How do you get your material?

Getting comedy material is a different process for each comedian. We all have our own ways of finding the funny in things.

As a comedian you are always on the look out for the strange, the different, and the out of the ordinary. You kind of train yourself to look at life in a very comedic kind of way.

You really want to try and relate to as many people in the audience as possible. I suppose that’s why so many comedians talk about personal relationships, it’s something that everyone can associate with. It’s being able to convey what we think is funny, in a way that is funny for the audience. That’s the trick.

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How do you start out being a comedian?

The best way to start out is by doing what’s called “open mike” gigs. These are where you go along and perform for 5 mins for free. There are heaps of places where aspiring comedians can jump up and do a 5 mins spot. The key is to stick with it and work hard. It can be very frustrating when you are first starting out, because you can be performing these 5 mins spots for free for a while before you get any paid work. 

Lucky for me I had the guiding hand of a few of the already pro comics who gave me some invaluable advice. I think for the first 2- 3 years I would have recorded nearly every show I did on this little mini disc recorder, only to listen to it the next day and analyse every little bit of my material. I was told to get 5 mins of material that worked time and time again. Following on from that you would do a 10 mins spot until you had that honed, and so on and so forth.

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Do you use the same material all the time, or do you always have a new show?

Early on in my career I was told not to worry about doing the same material time and time again, the only thing to worry about was making the audience laugh.

When you first start out there is a tendency to think that you have to use new material every week. When you think about it, how many people go to a comedy club week after week after week. The truth is that you are pretty much going to be performing to a new audience every week.

Ultimately you’re aim is to have a solid hour’s worth of material at the very least that will work everytime you walk on stage no matter where you are or who you're performing too. Once you’ve got that solid block of tried and tested material, that’s what the booking agents are going to want you to perform. They’re not paying us to experiment they’re paying for what they know works.

When a mate of mine was once asked why he kept doing the same material his reply was simple. “When the audience stops laughing at it, then I’ll stop doing it

Then there are the one of, festival type shows. These are going to be different from the standard stand up routine in a way that they are usually focused around a specific theme. These one man shows usually go for about an hour, and they have a more story telling style as opposed to the set-up punch of a typical stand up routine.

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