, while others disagree. [ citation needed ] because there is usually better audience turnout.The guests usually have to pay a cover charge and there is often a minimum number of drinks that must be ordered. These shows usually have a showcase format. Different comedy clubs have different requirements for their bringer shows. Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, for example, usually has ten-person bringers, while Broadway Comedy Club in New York City usually has six-person bringers. In the '90s, the New York Comedy Club had pre-shows that were bringer shows; they also had audition scams with an "accelerated pre-show program." In metropolitan areas, bringer shows may potentially give comedians better exposure than open mics,
This is an unpaid, five-to-ten-minute time slot (during the emcee's time slot of a professional show) that is essentially an audition to get booked for paid gigs.
In stand-up comedy, a joke is made of a " premise ... point of view ," and a " twist " ending, respectively.A joke contains the least amount of information necessary to be conveyed, understood, and laughed at. Most of stand-up comedy's jokes are the juxtaposition of two things that do not go together. According to the founding editor of The Onion, there are eleven types of jokes. Stand-up comedians will normally deliver their jokes through the use of a typical joke structure and comedic timing, delivering setups (premises) and punch lines (twists), respectively. The comedian's delivery of a joke--the pause, inflection, "ener[gy]," and look--is "everything." Comedians often include taglines (dependent punchlines that follow another punchline ) and toppers (independent afterthoughts that follow a punchline). Some sources may use tags, toppers, and afterthoughts as synonyms.
A jokoid is a placeholder joke, where a funnier joke will eventually replace it.Stock jokes are similar to jokoids (as placeholders) and are hack jokes that are for "specific situations." A paraprosdokian is a popular method that is used by comedians, creating a surprising punchline that causes the listener to reinterpret the setup. Stand-ups will often use the rule of three. Comedians will normally include stylistic devices, tropes, idioms, and wordplay.
A traditional set is made of jokes (setup and punchline), bits (a joke or "3 or 4 jokes"), and chunks (multiple bits linked by a topic that may last "10-15 minutes").Long bits must have the biggest laugh at their endings. Once a setup is established for a bit, the proceeding "jokes" should get shorter and shorter. A segue is the link between jokes. A callback is a reference to a previous joke. The result of a callback is often an inside joke with the audience. If a comedian's joke doesn't land, they will perform a save: an acknowledgment of the joke not working. Bombing refers to when a comedian has failed to get multiple intended laughs. The quality of a comedian's material is more important than their persona. A good comedian will create a tendentious-like tension that the audience releases with laughter. This is known as a relief/release laugh. A comedian's stand-up persona/voice consists of the type of material they perform, the format of the material, the aggregate set, the comedian's rapport with the audience, and the comedian's "own identity."
When a set is consistently bombing, most comedians will perform crowd work by communicating with audience members to save face; much of crowd work is prewritten with added improvisation.Some comedians will use small talk that directs audience members to answer "a question" that the comedian "[has] a topper" for. Other comedians will become more intimate with their questions until they get multiple big laughs, before moving on.
A heckler is a person who interrupts a comedian's set. Hecklers do nothing but hurt a show.Comedians will often have a repertoire of comebacks for hecklers. Comedians will sometimes get into physical altercations with hecklers.
A comedian who punches down is committing a comedy taboo by criticizing an individual or the collective whole of a disenfranchised group of people that they themselves are not a part of.Comedian Seth Meyers coined the term clapter: when an audience cheers for a joke, that they agree with, that is not funny enough to get a laugh.
In addition to memorization through on-stage practice/blocking,some comedians employ the memory palace technique to remember their jokes, write their jokes over and over, or others have a set list in front of themselves (which, for professionals, may be on cue cards or a stage monitor).
Although the expression is a 20th-century creation, 'Stand-up comedy' has its origin in classic Parrhesia in 400 BC used for cynics and epicureans in order to tell the reality without censorship.
Stand-up comedy in the United Kingdom began in the music halls of the 18th and 19th centuries. Notable performers who rose through the 20th century music hall circuit were Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey, Ken Dodd and Max Miller, who was considered to be the quintessential music-hall comedian. The heavy censorship regime of the Lord Chamberlain's Office required all comedians to submit their acts for censorship. The act would be returned with unacceptable sections underlined in blue pencil (possibly giving rise to the term "blue" for a comedian whose act is considered bawdy or smutty). The comedian was then obliged not to deviate from the act in its edited form.
The rise of the post-war comedians coincided with the rise of television and radio, and the traditional music hall circuit suffered greatly as a result.[ citation needed ] By the 1970s, music hall entertainment was virtually dead. Alternative circuits had evolved, such as working men's clubs. Some of the more successful comedians on the working men's club circuit—including Bernard Manning, Bobby Thompson, Frank Carson and Stan Boardman — eventually made their way to television via such shows as The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club . The "alternative" comedy scene also began to evolve. Some of the earliest successes came from folk clubs, where performers such as Billy Connolly, Mike Harding and Jasper Carrott started as relatively straight musical acts whose between-song banter developed into complete comedy routines. The 1960s had also seen the satire boom, including the creation of the club, the Establishment, which, amongst other things, gave British audiences their first taste of extreme American stand-up comedy from Lenny Bruce. Victoria Wood launched her stand-up career in the early 1980s, which included observational conversation mixed with comedy songs. Wood was to become one of the country's most successful comedians, in 2001 selling out the Royal Albert Hall for 15 nights in a row.[ citation needed ]
In 1979, the first American-style stand-up comedy club, the Comedy Store was opened in London by Peter Rosengard, where many alternative comedy stars of the 1980s, such as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle, Craig Ferguson, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson began their careers. [ citation needed ]The stand-up comedy circuit rapidly expanded from London across the UK. The present British stand-up comedy circuit arose from the 'alternative' comedy revolution of the 1980s, with political and observational humor being the prominent styles to flourish. In 1983, young drama teacher Maria Kempinska created Jongleurs Comedy Clubs, now the largest stand-up comedy chain in Europe. Stand up comedy is believed to have been performed originally as a one-man show. Lately, this type of show started to involve a group of young comedians, especially in Europe.
Stand-up comedy in the United States has its roots in various traditions of popular entertainment of the late 19th century, including vaudeville, English music hall, burlesque or early variety shows; minstrel shows, humorist monologues by personalities such as Mark Twain, and circus clown antics. With the turn of the century and ubiquitousness of urban and industrial living, the structure, pacing and timing, and material of American humor began to change. Comedians of this era often depended on fast-paced joke delivery, slapstick, outrageous or lewd innuendo, and donned an ethnic persona—African, Scottish, German, Jewish—and built a routine based on popular stereotypes. Jokes were generally broad and material was widely shared, or in some cases, stolen. Industrialized American audiences sought entertainment as a way to escape and confront city living.
The founders of modern American stand-up comedy include Moms Mabley, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, George Burns, Fred Allen, Milton Berle and Frank Fay all of whom came from vaudeville or the Chitlin' Circuit.They spoke directly to the audience as themselves, in front of the curtain, known as performing "in one". Frank Fay gained acclaim as a "master of ceremonies" at New York's Palace Theater. Vaudevillian Charlie Case (also spelled Charley Case) is often credited with the first form of stand-up comedy; performing humorous monologues without props or costumes. This had not been done before during a vaudeville show.
Nightclubs and resorts became the new breeding ground for stand-ups. Acts such as Alan King, Danny Thomas, Martin and Lewis, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers and Jack E. Leonard flourished in these new arenas.
In the 1950s and into the 1960s, stand-ups such as Mort Sahl began developing their acts in small folk clubs like San Francisco's hungry i (owned by impresario Enrico Banducci and origin of the ubiquitous "brick wall" behind comedians)or New York's Bitter End. These comedians added an element of social satire and expanded both the language and boundaries of stand-up, venturing into politics, race relations, and sexual humor. Lenny Bruce became known as 'the' obscene comic when he used language that usually led to his arrest. After Lenny Bruce, arrests for obscene language on stage nearly disappeared until George Carlin was arrested on 21 July 1972 at Milwaukee's Summerfest after performing the routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (the case against Carlin was eventually dismissed).
Other notable comics from this era include Woody Allen, Shelley Berman, Phyllis Diller, and Bob Newhart. Some Black American comedians such as Redd Foxx, George Kirby, Bill Cosby, and Dick Gregory began to cross over to white audiences during this time.
In the 1970s, several entertainers became major stars based on stand-up comedy performances. Richard Pryor and George Carlin followed Lenny Bruce's acerbic style to become icons. Stand-up expanded from clubs, resorts, and coffee houses into major concerts in sports arenas and amphitheaters. Steve Martin and Bill Cosby had levels of success with gentler comic routines. The older style of stand-up comedy (no social satire) was kept alive by Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett, who enjoyed revived careers late in life. Don Rickles, whose legendary style of relentless merciless attacks on both fellow performers and audience members alike kept him a fixture on TV and in Vegas from the 1960s all the way to the 2000s, when he appeared in the wildly popular Pixar Toy Story films as Mr Potato Head, who just happened to share Don's grouchy onstage mannerisms. Television programs such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show helped publicize the careers of other stand-up comedians, including Janeane Garofalo, Bill Maher and Jay Leno.
From the 1970s to the '90s, different styles of comedy began to emerge, from the madcap stylings of Robin Williams, to the odd observations of Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres, the ironic musings of Steven Wright, to the mimicry of Whoopi Goldberg, and Eddie Murphy. These comedians would serve to influence the next generation of comedians.
Modern stand-up comedy in India is a young artform, however Chakyar koothu was prominent in Trivandrum and southern Kerala during the 16th and 17th centuries. It had all the attributes of modern stand-up comedy and is widely considered to be the oldest known staged comedy act anywhere in the world.[ citation needed ]
Even though the history of live comedy performances in India traces its early roots back to 1980s, for a long time stand-up comedians were only given supporting/filler acts in various performances (dance or music).[ citation needed ]
In 1986, India's Johnny Lever performed in a charity show called "Hope 86", in front of the whole Hindi film industry as a filler and was loved by audience. His talent was recognized, and he would later be described as "the iconic comedian of his generation".
It was not until 2005, when the TV show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge garnered huge popularity and stand-up comedy in itself started getting recognised. Thus, a lot more comedians became popular and started performing various live and TV shows. The demand for comedy content continues to increase. Some popular comedians around 2005-2008 include Raju Srivastav, Kapil Sharma, Sunil Pal etc. Most of them performed their acts in Hindi.
Raju Srivastav first appeared on the comedy talent show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge . He finished as second runner-up and then took part in the spin-off, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge — Champions, in which he won the title of "The King of Comedy".Srivastava was a participant on season 3 of Bigg Boss . He has participated in the comedy show Comedy Ka Maha Muqabla.
Kapil Sharma is ranked no. 3 at the most admired Indian personality list by The Economic Times in 2015.Currently he is hosting the most popular Indian comedy show "The Kapil Sharma Show" after "Comedy Nights with Kapil". Sharma had been working in the comedy show Hasde Hasande Raho on MH One, until he got his first break in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, one of the nine reality television shows he has won. He became the winner of the show in 2007 for which he won 10 lakhs as prize money.
Sharma participated in Sony Entertainment Television’s Comedy Circus .He became the winner of all six seasons of "Comedy Circus" he participated in. He has hosted dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 6 and also hosted comedy show Chhote Miyan . Sharma also participated in the show Ustaadon Ka Ustaad .
Around the 2008-2009, two other popular comedians Papa CJ and Vir Das returned to India and started making their marks on Indian comedy scene. Both of them were exposed to UK and US comedy routines and they performed mostly in English. At the same time, a few more youngsters got inspired and started taking plunge into stand-up comedy.
Since 2011, the stand-up comedy has been getting substantial appreciation.[ citation needed ] The Comedy Store from London opened an outlet in Mumbai's Palladium Mall where people would regularly enjoy comedians from UK. The Comedy Story also supported local comedians and helped them grow. This outlet eventually become Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai.
Around 2011, people started organizing different comedy open mic events in Mumbai, Delhi (and Gurgaon), Bangalore. All of this happened in association with growth of a counterculture in Indian cities which catered to the appetite of younger generations for live events for comedy, poetry, storytelling, and music. Various stand up events were covered by popular news channels such NDTV / Aajtak etc. and were appreciated by millions of viewers.
As a result of these developments, plus the increasing penetration of YouTube (along with Internet/World Wide Web), Indian stand up comedy started reaching further masses. While the established comedians such as Vir Das, Papa CJ were independently growing through various corporate / international performances, other comedians such as Vipul Goyal, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill grew popular through YouTube videos. The industry, still in its early stages, now sees a lot more influx of aspiring comedians as it transforms the ecosystem around it.[ citation needed ]
Mark Twain and Jerry Seinfeld, both American masters of stand-up comedy, believe in practice and rehearsal. Twain prepared, rehearsed, revised and adapted his material for his popular humorous presentations.Seinfeld says: "Most contemporary comedy is profane, outraged and disposable" but his philosophy is to give the best that he has.
Comedy schools work with new comics to workshop material, assisting comics work to overcome stage fright and better their writing skills by helping their classmates improve their sets.Comedy schools offer improvisation classes for comics so that they are more comfortable straying from written material such as when dealing with hecklers. Improvisation is also necessary when working among crowd and interacting with the audience.
Stand-up comedy is the focus of four major international festivals: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland; Just for Laughs in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario in Canada; HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Melbourne, Australia. A number of other festivals operate around the world, including The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy and Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, the Sydney Comedy Festival, and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland. Radio hosts Opie and Anthony also produce a comedy tour called Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour, featuring their own co-host, Jim Norton as well as several other stand-up comedians regularly featured on their radio show. There is also a festival in Hong Kong called the HK International Comedy Festival.
The festival format attracts attention from the media to the art of stand-up and is often used as scouting and proving ground by industry professionals seeking new comedy talent.
Comedians in the USA and Canada audition for the National Association for Campus Activities, to hundreds of college and university bookers,first with a 90-second video submission, and then a ten-minute, in-person audtion to perform hour-long sets. Sets must not trigger students by "punching down," contain any denigrating material, or contain dark or blue humor; it must be "intelligent humor" and contain subjects that college-aged adults express contempt for.
Higher education, that was once seen as the bastion of free speech is now criticized by comedians for being too PC (politically correct).Many famous comedians no longer desire to perform at colleges and universities. Famous comedians who criticize college campuses are mostly middle-aged, white males.
The Cruise Lines International Association contains 60 cruise liners. Comedians work an average of two days per week; this circuit is said to not aid in moving up in the field.Cruiseliners have both clean comedy and blue comedy at different times during the day, but opinionated political material is frowned upon. Hecklers are tolerated more in a cruise setting.
Corporate circuit comedy must be clean comedy that neither swears nor references sexual acts; church (or “squeaky clean”) comedy is preferred; two celebrities that perform this type of comedy are Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan. In a lecture given at the University of Oxford, Stewart Lee stated that his character is unable to do corporate gigs, because he takes on the role of being superior to his audience.
The Christian Comedy Association started in the 90s, in an attempt to use comedy as a "spiritual vehicle."Comedian Doug Stanhope has criticized Christian comedy. Heckling is almost nonexistent in the church circuit. Christian comedy is clean comedy that does not punch at religion and supposedly helps one's soul.
Many comedians have day jobs. In a comedian's first five years, they will often lose money doing comedy.Comedians will sometimes be paid for their performances with alcoholic beverages. A stand-up's first comedy job will often be emceeing.
As of 2015, hosts and MCs are paid $0-$150, depending on location and the time of week (emcees average $25); showcase spots get $10-$75; features get approximately $300-$500; a headliner with no following gets $150-$1500, depending on many factors; headliners with a following can make $1,500+. The headliner makes "10 times" more money than the feature act. Famous headliners get paid from "door deals," or a percentage of the revenue, based on the number of seats sold; these comics rely on their notoriety to fill seats, which makes them more money than headliners with no following.
In 2012, Comedy Central routinely offered $15,000 for a half-hour special.As of 2015, Comedy Central will pay comedians about $20,000 for a thirty-minute set; an hour, Comedy Central special can be up to $150,000 ; as of 2018, Netflix will pay comedians $26,000+ for a fifteen-minute set; Netflix pays celebrity-comedians wildly different amounts from one another.
The cruise-circuit comedian can make up to $10,000 per week,some $85,000 per year; and, a college-circuit comedian can make six figures per year or thousands of dollars per gig. Christian circuit comedy headliners make $1,500-$2,500 per show.
Famous comedians may pay lessor comedians thousands of dollars for jokes and hire them on as writers.Mark Normand states that a set on Conan will pay "a couple grand" for five minutes.
Many of the earliest vaudeville-era stand-ups gained their greater recognition on radio. They often opened their programs with topical monologues, characterized by ad-libs and discussions about anything from the latest films to a missed birthday. Each program tended to be divided into the opening monologue, musical number, followed by a skit or story routine. A "feud" between Fred Allen and Jack Benny was used as comic material for nearly a decade.
HBO presented comedians uncensored for the first time, beginning with Robert Klein in 1975, and was instrumental in reaching larger audiences. George Carlin was a perennial favorite, who appeared in 14 HBO comedy specials.
Continuing that tradition, most modern stand-up comedians use television or motion pictures to reach a level of success and recognition unattainable in the comedy-club circuit alone.
Late-night talk shows and award show ceremonies are commonly hosted by comedians, delivering monologues similar to stand-up.
Since the mid-2000s, online video-sharing sites such as YouTube have also provided a venue for stand-up comedians, and many comedians' performances can be viewed online.
An Amazon TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, depicts the fictional life of a woman comedian, set in the late 1950s. She often interacts with Lenny Bruce.
William Melvin Hicks was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist and musician. His material—encompassing a wide range of social issues including religion, politics, and philosophy—was controversial and often steeped in dark comedy.
David Khari Webber Chappelle is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. After beginning his film career in 1993 as Ahchoo in Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Chappelle landed supporting roles in box office hits including The Nutty Professor, Con Air, You've Got Mail, Blue Streak and Undercover Brother. His first lead role was in the 1998 comedy film Half Baked, which he co-wrote with Neal Brennan. Chappelle also starred in the ABC TV series Buddies.
David Attell is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. He is best known as the host of Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell, which earned him a cult following. Fellow comics Patton Oswalt and Bill Burr have hailed him as the greatest off-color comedian alive.
A heckler is a person who harasses and tries to disconcert others with questions, challenges, or gibes. Hecklers are often known to shout disparaging comments at a performance or event, or to interrupt set-piece speeches, with the intent of disturbing performers and/or participants.
An open mic or open mike is a live show at a coffeehouse, nightclub, comedy club, strip club, institution or pub at which audience members who are amateur performers or professionals who want to try out new material or plug an upcoming show are given the opportunity to perform onstage. Typically, as the name suggests, the performer is provided with a microphone which is plugged into a PA system, to make the individual's performance loud enough for the audience to hear. Often the performers sign up in advance for a time slot with the host or master of ceremonies, typically an experienced performer or the venue manager or owner. The master of ceremonies may screen potential candidates for suitability for the venue and give individuals a time to perform in the show. These events are focused on performance arts like poetry and spoken word, music, and comedy. Less commonly, small groups, such as a small rock band duo/trio or a comedy duo may appear. Group performances are uncommon, because of the space and the logistics of loading in and soundchecking such a group. In strip club terms, amateur night is a contest for everyday women and men who compete for a cash prize by taking their clothes off just like everyday strippers.
James Christopher Gaffigan is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He was raised in Chesterton, Indiana. His material is often about fatherhood, observations, laziness, and food. He is also regarded as a "clean" comic, using little profanity in his routines. He has had several successful comedy specials, including Mr. Universe,Obsessed, and Cinco, all three of which received Grammy nominations. His memoir, Dad Is Fat (2013) and his most recent book, Food: A Love Story (2014), are both published by Crown Publishers. He co-created and starred in a TV Land television series based on his life called The Jim Gaffigan Show.
Ned Arnel Mencia, known professionally as Carlos Mencia is a Honduran-born American comedian, writer, and actor. His style of comedy is often political and involves issues of race, culture, criminal justice, and social class. He is best known as the host of the Comedy Central show Mind of Mencia which produced four seasons before being cancelled in 2008. Around this time, Mencia received several accusations of plagiarism in his stand-up routines.
Keith Robinson is an American stand-up comedian and comic actor.
Neal Brennan is an American comedian, writer, producer, and director.
Peter Benedict Holmes is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and podcaster.
George Carl was a "vaudevillian" style comic & clown. Carl was born in Ohio, and started his comedy career traveling with a variety of circuses during his teenage years. In time, Carl would become internationally famous as a clown and visual comedian. Johnny Carson, a fan of Carl's, invited him to appear on The Tonight Show on March 21, 1985 when Carl was 69. His appearance was so well received that he was asked back within weeks for a second appearance which also received raves from viewers. He appeared again on May 27, 1986 doing essentially his same act and received great laughter from an obviously appreciative audience.
Joke theft is the act of performing and taking credit for comic material written by another person without their consent. This is a form of plagiarism and can, in some cases, be copyright infringement.
Daniel Dwight Tosh is an American comedian, television host, actor, writer, and executive producer. He is known for his deliberately offensive and controversial style of black comedy, as the host of the Comedy Central television show Tosh.0, and as the star of stand-up comedy tours and specials.
Katherine Ryan is a Canadian comedian, writer, presenter and actress, based in England. She has appeared on British panel shows including Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, A League of Their Own, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, QI, Just a Minute, Safeword, and Have I Got News for You. In 2015, she replaced Steve Jones as the presenter of Hair on BBC Two. As an actress, she has appeared in the Channel 4 sitcom Campus, BBC Two sitcom Episodes and Don't Sit in the Front Row with Jack Dee.
Michael Patrick "Mike" Lawrence is an American comedian and writer from Davie, Florida. He formerly resided in New York City and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Joke Thieves is a conceptual stand-up comedy show format created and hosted by the British comedian Will Mars. It was first staged at the London comedy club Downstairs at the King's Head in June 2013. The show later debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year, drawing capacity crowds nightly, and again at the 2014 and 2015 festivals. Joke Thieves has since toured internationally, featuring a changing line-up of established stand-up comics, character comedians and occasional sketch groups. After a couple of years of one off performances, the Sketch group version of the show enjoyed its first full run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015.
Gregory D "Greg" Wilson, better known by the stage name The Greg Wilson, is an American comedian, actor, and voice actor based in Los Angeles. He is best known for his role as Arno Blount in the 2008 movie The Hottie and the Nottie.
“Comic Perversion” is the fourteenth episode of the fifteenth season of the American police procedural-legal drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In the episode, a comedian, who makes jokes about gang rape to his audiences, is put on trial after it emerges that he has raped a young woman. Towards the end of the episode, Chicago P.D. character Erin Lindsay visits the Manhattan Special Victims Unit to obtain information regarding rapes that are occurring in Chicago. This episode continued in Chicago P.D. episode "Conventions".
On the whole, you have to give the illusion that it’s a dialogue
I was demonstrating tricks eight to twelve hours a day
[Stand-up] is the only art-form where the intended receiver of the art is present at the delivery, and the art form can be altered according to their appreciation of it, as you go...[like] jazz or improv [theatre]...[The comedian is not limited to] tempo and key.
I'm looking for the connective tissue...link [between bits]. You will shave letters off words. You count syllables...to get it just...it's more like songwriting
the way they [used to] make samurai swords…they bang it…fold it…bang it again…fold it and keep banging it…they pound on it…fold it so that they’re squeezing out all the oxygen...just keep making it perfect…write another hour, and then fold it into that one. And then, get rid of all the impurities and all the bad stuff, and then keep doing that.
A show begins the moment the audience walk into a venue.
Comedy club audiences...expect upwards of four laughs per minute.
If a comedian wants to generate headliner laughter levels, they need to average 4-6+ laughs per minute.
The first two minutes is very important with a stand-up
I call the first two minutes, your flash. And that’s where you…go up there and…hook them with whatever material it is, so that they know exactly what’s funny about you and they trust you and they’ll come along with you for everything.
For every ten jokes you tell, nine will be trash…you’ll need hundreds and hundreds of failed jokes to build a decent body of work.
failure is the road to being a great comic…failure is not succeeding in the moment
For every ten jokes written, only one might be acceptable
A stage presence comes pretty quickly [but] how to write jokes and how to generate material and know it’s going to work; [concerning these, the] first ten years are building the [base] skills
Yeah, bombing can be good…you grow up and realize it’s about continuing to work. It’s about making progress.
One week, I opened for a show...I was now capable of doing two different twenty-five-minute sets per evening
Open mikes are where, as a comedian [like Daniel Tosh and his controversy], you’re supposed to be allowed to fuck up.
the next day, my friend who was also on the show [in a theatre above a porn shop across from the Port Authority], told me a scout from casting at Fox was in the audience and they wanted to meet with him.
it gets tarred with the brush of new-act exploitation and lumped in with less scrupulous nights and the insidious blight of pay-to-play...[but] I, personally, have found it to be a very nice room.
Some clubs require 10 bringers/show. If you show up with 9 people, you will not get on and your friends will not get their money back.
Clubs like Caroline's will ask for 15 people.
we can craft a joke just by creating and then defeating that specific expectation...introduction, validation, violation
a joke is a context-free and self-contained unit of humor that carries within itself all the information needed for it to be understood and enjoyed.
It seems like 99% of comedy comes from juxtaposing two things that don't seem to go together
You turn it into a juxtaposition of two ideas and create jokes.
Taglines are...very short [jokes that are]...delivered right as the original laughter from the punchline is dying down.
A jokoid fills the place on the page where a genuinely funny joke will eventually go
Stock jokes are jokes that a comic has...that are pretty much hack jokes used for specific situations...they should only be used in certain situations until you can think of something better.
They have a parades department. New Orleans police department has a parades department. There’s homicide, there’s narcotics, and there’s parades. There’s other departments too, but you know, rule of three, for comedy.
[Three is the] cadence [that makes] it the most important number in comedy.
a bit, 3 or 4 jokes in and around one central theme or idea…[and then] 10-15 minutes, we call that a chunk
If you have a long bit, the biggest laugh has to be at the end. It has to be. It can't be in the middle or the beginning.
Since the setup has already been established, the second, third, and fourth jokes are short, shorter, shortest.
A save is what you say or do to acknowledge that a joke didn't work.
when the material is good, you can overlook anything
The classic theorist would be Freud. Tendentious jokes…a difficult or edgy subject is going to create a certain tension in the audience, and having created the tension, if your punchline is funny, the laugh is bigger.
A good standup creates a tension in the room, which the audience wants to break with laughter. If you can do this, any punch line will work as a release valve.
Every time you start a joke, you create some tension...If the joke works, then all that stored is released at the punchline in the form of laughter.
I would call that a relief laugh…like release laugh.
You start off, and you want to be like your heroes…you start out under the naive belief that you get to choose your style…[but] your style of comedy chooses you…it's a misnomer when people say you need to think about your persona…its all bollocks about persona and timing. I didn’t set out to be a one-liner comic, but I was shit at everything else.
don't stop [your crowd work with a single audience member] until you've got [approximately] 4 big laughs.
Hecklers don’t make a show memorable. They prevent a show from being a fucking show. Comedians do not love hecklers.
I have a list of three or four [comebacks]...and the rest will be off the cuff
Go to festivals, because that's where you get noticed by the media...[and] gauge [yourself against] everybody else.
[A comedian] can talk about [their] experience, but [they] can't make fun of someone else's identity.
Thus, college comedians can mock those groups "liberal" students deride—Evangelical Christians, Scientologists, working-class rural males—yet they dare not even flirt with jokes about race, gender, and sexuality.
I stopped playing colleges…because they’re way too conservative…in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody.
Judy gold is one of many famous comics, including Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock who say they avoid playing college campuses, because they believe younger audiences can't take a joke.
It is notable that the majority of the most vociferous critics of today's student audiences—Seinfeld, Maher, Gottfried, Louis CK, Dennis Miller, Larry the Cable Guy—are middle-aged (or older), white, presumably heterosexual males...Ricky Gervais...too
I can’t ever do the lucrative, corporate gigs that…because in that…people can get paid a lot of money for doing half an hour at a bankers' convention, but you have to be the sort of person that appears to please people…[and not treat them as] deficient
Corporate clean, where you don't use dirty words or get sexually explicit and church clean, where you don't even bring up religion.
I define Christian comedy as clean comedy that can be good for the soul. I believe God wants us to laugh
I didn’t start getting anywhere until…five years in, financially…even then, it was month to month [in New York City].
The first paying position a comic can land is to emcee or host a show.
An emcee will make usually from $10-$35 a show. It's usually $25.
the famous comics have what’s called a “door deal” and get paid based on the amount of people in the crowd.
Hannibal Burress was the most popular comedian in Caponera’s (2009) price range of $2,000.
Keith is one of the kings of the college circuit. A few years ago, he was the most-booked college comic, playing 120 campuses. He charges $2,300 for a single performance.
Headliners can reap $1,500 to $2,500 per church comedy show
Bigger name comics have been known to pay thousands for jokes and hire writers...After a famous comic has an HBO Special, they almost always hire writers to help them pump out more material.
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