Okay, now part two of kicking off with a joke. As I mentioned, getting into the joke is sometimes the hardest part, so use one of these tactics to set yourself up right.

1. Address what they see. If you’ve got some outstanding feature/hairdo/etc. . .mention it off the bat. I’ve said you can even make something up (like a tattoo on your shoulder) or something if that leads you to your joke.

2. Make a comment about what just happened before you. I’ve mentioned this before as well, and I can’t say it enough. . .pay attention to what’s happening prior to you going on stage. You’ll have some great opportunities for humor at the last minute. DON’T count on it, but just keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t be afraid to make an offhanded comment – especially if it leads you into your first joke!

3.  Have something funny in your intro that you can play off of. Set yourself up easy by commenting on your introduction. Mine mentions that I just bought a motor scooter, and sometimes if I want to joke about my scooter, I’ve got the perfect set-up – “john just mentioned that I bought a motor scooter. . .I did. . because that’s what happens when you wreck it on the test drive.”

4. Do something physical. A comedian friend of mine starts off with herself laughing . . .she walks on stage laughing and applauding. . .which leads her to her first joke about her mother’s laughter. So think of something physical. If I were to lead off with a dieting joke, I might go up and pat my belly. Non-verbal works as well or better than verbal cues.

5. Mention how you’re feeling. I start off many times with. . .”I’m having a great week because I just became an aunt again!” Presto, I’m into my kids material without anyone realizing that I wanted to talk about kids.

Bonus – these are all great ways to kick off with a joke. The key is DECIDE WHICH ONE YOU’LL DO FIRST. The times I get myself in trouble are the times that I don’t know how I’m going to kick off the show. I may be waiting for a funny line or I’m just undecided. Make a decision and run with it!

Bonus bonus – make it conversational. . .the more you’re just talking to a friend, as opposed to delivering a joke, then you have a better chance of the joke sneaking up which will make it funny.

And most of all. . have fun! Kicking off with a joke should make you excited, not worried!