We Can See The Future

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Finally, a posting with some substance!

Louis C.K. is one of the biggest names in comedy today.  I admit that I haven’t paid much attention to him and wondered about what all the fuss was.  Well, after watching his interview with Charlie Rose a couple of nights ago, this guy is worth watching.

I love to watch interviews of other comics because you can learn so much.  Not from today’s comics, but from the ones who have paid their dues and been in the business a long time.  The ones who conduct themselves in a professional manner with others.  If you really want to get a true appreciation for the art form of comedy, it’s amazing insight.  Watch the interview below.  (Just remember if you click on the link it will open the interview in this same window. When the interview is done you can hit the back button and it will bring you back to this blog post.  Or, you can right-click on the link and open it in a brand new window.)

Louis C.K. Interview

I want to break down a couple of items Louis mentioned during that interview.

The first and most important thing he said, that other comedians echo is the fact that failure helps you.  I know there are some comics who believe that if you don’t succeed right away that you are a piece of garbage and can be made fun of on stage.  It’s my personal belief that people who would disrespect a comic like that on stage who keeps trying shows a glimpse of what that person is really like.  I’ve seen it for myself.  The majority of comics who have disrespected me on stage are generally assholes away from the stage.  Assholes are everywhere in society today, even in comedy.

Louis also said that you should never give up, that helps you become successful.  I believe at the end of the day that failure shows you what doesn’t work, obviously because of the lack of laughs at the material.  However, the key to remember is you must figure out why it didn’t work.  In comedy you can’t succeed until you get to the why.  Just because you tell a certain joke and it gets no laughs doesn’t mean you discard it.  Once you figure out the why then you can rewrite it to make it funny.  I am living proof!  Lots of my jokes I wrote previously were funny, they just needed to be re-worked within the structured format of comedy writing.

He also mentioned that putting together 45 minutes to an hour of material is kind of like how they used to build samurai swords in the old days.  Louis said if you think you have an hours worth of material, you really don’t. Write another hour, then combine the two hours of material you think that you have, and squeeze out all the impurities (weaker material) until you come up with that hour.

He also mentioned something that is very ballsy, but he could get away with it because he’s put in his time.  Louis mentions that he might lead with his best closing bit first, then realizing he has nothing to fall back on.  That sounds like a good strategy if you have a bit of time on stage under your belt.  He’s right in the sense that if you lead with your best bit right off the bat, then you don’t fall into the trap of coasting through the show just to get to your big finish at the end.  This keeps you on your toes having to really pay attention to the material and make every joke count after the big opener.

Biggest eye-opener he talked about was that comedians are in a great position because they can predict the future, because nobody but you knows what you are going to say next.  As a comedian you have a good idea whether or not your jokes will get laughs.  When you get really good at comedy you can then manipulate or control the emotions of the audience.  You can say something to either piss the audience off  or to knock them down a peg, then bring them back around later in the set.

That’s a pretty powerful statement yet oh, so very true.  This is something that I didn’t realize when I first started out in comedy but it makes perfect sense to me now.  Had I known that truth when I first started out, it might have made a difference in the beginning.  Then again, I’m not sure it would have made much of a difference until I found out the why about why I wasn’t funny.  To have that knowledge now, when you have a prepared set list, it sits in the back of your mind that if you didn’t get the response you expected from a joke, that you can reel them back in down the line with the one joke you know will work.

Those were just a couple of the points I wanted to touch on from that interview.  Please, feel free to leave your comments below.  Sure, you may not be a comedian but you are an audience member or a comedy fan in general.  You are the ones who end up laughing (or not) at a particular joke.  Your input is invaluable!  I would like to create more discussion around my posts.  Let’s start with this one!

Be blessed!



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