A couple of months back I did a stand-up comedy course, and made my stand-up debut (and most probably farewell) performance at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. If you missed it, you can see the eight-minute video here .
The main reason I did the program was not to become a professional stand-up comedian, but to learn some skills to improve as a speaker and a trainer. Here are some things I took away:
- Be likeable. I was advised to axe a piece about stupid people. Good advice. If the audience can’t connect to you and like you, your message won’t get heard.
- Be authentic. The best comedy (and the best speaking) comes from a place of authenticity. Tell the truth.
- Make fun of yourself first. In comedy this means making yourself the butt of jokes. In speaking, it means make other people the heroes of your stories, not yourself.
- Talk to one person at a time. There are always a few beacons in the room – talk to them when you need some energy. And always talk to one person, not to the room.
- Robert, our instructor, said it takes 1,000 gigs to be a great comedian. Not the most inspiring pep talk before gig number one, but a good point. If you want to be a good speaker, speak. If you want to be a good writer, write. If you want to be a good stand-up comedian – do stand-up. Love to hear your thoughts about what we can learn from stand-up comedy – you can leave them below.