When people hear that I’m on stage for like 60 minutes telling jokes, they’re always amazed at me being up there THAT LONG. Actually the hardest part isn’t being there for 60 minutes (ok, a few shows have been rough!), the hardest part is GETTING STARTED. That’s right, if you get started off in the right direction, then you’ve won. . . if you don’t, then it’ll be a LONNNGGG  hour. Here’s 10 tips for getting started off right. Some of these I’ve covered in other blogs, but this is a nice, comprehensive list to refer to. . .

  1. Address the crowd as you would a friend. If you’ve ever gone to an open mike night, you’ll notice that this is how most beginning comics do it, by asking ”hi, how are you.” Sounds good except when there’s 15 comics on the show,  by the last one we’re pretty sure everyone in the room is doing fine. But if you can start with a friendly greeting, then you can move on to your joke.

Radar addresses people by begging

Radar my cat addresses people by begging

radar begging

2. Ask a (rhetorical) question. If you’re starting off with a sports joke, you could ask how many people saw the game or how many people like baseball. I say make it rhetorical because you really don’t (usually) want an answer – you want to set them up for your joke. So don’t ask something complicated that people might not know (like what the score of the game was)  . . . make it a yes/no type thing.

3. Take a survey. I focused on this a few blogs ago – surveys are a great way to get easy participation, plus it’ll get you right into your joke.

4.Start in the middle. This is what a lot of authors do when writing a good book. . .they start in the middle of the thought. This idea was perfected with the “so on the way to the event tonight, I . . . “ fill in the blank. So start off with. . .so I’m walking here tonight. . . Many times I’ve started out with “so I was shopping today. . .” and then I roll into my make-up joke.

5. Thank the audience. When I want to start off with my movie joke, I first thank the audience for getting out of the house. . .and then mention that my friend just got out of the house to go see a movie. . . boom, I’m off into my material. So take a look at your joke and see what you can thank them for that will lead to your subject.

The next 5 tips, plus some bonuses, are coming up.