What I’ve Learned

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I never saw myself as being a stand-up comic.  I was at the comedy festival a couple years back at Beilys.  One of the last comics on wasn’t very good and hardly got any laughs.  At that point I thought to myself “I have the basic tools to succeed in comedy, so why not?”

The worst thing that a comic can do is stay on stage one joke too long.  If you have a big laugh and you’re not quite done your set, say goodnight.  Better to do that than keep rifling through material at the end for a big laugh.

The Saskatoon Blades joke was written in about 30 seconds, with some help.  Each comic talked about an idea for a bit they wanted to do, and the other comics and a headliner gave their input.  But when I mentioned the Blades and the direction I wanted to go with it, it’s like this light bulb went off and he went to work.

I’ve been lucky enough to get a headliner alone for some really good chats about comedy. One thing that’s obvious is that he always finds time to practice.  With 11 kids, homeschooling and helping run a household, he always finds time to practice.

The best way to practice stand-up comedy is by standing in front of a mirror.  The mirror really doesn’t lie.  When you see yourself, you can get instant feedback on the look you are trying to portray.  The more expressive you are in front of the mirror, it will be easier to emulate that onstage.

How’s this for irony?  When I first started comedy back on October of 2011, my friends gave me tremendous support for the first few months, when I wasn’t very good.  Now that things have become noticeably better onstage, they haven’t shown up in months.

Dez has admitted that he goes after me harder than he gets on any other comic onstage.  Everything he’s said or done about me onstage goes in one ear and out the other.  He’s not really like that off stage, but I understand he’s got a job to do in getting the best from the talent that’s onstage.

Guys who first go up and do nothing but sex and vulgarity don’t score any points at all in my book.  To their credit though, the ones who have stuck it out have learned to be funny without being dirty.

My family doesn’t support me in my comedy endeavours, and that does bother me a bit.  But it sure would be awkward and uncomfortable to actually have them watch me do a set.

One of my favourite comics to watch is Dave Attell.  He claims to have the “Andre Agassi with a drinking problem” kind of look.  Plus he says things that aren’t necessarily dirty, but things that you don’t expect to hear from him at that particular moment.  That’s part of timing.

The first time I used comedic timing came about by accident.  I think it was about a month into it, and I was sort of rattling through my jokes not leaving room for laughs.  Well, this one line actually got laughs and I had to stop talking.  Then I panicked and thought to myself “do I remember the next line of my joke?”

Regina overall wasn’t a great experience, but I’m thankful for it.

I don’t have a favourite joke that I like to use, but I know what jokes will get an audience reaction every time.  Whether they are my favourites or not is not the question.  It’s all about getting the laughs.

The homeless material I found seemed to make some audience members uncomfortable to the point where it couldn’t produce laughs.  Thank God that material has been retired.

The night I finished in 1st place in the new comics competition, I almost screwed myself out of the top spot.  At the end of the material I broke into a song that I wrote.  It went nowhere, and Dez even said I should have quit while I was ahead.  But when you have never had a sniff of comedic success before, how are you to know?

The fact my Christian friends are proud of me being funny while keeping it clean makes me the most proud.

I usually don’t have a concrete plan when I put together a set list before the show starts.  It all depends on how much time I get, the mood I am in, and the type of crowd there to watch.

If it wasn’t for the comedy and church last year, I would have been in much worse shape than I was in.

Not that comedy defines me as a person, but when I’m out somewhere, and I get a strange look from somebody I say to myself “they don’t know that I am one of the city’s newer stand-up comics”.  You’d be surprised how that can carry you through the down moments in a day.

I deleted all of my sets I recorded off my phone.  Some were good, and some missed the mark.  But that was yesterday.  Let’s move forward.

It took me three weeks of practice to work my material into ten minutes of comedy for my debut onstage.

Being a karaoke DJ is the best way for me to work on my crowd work.  Right before you sing you have the undivided attention of the room, because the crowd wonders what you will sing, and whether or not they want to dance.

The first big ovation I received to being introduced made me feel uncomfortable, maybe even unworthy, even though it happened at Crackers.

The loneliest place in the world can be found onstage if a comic is having a rough night.  If you aren’t used to the silence it can mess with your head and affect the quality of your performance.  Lucky for me though, I’ve had years upon years of experience with a silent room from singing karaoke.

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