Why was studying Stand-up Comedy good for us?
It's time to recognise that I am not the only one and that other persons do indeed exist...weird right? they too can take things personally, so in this next session I want to give special thanks the following people: Matt Hoss, Guy Messer-Li, Scarlett Jean, Luke Rowbotham, Michelle Harris, Caitlin Hayward, Kenny Budd for their contributions and insights as we discover why studying stand-up was good for us.
To the polling stations!
So I decided to do some armchair research and realised, that armchairs just aren't that interesting, so instead I decided to dive into the hive mind of Monkeyshiners (the collective name for MA Stand-up Comedy students at UKC) and collected the nutritious honey that is their personal reasons for doing Stand-up Comedy
and for your pleasure I've baked it into a delicious data pie...chart
Now I wont pretend that this is anything but a straw poll, of equal validity and reliability as a Comso quiz on 'what the size of your bum says about you' But! it's the first of its kind and the range and relationship of responses is what's interesting.
Hate pies but love bars? then try this graph on for size instead:
What the results tell us:
improve public speaking
reduce fear of public speaking
improve writing skills
look at the world critically
These are pretty straightforward & what you might expect - doing Stand-up comedy improves your ability to speak in public, reduces fear through exposure, informs your perspective on the world and builds your writing & editing skills because you're doing it constantly, both on and off stage (more on this later)
But some of these responses relate to Stand-up Comedy stage craft and use weird words and phrases, what do they mean?
Translating Stand-up-eese into English
Luckily I'm fluent in Stand-up-eese and have a passing knowledge of human words like wot hoomanz do
Maybe you've heard of some of these already e.g.
when a gig goes well we say:
"we killed it / them"
and when it doesn't
"we died on our a***"
Time to translate the rest
'Be in the moment'
this means be 'present' & refer clearly to the 'here and now' yeah you've got an act, but it means nothing if you don't re-act.
In Stand-up it's known as the '
'Now agenda' whereas writing is the
'Then agenda' check out Tony Allen)
for more on this.
'Find out what makes you funny'
Seems obvious right?, you're either funny or you're not right? WRONG like every other practice, you've got to learn what works and what doesn't.
This is like saying to a baby "Hey, baby! you've got two legs haven't you? well go and run a marathon then" ...
or "Hey baby! you've got brain cells, figure out this cure for cancer / climate change / Ikea instruction manual situation then...you *!@&%#!*
'Funny' is a subjective and slippery fish, in order to grab it you need to figure out, what's funny where, when and to who and with some luck maybe some insight as to why
Now the prevailing argument is that all of the above and should come under
The #1 Stand-up Comedy term
'Find your Voice'
Found it, here it is! it was here the whole time...living in my gob
No that's not it 'finding your voice' is not the ability to speak, it's knowing what you have to say AND how you can say it. No it's not just word choice or performance either
Find your voice fundamentally means working out 'who you are up there' what parts of your personality come out on stage.
What is your persona? What is it about you that engages other people
The weird thing about Stand-up Comedy is...
At face value it may seem to be the ultimate act of extraversion, but to really do it demands a continual act of introspection
Stand-up Comedy is really a crash course in learning
who you are and how you come across to others and the only way to ' find your voice ' is to do it.
Find out more in the next post and remember to...