Countdown. Number Three of The Seven Most Powerful Ways to Improve Your Stand-Up Comedy

Alfie Noakes

We’re getting ever closer to the Number One spot. Outlining means and methods to make potent strides in writing and performing stand-up.

This time, I’m going to pitch the Preparation and Review.

Which could also be referred to as Rehearse, Record and Review.

Essentially, what comes before, and after, your performance.

As, presumably, an amateur comedian, often you will have just 5 or 10 minutes of stage time. Meaning, in a quality set, something like 15 – 30 big laughs is the target.

While the stage time may be rather brief, the prep before, and the post-gig analysis, should be somewhat more time-consuming.

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Every new rehearsal run will most likely help the material sink deeper into your brain. Thus making you better prepared to deliver a professional looking set.

You can go wild with act-outs that no one else can see. Does a manic representation suit this material? Or perhaps something a little more nuanced? Such as a simple raising of the eyebrow?

Perhaps the wording doesn’t flow when spoken out loud as opposed to how it reads on paper, etc etc

Your rehearsal space is where you get to play. Make full use of it.

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By the time you hit the stage many negative issues ought to have been ironed out.

The rehearsal process will bolster both your material and your performance.

Naturally, the wise comedian will be certain to record their gig in front of an actual audience.

Then review that recording soon after the show. Studying the set, breaking it down.

What were the laughs like?

Smaller or bigger than anticipated?

Did a joke fail only because a word in the punchline was accidentally mumbled?

Was there an unexpected laugh that you can contemplate and keep?

Are stage nerves making you speak too quickly?

Are your act-outs lacking clarity? Etc Etc

Your crowd response is obviously one of the most sharply tuned indicators of what is working and what is not.

Recording your set, and their response, is entirely wise.

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Clearly, the fixes won’t all happen in one rehearsal or one gig. It’s an incremental series of powerful steps forward, review by review, enhancing the strong stuff and eliminating the weak.

Perhaps it will prove to be a case in which you have to cogitate upon which bits to develop further and which jokes to approach from a new angle. Because sometimes you just know there’s something good there, it just needs some work…

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The discipline to review our rehearsals and performances is a means to turbo-charge development. The difference between an act who follows this process as a matter of routine and one who does not, will almost certainly produce, in just a matter of months, a sizable gulf in ability.

You can see what the audience sees. You can hear what they hear.

Take full advantage of this opportunity to sharpen your performance, enhance your charisma and develop your rapport.

It’s simple when written, to be fair, somewhat harder IRL.

Rehearse. Record. Review.

Good luck!

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