And All I’ve Gotta Do Is Act Naturally

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I asked a question to a couple of people I know.  One knows me fairly well while the other one has known me for a few months.  I asked if I’m funny, and if so what the difference is between Trevor being funny on stage and Trevor being funny off of it?

These people are both females, and despite knowing me for vastly different lengths of time, both had the exact same answer.  Now, I would tell you the names of these ladies, but I won’t because I like to keep the allure that I actually might know some hot women who I didn’t pretend to exist.

Both basically said what I think some of you may have gathered already.  Trevor off stage is funnier because he’s more relaxed, there is more of a flow to the humour.  I also received the comment that Trevor on stage sounds like he is structured.

Trevor on stage sounds structured

Oh shit

My one friend brings up a very good point that I have been rattling around in my head all day.  A comedy audience will laugh if they sense the story the comedian is telling is true.  The way you can generally tell if the story is true is if it has a flow to it, like it’s “your voice” that’s telling it.

One of the things a stand-up wants to create is a coherent stance.  When you’re writing as well you want to appear this is definitely you, it’s your personality which is there.  The test often with a comic is when they’re knocked off the script.  The script, they’re just the bullets and you’re the gun.  You have to be the funny thing.      – Dara O’Briain

Start watching this one at 14:35 and watch for about 3 – 4 minutes.

Mind you, Dara has been doing comedy for over 20 years but still, when you were listening to his joke, could you tell that it was “his voice”, as if the story actually happened and he was telling it in a conversational way that sounded natural?  The answer should be yes.  It made me laugh, especially the part about “the Bluetooth in me cock”.  Too funny.

There is one more set of a quote and clip that further illustrates this point in a slightly different fashion.

When you watch a really good comic, and he’s just being, it seems like he’s just telling a story, he’s being natural, there’s jokes in there.  There’s jokes in all of it.     – Tom Papa

Aside from the fact Dara O’Briain and Tom Papa are different nationalities with different accents, both told a story as if they were telling it to their friends.  More importantly, I believe both bits work because they tell the story that appears to “suit” them.

Again, when you have been performing on stage for over twenty years like each of them have, it should be easy to develop that style over that period of time to make it sound natural and organic.  I’ve only been doing this for over 4 1/2 years.  My material has structure, and more importantly unlike other comics I can tell you why the material is funny.  The trick now is to take my material and make it sound natural and organic while keeping the structure intact.  Can it be done?

I’m thinking that it can but it’s going to take some trial and error to figure out.  Now, here’s my fun little dilemma.  I have taken a few weeks off from performing to work on my new material I’ve created that will be debuted on my birthday at an open mic.  Oh, it gets better.  Not only will a few of my friends attend the show, but I will be doing at least 20 – 25 minutes of material.

So what’s the problem?  Well, when I first started in comedy there were nights where my friends made up the audience.  Those friends would laugh at the other comics, but not me.  Back then my material had zero structure, and made zero sense.

Now fast forward the clock a few years and my friends haven’t come to a show en masse in a few years, but they have watched the videos.  I’m getting funnier but I think that’s more a byproduct of the misdirection in the material with the punchline, rather than it being funny because it seems natural.

I’ve always been a high risk, high reward type of person.  While I have failed more often than I have succeeded using that approach in comedy, it has served as an inspiration to others I know.  Part of that risk is creating brand new material that I am going to debut for an audience that’s mostly there to see me.  It’s an audience who knows me well.  They will be able to sense whether the material is funny or not and to what degree it’s funny because they have that relationship with Trevor off stage already cemented.

Am I setting myself up for failure?  It’s possible.  But you don’t see other comics write as much new material as I do, not by a long shot, with the exception of Dez.  This new material was created a couple of weeks ago and has been whittled down ever since then.  Now, the next couple of days will be spent trying to have this material fit my voice.  Then starting next week it’s ten days of rehearsing.  Practice, practice and more practice.

I will find that balance between keeping the structure of my material while having it sound natural and organic at the same time.  I will tape it, and I may post the video.  Then again, I might not post it, meaning some of you would actually have to come and see a show for the first time, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Pray for me, because I think I’m going to need it.  Wait, that sounds pathetic.  Holy shit.  Ummmmm, how about I appreciate all your prayers and well-wishes as I embark upon my longest set to date.  Yeah, much better.  Now I can finally get me some sleep.

Be blessed everyone.



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