Stand Up and Get Scene
Using Stand Up Comedy as a Vehicle to Help Advance Any Performance Career
By Barbara Holliday, Owner & Comedy Booker Flappers Comedy Club
102 E. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank Ca 91502 | 818-845-9721818-845-9721
You may be noticing a trend over the years, but even more recently in which many stand up comedians are cast in Reality Shows, and Major Network Television Sitcoms. This is not something I find surprising at all. Being the owner of a Comedy Club and 20 Year veteran of the Comedy Business I learned early on that the study of standup comedy can be extremely valuable to any performers career. And Stand Up Comedians are especially enticing to producers and casting directors because a Stand Up Comedian truly offers up a full menu of performing abilities including Writing, Performing, Producing and Directing. I myself was “only” an actor for many years and if I had studied Stand up when I was “acting” I would have been much farther along in my acting career. And a lot of the Stand up Comedians I know who are talented are often offered acting opportunities but they usually can’t measure up or even succeed at the opportunities being offered because they can’t read a side. Stand Up comedy teaches joke structure, creative writing and the ability to think on your feet, and most importantly standup comedy teaches you an authenticity and delivery onstage that can only be achieved through the art of stand up. Actors rarely get to practice this skill because they are usually reading someone else’s material and focus on delivering material from the authenticity of the original writer. But what if you are the writer? There is no way you can fake that authenticity if you are the writer and your standup comedy will bomb if the audience doesn’t believe your delivery. This is why I highly suggest that all actors study standup comedy and all comedians study acting, if you can bring a little of both of these arts into any performance, you will be truly be a star. Let me break this down a little further.
In standup comedy we learn to complain, and confess about what’s wrong with our lives and the people around us. A stand up comedians act is usually a kind of vulnerable, self deprecating point of view that helps us understand issues through the eye of the beholder “the comedian.” When comedians perform a stand up act, they may embellish and amplify the truth for the jokes sake, but the root of the material is based in truth, and if written and delivered in-authentically, the audience will call them out as a fake, almost instantaneously and usually will not enjoy the performance. But if the material is delivered honestly and with true emotional connection and feeling, the audience leaves the show absolutely idolizing the comedian and wanting to be their best friend. This is the kind of comedy performance that makes stars and builds fans. This is a very similar energy that is often experienced around friends who might point out to you how “funny you are.” You may even be funnier around your friends because you are more confident and authentic around them and you feel more comfortable telling those vulnerable stories about your life, when you are comfortable and confident your brain works better and you are more likely to make more jokes. In these situations you are not trying to “BE” funny you just “ARE” funny. This is what we learn through the study of standup comedy, how to be honestly and authentically funny. Also as an actor you spend more time audtioning than you do actually performing, in stand up you will get onstage at least three or four times and week. The only way to get better at any craft is practice.
Because a standup comedy is really about the person telling the jokes, and the Comedian really is the “Product.” This makes it easy to create a marketing identity or branding for the performer. Anyone in marketing knows that when your product is clearly defined, it is much easier to sell. So with a Stand up Comedian we have a clear and Identifiable product, which can be marketed very specifically. We also get a self contained writer, think of each comedy bit in it as an episode of a sitcom. We also get a confident and authentic performer who is willing to take feedback and we even get a Director, comedians are always making changes the the act on the fly based on feedback from the audience. Unless you’ve studied standup comedy you may not be working this way. As an actor you can take this training and apply it to any character or scene and bring a whole new life to any role. This is what producers and casting directors are buying today; a clear and Identifiable comedian is a product that they can market and promote. A Stand Up comedian is and a sitcom waiting to happen. Study standup comedy and get scene.
Barbara Holliday, the Author is the owner of Flappers Comedy Club and teaches Stand Up Comedy, Marketing and Promoting and business classes through Flappers University. Barbara has been a Producer and Kids Club Host for Fox Television, and a comedy booker and manager for over twenty years. She is also member of Burbank’s Downtown Business Partnership Board, The Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Naca (National Association of Campus Activities), APCA (The Association for the Promotion of Campus Actvities.) and currently resides in Burbank California. www,FlappersComedy.com She can be contacted via email at Barbara@FlappersComedy.com or by phone at 818-845-9721818-845-9721.