Training Module One: Intro And Lesson Links

Introduction

If you are new to stand-up comedy, the chances are great that you are under the FALSE impression that you need to develop a special and unique “character” for the stage.

Popular stand-up comedy books, courses, workshops and classes tend to fuel this inaccurate notion as well.

Oddly enough, none of the popular books on stand-up comedy give much in the way of insight on exactly how to develop this “character”, especially given that it is supposedly so important.

The same can be said of most stand-up comedy workshops and classes as well.

This is just another example of how so-called “conventional wisdom” about stand-up comedy makes it much more difficult than it really is.

Unfortunately, this single inaccurate perception can actually add yet another unnecessary layer of difficulty to an already challenging performing art.

Let’s explore why you DON’T need to become a special or unique “character” in order to master the stand-up comedy stage and generate headliner laughter levels from audiences…

The Truth About Developing A Special “Character” As A Comedian

Here’s what you need to know about developing a character for the stand-up comedy stage:

If you are already a naturally funny person, you are already a unique and proven “character” and that character is as unique as your fingerprints.

I have found that the vast majority of comedians who attempt to become a “character” — a completely different and unique “persona” than they are in everyday life do so because…

They don’t really know how to develop stand-up comedy material that works for them or they simply do not have the initial comedy talent required to generate big laughs on the stand-up comedy stage.

As they continue to try to “write” paper written jokes out of thin air that flop miserably on stage, they come to the false conclusion that they need to develop a “character” or persona for the stage that will make them funny.

What they don’t realize is that developing a “character” as a comedian adds an extra (and unneeded) level of difficulty and complexity, along with a massive amount of additional work to the process of delivering stand-up comedy material that works well because:

  • They have to now somehow develop this “character” into a genuine presence that audiences will accept and believe when they are performing.
  • They now have to develop stand-up comedy material for this unnatural character.
  • They have potentially added years to the process of developing this “character” that actually gets noteworthy results on stage.

Subsequently, comedians who set out on the path to develop their special stage “character” tend to do far worse on stage than they did when they weren’t performing as a “character”.

But here’s the other side of the coin…

If You Want To Develop A Stage Character, Learn How

I have worked with a number of very funny comedians who did perform as a unique “character” on stage with great results.

But…

Almost without exception, these comedians were naturally funny in everyday life AND already had years of experience in acting or character development for the stage starting as early as high school before they took on the challenge of stand-up comedy.

When it comes to making the decision on whether or not to develop a stand-up character, here’s what I have said before:

If you are a naturally funny person, you are already a unique and proven “character”.

To try to develop a different “character” can potentially add an additional huge roadblock to developing stand-up comedy material that works well in record time unless you already have significant acting experience or skill.

But if you do want to develop a character for the stand-up comedy stage (which is NOT required at all to deliver high impact stand-up comedy that has audiences howling with laughter)…

I would strongly suggest that you seek out an acting coach, acting course or acting classes for solid information on “character” development as opposed to seeking out a stand-up comedy teacher or class.

At the very minimum I would look at investing in an online acting course if your desire is to develop a unique stage “character”.

Trying develop and become a completely different and unique “character” equates to a lot of additional hard work and an increased measure of difficulty — on top of also trying develop and deliver comedy material that works.

Not to mention that you would still need to develop and deliver funny comedy material that is natural and genuine for your special “character” in order generate headliner level laughter levels.

So, you tell me — how are you supposed to develop hilarious stand-up comedy material for some sort of special “character”, when you can’t even develop it for the funny person you are naturally in everyday life?

You should also be acutely aware that attempting to develop a “special” stand-up comedy character for the stage is not a substitute for the talent needed to generate big laughs from an audience.

So, before you decide to go down the difficult path of developing a special “character” as your stand-up comedy stage “persona”, hear me out…

The Bottom Line

As a general rule, I don’t recommend that individuals try to develop any sort of unique “character” or persona as comedian for a number of very important reasons…

As I mentioned before, if you are a naturally funny person in everyday life and already have the ability to make people laugh with little effort (which also caused you to consider becoming a comedian in the first place)…

That means you are ALREADY a unique “character” that requires little development.

The fastest and easiest way to command big laughs on the stand-up comedy stage is to structure the sense of humor that you already have and simply be the unique “character” that you already are — a “character” who already uses well developed and effective comedy expressive traits naturally.

It is this “natural” character that you already possess — the speaking style, facial expressions, voice inflections and body language — that gives you most of the “funny” power you have in everyday conversations with friends, family, co-workers and new people you meet throughout life.

As you will learn in a future lesson, the comedy mechanics for generating laughter in casual, everyday conversations are EXACTLY the same in stand-up comedy material used on stage.

But you won’t be able structure and deliver the unique character that you already are by trying to “write” or fabricate “jokes” and delivering your “impression” of what you think a comedian should be on stage.

This online course is NOT about showing anyone how to “write jokes” or how to develop some sort of “special” comedy stage character.

This online course is specifically designed to show you how to develop, structure and deliver headliner level stand-up comedy material using the natural (and already well developed) comedy talent and skill set that you already have.

Here’s the way I like to explain the difference between stand-up comedy and acting (or character development):

Great actors are highly skilled at becoming someone else. Great comedians are highly skilled at being themselves.

The only way I know of that an unfunny individual can possibly “learn” to be funny is by possibly learning to become an actor.

Even then, a measure of talent is needed to have success as an actor — whether the roles are comedic or not.

But spending years learning how to become a skilled actor is NOT a requirement to become a top notch comedian provided you already have natural comedy talent to begin with.

As this course progresses, you are going to learn what it is about you that makes you funny and how to capitalize on your already developed comedy talent in a way that no other so-called stand-up comedy “guru” or expert can begin to explain.

Wrap Up

It should be obvious that there are some big differences between acting and character development and delivering a stand-up comedy act.

But if developing a different “character” for the stand-up comedy stage is something you want to pursue…

Again, I highly recommend that you seek out an experienced acting coach or recognized acting class for that.

You can also look into an online acting course to give you a good idea of what acting is all about and give you some baseline knowledge about the character development process before you attend an acting class.

Also keep this in mind as well if it is your intention to parlay your stand-up comedy into acting jobs…

1. You will still need to be proficient as an actor because you will need to be able to “become” the character required by an acting job which may or may not have comedic attributes.

As an actor, you are required to use someone else’s words or lines as the character they want you to be for the part.

As a stand-up comedian, you use your own words and lines delivered and expressed by the natural and genuine “character” who you already are.

2. Comedic talent is a not a requirement to become a successful actor. It is absolutely a requirement to become a successful comedian.

3. You don’t need to develop any sort of special stage character or have any acting skill to in order to generate headliner level laughter on the stand-up comedy stage.

As a matter of fact…

The fastest way to draw attention to yourself is to generate a minimum average of 18 seconds of laughter each performing minute.

This course is specifically designed to do that, capitalizing on the comedy talent you have now.

4. If you do want to develop a special character for the stand-up comedy stage or intend to pursue acting in conjunction with your stand-up comedy adventures, let me make it very clear that:

An investment on an online acting course is NOT a substitute for live acting classes taught by a real acting professional.

But let me say again — if you already have natural comedy talent, then you are already your very own unique character, whether you can see it for yourself or not.

Now, let’s finish up this Training Module with a discussion about the mindset that can hold you back from reaching your stand-up comedy dreams and goals…

Training Module One: Intro And Lesson Links