Stand-up comedy is a comedic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, speaking directly to them through a microphone. The performer is commonly known as a comic, stand-up comic, comedian, comedienne, stand-up comedian, or simply a stand-up. Comedians give the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a shtick, routine, act, or set. Some stand-up comedians use props, music or magic tricks to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedians perform quasi-autobiographical and fictionalized extensions of their offstage selves.
Some of the main types of humor in stand-up comedy include observational comedy, blue comedy, dark comedy, clean comedy, and cringe comedy. Alternative stand-up comedy deviates from the traditional, mainstream comedy by breaking either joke structure, performing in an untraditional scene, or breaking an audience's expectations; this includes the use of shaggy dog stories and anti-jokes.
Stand-up comedy is often performed in corporate events, comedy clubs, bars and pubs, nightclubs, neo-burlesques, colleges and theatres (audiences will give applause breaks more often in theaters). Outside live performance, stand-up is often distributed commercially via television, DVD, CD and the internet.
As the name implies, "stand-up" comedians usually perform their material while standing, though this is not mandatory. Similar acts performed while seated can be referred to as "sit-down comedy".
The audience's feedback at a stand-up performance, even from the moment they enter the venue, is instant and crucial for the comedian's ever-changing act. Audience members, in a comedy setting that doesn't have fixed seating, are seated very close to one another. Audiences expect a stand-up comedian to provide a constant stream of laughs, calculated at four to six laughs per minute, and a performer is always under pressure to deliver, especially the first two minutes. The late Phyllis Diller holds the record for most laughs per minute, at twelve laughs per minute.
A show begins with an opening act, known as a host, compère (UK), master of ceremonies (MC/emcee), or simply "opener" who, for 10-12 minutes, usually warms up the crowd, interacts with audience members, makes announcements, and then introduces the other performers; this is followed by a "middle"/"feature" act that lasts 15-20 minutes but is expected to have "30 minutes of solid material"; the feature act is followed by the headliner, who performs for "an hour." An opener can also double as a feature for travelling headliners, with the opener performing a 25-minute set.
Showcase format has a host/MC with several other acts who perform for roughly equal lengths of time.
These one-hour, headlining performances focus on storytelling. One-person, stand-up comedy shows became popular in the 1990s, with no consensus for what separates stand-up acts from one-person shows.
Many smaller venues hold open mic events, where anyone can take the stage and perform for the audience. This offers an opportunity for amateur performers to hone their craft and perhaps to break into the profession, or for established professionals to work on their material. Industry scouts will sometimes go to watch open mics. Breaking into the business requires "10 minute[s]" of "A" material. Roadhouses (remote clubs) start booking people for "20 minutes of 'A' material". "A" material means getting a big laugh at least "75% of the time".
"Bringer shows" are open mics that require amateur performers to bring a specified number of paying guests to receive stage time. Some view this as exploitation, while others disagree. The guests usually have to pay a cover charge and there is often a minimum number of drinks that must be ordered. These shows usually have a "showcase" format. Different comedy clubs have different requirements for their bringer shows. Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, for example, usually has ten-person bringers, while Broadway Comedy Club in New York City usually has six-person bringers. In the '90s, the New York Comedy Club had pre-shows that were bringer shows; they also had audition scams with an "accelerated pre-show program."
This is an unpaid, five-to-ten-minute time slot (during the emcee's time slot of a professional show) that is essentially an audition to get booked for paid gigs.
Just as within any art form, stand-up has multiple genres and styles, with their own formats, unwritten rules, and target audience. Some of these include:
In stand-up comedy, a "canned" joke is made of a "premise...point of view" and then the reveal. A joke contains the least amount of information necessary to be conveyed, understood, and laughed at; the setup contains the information needed by the audience in order to understand the punchline. Most of stand-up comedy's jokes are the juxtaposition of two incongruous things. According to the founding editor of The Onion, there are eleven types of jokes. Stand-up comedians will normally deliver their jokes in the form of a typical joke structure, using comedic timing to deliver the setup and then the punch line. Stand-ups feign sincerity to maintain a close aesthetic distance with the audience (e.g., they frame their stories as having happened "recently"). The comedian's delivery of a joke--the pause, intonation, inflection, "ener[gy]," and look--is "everything". Comedians often include taglines (dependent punchlines that follow another punchline) and toppers (independent afterthoughts that follow a punchline). Some sources may use tags, toppers, and afterthoughts as synonyms.
A jokoid is a placeholder joke, which will eventually be superseded by a funnier joke. Stock jokes are similar to jokoids (as placeholders) and are hack jokes that are for "specific situations". A paraprosdokian is a popular method that is used by comedians, creating a surprising punchline that causes the listener to reinterpret the setup. Stand-ups will often use the rule of three. Comedians will normally include stylistic and comedic devices, such as tropes, idioms, stop consonants, archetypes, soliloquy, and wordplay. Stand-ups use second person to address the audience.
A comedian's ideas and jokes will fail nine times out of ten; this may require a comedian to write hundreds of jokes to achieve enough successful ones to fill a set. A stand-up comedian cannot know if their material has succeeded without an audience to give feedback.
A stand-up routine is a gestalt that emerges from performing interconnected jokes (setup and punchline), bits (a joke or "3 or 4 jokes"), and chunks (multiple bits linked by a topic that may last "10-15 minutes") to a live audience. The funniest words go on the ends of sentences and the biggest laughs go on the ends of long bits. Once a setup is established for a bit, the subsequent jokes should decrease in length. A segue is the link between jokes. A callback is a reference to a previous joke. Bombing refers to when a comedian has failed to get an intended laugh. When a stand-up is not being funny, they must at least be interesting, entertaining, or engaging. A stand-up comedian uses a character, narrator, or persona to deliver their jokes. The quality of a comedian's material is more important than their persona, unless they are well known. Other sources say that personality trumps material. One of the comedian's main objectives is to control the audience. A good comedian will create a tendentious-like tension that the audience releases with laughter. This is known as a "relief/release" laugh. A comedian's stand-up persona/voice consists of the type of material they perform, the format of the material, the aggregate set, the comedian's rapport with the audience, and the comedian's "own identity."
When a set is consistently bombing, most comedians will perform "crowd work" by communicating with audience members to save face; much of crowd work is prewritten with added improvisation.  Some comedians will use small talk that directs audience members to answer "a question" that the comedian "[has] a topper" for. Other comedians will become more intimate with their questions until they get multiple big laughs, before moving on.  The result of crowd work is often an inside joke.
A "tight five" is a five-minute stand-up routine that is well-rehearsed and consists of a stand-up comedian's best material that reliably gets laughs. It is often used for auditions or delivered when audience response is minimal. A tight five is the stepping stone to getting a paid spot.
Comics memorize their jokes through the use of on-stage practice/blocking. Some comedians employ a mnemonic device called the method of loci (memory palace technique) to remember their jokes. Some write their jokes over and over, while others have a set list in front of them; for professionals, this may be on cue cards or a stage monitor. 
Early twentieth-century front-cloth comics started in music halls, paving the way for stand-up comedy in Great Britain. Notable front-cloth comics who rose through the variety theatre circuit were Morecambe and Wise, Arthur Askey, Ken Dodd and Max Miller. Until 1968, the heavy censorship regime of the Lord Chamberlain's Office required all comedians to submit their acts for censorship. The act would be returned with unacceptable sections underlined in blue pencil (possibly giving rise to the term "blue" for a comedian whose act is considered bawdy or smutty). The comedian was then obliged not to deviate from the act in its edited form.
The rise of the post-war comedians coincided with the rise of television and radio, and the traditional music hall circuit suffered greatly as a result. By the 1970s, music hall entertainment was virtually dead. Alternative circuits had evolved, such as working men's clubs. Some of the more successful comedians on the working men's club circuit--including Bernard Manning, Bobby Thompson, Frank Carson and Stan Boardman--eventually made their way to television via such shows as The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. The "alternative" comedy scene also began to evolve. Some of the earliest successes came from folk clubs, where performers such as Billy Connolly, Mike Harding and Jasper Carrott started as relatively straight musical acts whose between-song banter developed into complete comedy routines. The 1960s had also seen the satire boom, including the creation of the club, the Establishment, which, amongst other things, gave British audiences their first taste of extreme American stand-up comedy from Lenny Bruce.Victoria Wood launched her stand-up career in the early 1980s, which included observational conversation mixed with comedy songs. Wood was to become one of the country's most successful comedians, in 2001 selling out the Royal Albert Hall for 15 nights in a row.
In 1979, the first American-style stand-up comedy club, the Comedy Store was opened in London by Peter Rosengard, where many alternative comedy stars of the 1980s, such as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle, Craig Ferguson, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson began their careers. The stand-up comedy circuit rapidly expanded from London across the UK. The present British stand-up comedy circuit arose from the 'alternative' comedy revolution of the 1980s, with political and observational humor being the prominent styles to flourish. In 1983, young drama teacher Maria Kempinska created Jongleurs Comedy Clubs before it closed in 2017. Stand-up comedy is believed to have been performed originally as a one-man show. Lately, this type of show started to involve a group of young comedians, especially in Europe.
Although the antecedents of this genre can be traced back to the monologues of Miguel Gila in the 1950s, the rise of live comedy in Spain took a long time in comparison with the American continent. The first generalized relationship with this comic genre occurred in 1999 with the creation of the Paramount Comedy channel, which included the New Comics program as one of its flagship programs, where monologuists such as Ángel Martín, José Juan Vaquero, David Broncano, and Joaquín Reyes stood out. Also, in 1999 began the journey of the program The club of comedy, an open adaptation of the popular comic format. In its first stage (1999-2005), it underwent several chain changes and released comedians like Luis Piedrahita, Alexis Valdes or Goyo Jiménez. In its new stage, starting in 2011 in La Sexta and presented by Eva Hache, it tries to start in the genre of comic monologue media characters from different artistic fields such as: Imanol Arias, José Luis Gil, Isabel Ordaz and Santiago Segura. Special mention deserves the Buenafuente program, started in 2005. The presenter, Andreu Buenafuente, made an initial monologue of about 9 to 11 minutes where he links current issues with everyday humorous situations. This became the most famous part of the program and made him one of the most recognized comedians in Spain, for his connection with the public and his ability to improvise. On the other hand, the comedian Ignatius Farray became one of the most representative icons of this genre today.
Stand-up comedy in the United States got its start from monologists performing stump-speech monologues from within the minstrel shows of the early 19th century. It also has roots in various traditions of popular entertainment of the late 19th century, including vaudeville, English music hall, burlesque or early variety shows, humorist monologues by personalities such as Mark Twain, and circus clown antics. With the turn of the century and spread of urban and industrial living, the structure, pacing and timing, and material of American humor began to change. Comedians of this era often depended on fast-paced joke delivery, slapstick, outrageous or lewd innuendo, and donned an ethnic persona--African, Scottish, German, Jewish--and built a routine based on popular stereotypes. During the stand-up eras of minstrel, vaudeville, and burlesque, jokes were generally considered to be in the public domain and humorous material was widely shared, appropriated, and stolen. Industrialized American audiences sought entertainment as a way to escape and confront city living. A precursor to stand-up, the era of burlesque comedy used satirical and blue humor to appeal to men.
The founders of modern American stand-up comedy include Moms Mabley, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, George Burns, Fred Allen, Milton Berle and Frank Fay, all of whom came from vaudeville or the Chitlin' Circuit. They spoke directly to the audience as themselves, in front of the curtain, known as performing "in one". Frank Fay gained acclaim as a "master of ceremonies" at New York's Palace Theater. Vaudevillian Charlie Case (also spelled Charley Case) is often credited with the first form of stand-up comedy, performing humorous monologues without props or costumes. This had not been done before during a vaudeville show.
The 1940s-50s elevated the careers of comedians like Milton Berle and Sid Caesar through radio and television. From the 1930s-50s, the nightclub circuit was owned and operated by the American Mafia. Nightclubs and resorts became the breeding ground for a new type of stand-up comedian, specifically Lenny Bruce. Acts such as Alan King, Danny Thomas, Martin and Lewis, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers and Jack E. Leonard flourished in these venues.
In the 1950s and into the 1960s, "new wave" stand-ups such as Mort Sahl and Lord Buckley began developing their acts in small folk clubs like San Francisco's hungry i (owned by impresario Enrico Banducci and origin of the ubiquitous "brick wall" behind comedians) or New York's Bitter End. These comedians added an element of social satire and expanded both the language and boundaries of stand-up, venturing into politics, race relations, and sexual humor. Lenny Bruce became known as 'the' obscene comic when he used language that usually led to his arrest. After Lenny Bruce, arrests for obscene language on stage nearly disappeared until George Carlin was arrested on 21 July 1972 at Milwaukee's Summerfest after performing the routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" Carlin's act was ruled indecent but not obscene, and the Supreme Court granted the FCC permission to censor in a 5-4 ruling from FCC v. Pacifica Foundation.
Other notable comics from this era include Woody Allen, Shelley Berman, Phyllis Diller, and Bob Newhart. Some Black American comedians such as George Kirby, Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson, Godfrey Cambridge, and Dick Gregory began exploring the criticism of "history and myth" in the 1950s-60s, with Redd Foxx testing the boundaries of "uncensored racial humor".
In the 1970s, several entertainers became major stars based on stand-up comedy performances. Richard Pryor and George Carlin followed Lenny Bruce's acerbic style to become icons. Stand-up expanded from clubs, resorts, and coffee houses into major concerts in sports arenas and amphitheaters. Steve Martin and Andy Kaufman were the most popular practitioners of anti-comedy from the 1970s into the 1980s. The older style of stand-up comedy (no social satire) was kept alive by Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett, who enjoyed revived careers late in life. Don Rickles, whose legendary style of relentless merciless attacks on both fellow performers and audience members alike kept him a fixture on TV and in Vegas from the 1960s all the way to the 2000s, when he appeared in the wildly popular Pixar Toy Story films as Mr Potato Head, who just happened to share Don's grouchy onstage mannerisms. Television programs such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show helped publicize the careers of other stand-up comedians, including Janeane Garofalo, Bill Maher and Jay Leno.
In the 1980s, Eddie Murphy shaped African American comedy when he created the Black Pack: similar to the Rat Pack, it was a group of stand-up comedians, its members included Paul Mooney, who wrote for Richard Pryor and later starred on Chappelle's Show.
From the 1970s to the '90s, different styles of comedy began to emerge, from the madcap stylings of Robin Williams, to the odd observations of Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres, the ironic musings of Steven Wright, to the mimicry of Whoopi Goldberg, and Eddie Murphy. These comedians would serve to influence the next generation of comedians.
In terms of live comedy in Mexico, the predecessors of this comic style are:
The new generation of comedians decided to use their own lives as the theme of their comedy, imitating the American style:
The one-man-show genre, which is similar, but allows other approaches (enacting characters, songs and scenes) was introduced in Brazil by José Vasconcellos in the 60's. Taking a step closer to the North American format, Chico Anysio and Jô Soares maintained the format - specially in their live nation-wide talks shows, and generally, in the opening monologues - bringing to Brazil a genre more similar to what we currently know as Stand-up.
Stand-up began to be interesting news in 2005 in São Paulo, when the first club was created, called Clube de Comédia Stand-Up: composed of Marcelo Mansfield, Rafinha Bastos, Oscar Filho, Marcela Leal and Márcio Ribeiro. In São Paulo the comedy club would present in Beverly Hills, the traditional comedy venue in Moema. Shortly afterwards it migrated to Mr. Blues and Bleeker Street, in Vila Madalena. In Rio de Janeiro, Comédia em Pé, (Comedy Standing Up): composed of Cláudio Torres Gonzaga, Fábio Porchát, Fernando Caruso and Paulo Carvalho, had its debue at the venue Rio Design Leblon. These were the first stand-up performances in the country.
In 2006, the comic Jô Soares watched Clube de Comédia in São Paulo and invited the comic Diogo Portugal for an interview in his talk show. That was a definitive moment to call attention towards the genre. He mentioned many different shows that he was a part of and attracted the public attention and media coverage to the bars that held these presentations. In Curitiba, with this momentum, many other stand-up nights began opening up. In São Paulo, Danilo Gentili, that had just become a part of Clube da Comédia, invited Mário Ribeiro and gathered other young comics that were frequent spectators at the club, to create Comédia Ao Vivo (Live Comedy): composed of Dani Calabresa, Luiz França, Fábio Rabin.
With the show CQC - Custe o Que Custar, on the channel Band, a nation-wide TV outlet, in 2008, the genre took gained its permanent spot on the national stage. With bug names like Danilo Gentili, Rafinha Bastos and Oscar Filho, the curiosity grew exponentially.
Following CQC's example many channels and TV shows on Brazil's national television invested in Stand-up comedy. After this many other groups gained recognition in the clubs and live performances around the two biggest cities of Brazil.
Modern stand-up comedy in India is a young art form, however Chakyar koothu was prominent in Trivandrum and southern Kerala during the 16th and 17th centuries. It had all the attributes of modern stand-up comedy and is widely considered to be the oldest known staged comedy act anywhere in the world.
Even though the history of live comedy performances in India traces its early roots back to 1980s, for a long time stand-up comedians were only given supporting/filler acts in various performances (dance or music).
In 1986, India's Johnny Lever performed in a charity show called "Hope 86", in front of the whole Hindi film industry as a filler and was loved by audience. His talent was recognized, and he would later be described as "the iconic comedian of his generation".
It was not until 2005, when the TV show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge garnered huge popularity and stand-up comedy in itself started getting recognised. Thus, a lot more comedians became popular and started performing various live and TV shows. The demand for comedy content continues to increase. Some popular comedians around 2005-2008 include Raju Srivastav, Kapil Sharma and Sunil Pal. Most of them performed their acts in Hindi.
Raju Srivastav first appeared on the comedy talent show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He finished as second runner-up and then took part in the spin-off, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge -- Champions, in which he won the title of "The King of Comedy". Srivastava was a participant on season 3 of Bigg Boss. He has participated in the comedy show Comedy Ka Maha Muqabla.
Kapil Sharma is ranked no. 3 at the most admired Indian personality list by The Economic Times in 2015. Currently he is hosting the most popular Indian comedy show "The Kapil Sharma Show" after "Comedy Nights with Kapil". Sharma had been working in the comedy show Hasde Hasande Raho on MH One, until he got his first break in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, one of the nine reality television shows he has won. He became the winner of the show in 2007 for which he won 10 lakhs as prize money.
Sharma participated in Sony Entertainment Television's Comedy Circus. He became the winner of all six seasons of "Comedy Circus" he participated in. He has hosted dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 6 and also hosted comedy show Chhote Miyan. Sharma also participated in the show Ustaadon Ka Ustaad.
Around 2008-2009, two other popular comedians Papa CJ and Vir Das returned to India and started making their marks on Indian comedy scene. Both of them were exposed to UK and US comedy routines and they performed mostly in English. At the same time, a few more youngsters got inspired and started taking plunge into stand-up comedy.
Since 2011, the stand-up comedy has been getting substantial appreciation. The Comedy Store from London opened an outlet in Mumbai's Palladium Mall where people would regularly enjoy comedians from UK. The Comedy Story also supported local comedians and helped them grow. This outlet eventually become Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai.
Around 2011, people started organizing different comedy open mic events in Mumbai, Delhi (and Gurgaon), Bangalore. All of this happened in association with growth of a counterculture in Indian cities which catered to the appetite of younger generations for live events for comedy, poetry, storytelling, and music. Various stand-up events were covered by popular news channels such NDTV / Aajtak etc. and were appreciated by millions of viewers.
As a result of these developments, plus the increasing penetration of YouTube (along with Internet/World Wide Web), Indian stand-up comedy started reaching further masses. While the established comedians such as Vir Das, Papa CJ were independently growing through various corporate / international performances, other comedians such as Vipul Goyal, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, Kunal Kamra grew popular through YouTube videos.
The industry, still in its early stages, now sees a lot more influx of aspiring comedians as it transforms the ecosystem around it.
Stand-up comedy is the focus of four major international festivals: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland; Just for Laughs in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada; HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Melbourne, Australia.  A number of other festivals operate around the world, including The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy and Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, the Sydney Comedy Festival, and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland. Radio hosts Opie and Anthony also produce a comedy tour called Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour, featuring their own co-host, Jim Norton as well as several other stand-up comedians regularly featured on their radio show. There is also a festival in Hong Kong called the HK International Comedy Festival.
The lecture circuit hosted the US's precursory stand-up comedians, with humorists like Artemus Ward and Mark Twain. Twain prepared, rehearsed, revised and adapted his material for his popular humorous presentations.
This was black vaudeville that predated the Chitlin' Circuit.
In the era of vaudeville, the United Booking Office (UBO) controlled all the high-end theaters; Keith's controlled everything east of Chicago and Orpheum controlled Chicago and everything to the west of it.
The Chitlin' Circuit was a "collection of all-black venues, clubs, [and] theaters". The Apollo Theater was the performers' most sought after venue. Notable performers for this circuit include Richard Pryor, Moms Mabley, Dick Gregory, Redd Foxx, and the duo Tim and Tom.
Also called the Jewish Alps, they hired performers that included stand-up comedians. The Catskill Mountains are depicted in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The booking agency, Charles Rapp Enterprises controlled most of the Catskill resorts--owning the two largest: the Concord and Grossinger's.
Before the advent of full-fledged American comedy clubs, Hugh Hefner created a chain of Playboy Clubs and employed people like Dick Gregory,Mort Sahl, Steve Martin, and Lenny Bruce. Hugh Hefner ok'd Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight, which was not recorded in a Playboy club.
In its original form, HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" was an alternative to the club circuit, providing opportunities to black stand-ups and has since grown into something larger. The stylistic origins of the Def Jam comedy genre directly borrow from the hip-hop scene and the rap "arena".
There are two associations that lead the college circuit: the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) (which has 200 member colleges) and the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) (which has 1,100 member colleges). Comedians in the US and Canada audition for NACA to hundreds of college and university bookers, first with a 90-second video submission, and then a ten-minute, in-person audition to perform hour-long sets. Sets must not trigger students by "punching down", contain any denigrating material, or contain dark or blue humor; it must be "intelligent humor" and contain subjects that college-aged adults express contempt for. Higher education, that was once seen as the bastion of free speech is now criticized by some comedians for being too PC (politically correct). Some comedians no longer perform at colleges and universities.
The Cruise Lines International Association contains 60 cruise liners. Comedians work an average of two days per week; this circuit is said to not aid in moving up in the field. Cruiseliners have both clean comedy and blue comedy at different times during the day, but opinionated political material is frowned upon. Hecklers are tolerated more in a cruise setting.
Corporate circuit comedy must be clean comedy that neither swears nor references sexual acts; church (or "squeaky clean") comedy is preferred; two celebrities that perform this type of comedy are Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan. In a lecture given at the University of Oxford, Stewart Lee stated that his character is unable to do corporate gigs, because he takes on the role of being superior to his audience.
Starting in 1941 and continuing to the present, the United Service Organizations is a nonprofit corporation that employs performers like stand-up comedians for the entertainment of the United States troops and its allies. During WWII, there were four sub-circuits: the Victory Circuit and Blue Circuit entertained stateside military personnel, the Hospital Circuit performers visited the wounded and the Foxhole Circuit performers went overseas.
The Christian Comedy Association started in the 90s, in an attempt to use comedy as a "spiritual vehicle." Comedian Doug Stanhope has criticized Christian comedy. Heckling is almost nonexistent in the church circuit. Christian comedy is clean comedy that claims to help one's soul.
Most comedians have day jobs. In a comedian's first five years, they will lose money from travelling and performing. Comedians will sometimes be paid for their performances with alcoholic beverages. A stand-up's first comedy job will often be emceeing. While it can take around a decade to make a living at comedy, unknown comedians may achieve great financial success.
Hosts and MCs are paid $0-$200, depending on location and the time of week (emcees average $25); showcase spots get $10-$75; features get approximately $300-$600; a headliner with no following gets $150-$1500, depending on many factors; headliners with a following or TV credits can make $1,500-$10,000 per show. The headliner makes "10 times" more money than the feature act. Famous headliners get paid from "door deals," or a percentage of the revenue, based on the number of seats sold; these comics rely on their notoriety to fill seats, which makes them more money than headliners with no following. Comics will sell merchandise after their shows; this will make up for other expenses, like traveling.
Mark Normand has stated that a set on Conan pays "a couple grand" for five minutes. In 2012, Comedy Central routinely offered $15,000 for a half-hour special. As of 2015, Comedy Central will pay comedians about $20,000 for a thirty-minute set; an hour, Comedy Central special can be up to $150,000; as of 2018, Netflix will pay comedians $26,000+ for a fifteen-minute set; Netflix pays celebrity-comedians different amounts from one another.
The cruise-circuit comedian can make up to $10,000 per week, some $85,000 per year; and, a college-circuit comedian can make six figures per year or thousands of dollars per gig. Christian circuit comedy headliners make $1,500-$2,500 per show. Although one source states that newer comics on the national (L.A.) circuit make $1,250-$2,500 per week, another source claims that this is very inaccurate, and the amount of money one makes is closer to $20 for a spot.
Famous comedians may pay lesser comedians thousands of dollars for jokes and hire them on as writers, but many famous comedians do not reveal this, as it is considered a taboo to admit purchasing material for stand-up comedy sets. Comedians may knowingly sell plagiarized jokes.
Many of the earliest vaudeville-era stand-ups gained their greater recognition on radio. They often opened their programs with topical monologues, characterized by ad-libs and discussions about anything from the latest films to a missed birthday. Each program tended to be divided into the opening monologue, musical number, followed by a skit or story routine. A "feud" between Fred Allen and Jack Benny was used as comic material for nearly a decade.
HBO presented comedians uncensored for the first time, beginning with Robert Klein in 1975, and was instrumental in reaching larger audiences. George Carlin was a perennial favorite, who appeared in 14 HBO comedy specials.
Continuing that tradition, most modern stand-up comedians use television or motion pictures to reach a level of success and recognition unattainable in the comedy-club circuit alone.
Late-night talk shows and award show ceremonies are commonly hosted by comedians, delivering monologues similar to stand-up.
A strict, limiting definition of standup comedy would describe an encounter between a single, standing performer behaving comically and/or saying funny things directly to an audience, unsupported by very much in the way of costume, prop, setting, or dramatic vehicle. Yet standup comedy's roots are...entwined with rites, rituals, and dramatic experiences that are richer, more complex than this simple definition can embrace. We must...include seated storytellers, comic characterizations that employ costume and prop, team acts[,]...manifestations of standup comedy routines...such as skits, improvisational situations, and films...and television sitcoms...however our definition should stress relative directness of artist/audience communication and the proportional importance of comic behavior and comic dialogue versus the development of plot and situation
[The microphone allows] comedians to speak in a 'natural register' in a manner that closely resemble[s] everyday conversation...As a result, stand-up comics can create the 'illusion of intimacy' with a large group of people...The intimate tone and style of address are further amplified by a context in which 'theatrical stagecraft [is kept] to a bare minimum'
[S]tand-up comedy...cannot exist without technological advances...what distinguishes it as a whole from other forms of verbal comedy, and where one can deduce its origins, is the advanced use of the microphone...antecedents and forebears are suggested ranging from the court jester to Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Such suggestions of ancestry are not without merits, but as a form or, more precisely, as an emic genre with an attendant set of expectations, including the dialogic properties...stand-up comedy, contemporary or otherwise, does not exist without amplification.
it is inherent to the very nature of stand-up that they [stand-ups] convincingly perform as if they are simply being themselves and talking off the cuff
[S]tand-up is marked above all by face-to-face interaction that imitates a (mostly one-way) conversation.
[S]tand-up is not so much public speech as it is talk. Though it may be 'heavily one-sided,' it is nevertheless a dialogic form 'that allows for reaction, participation, and engagement on the part of those to whom the stand-up comedian is speaking'
A low ceiling and proximity to the stage is important because standup comedy is not a performance. It is a conversation in which the comedian does all of the talking.
[A lot of] stand-up comedy...as a general art form...is pre-scripted
Jerry Seinfeld explains: 'Comedy is a dialogue, not a monologue--that's what makes an act click. The laughter becomes the audience's part, and the comedian responds'
On the whole, you have to give the illusion that it's a dialogue
A comic's material about his life may have some connection to reality, but basically an act is just that, an act--it's a fictionalized account with a few actual facts thrown in to make the act believable and, perhaps, more relevant to people's lives.
I was demonstrating tricks eight to twelve hours a day
Stand-up comedians purport to speak autobiographically and in their own voice while engaging in apparently authentic, if not convincingly spontaneous, communication with the audience, and their punch lines typically cap extended anecdotes and observations instead of one-line jokes.
[S]tand-up comedians (often) appear 'as themselves'...stand-up comedy is a form of theatre; it is not life...stand-up is about the re-presentation of self as if it were everyday life
That's the goal--to become yourself.
[A stand-up's] act [is a] fictionalized account with a few actual facts thrown in to make the act believable and, perhaps more relevant to people's lives...Every stand-up goes onstage as a character to some extent. Some may adopt a persona that's very similar to their own personality, but it's still a separate entity...even observational comics...use truth...as a foundation on which to build jokes by taking the truth to its farthest [sic] extreme.
(loosely) autobiographical comedy is the dominant form of stand-up today.
I [Gary Shandling] think you can only be on stage what you are in real life.
[I]f you're not real...people will sniff that out.
Larry Wilde: Charlie Chaplin in a Life magazine story said, 'You cannot be funny without an attitude. Being without an attitude in comedy is like something amiss in one's make-up.' What exactly is a comic attitude?...[Johnny Carson:] Generally, it is your outlook on things. It is, in a way, an extension of your personality.
The average club seats  people
How did you answer them? 'By being George Wallace, and finding out who you are as a comedian. And that takes between seven and eleven years.'
How long did it take you to figure out your individual comedic essence? 'I'd [Jerry Seinfeld] say ten years.'
A stage presence comes pretty quickly [but] how to write jokes and how to generate material and know it's going to work; [concerning these, the] first ten years are building the [base] skills
Each minute of performance is backed up by countless hour of hit-and-miss writing, editing, road-testing, and practice. While some say they do not actually 'write down' their material...[in actuality] they run it over consistently in their heads.
Bombing is a necessary event. It's the only way one gets better, but every time it happens, it's very painful.
You've got to die to get good.
Yeah, bombing can be good...you grow up and realize it's about continuing to work. It's about making progress.
A show begins the moment the audience walk into a venue.
The wall that cuts the front and back regions off from the outside obviously has a function to play in the performance staged and presented in these regions, but the outside decorations of the building must in part be seen as an aspect of another show
No laughter? Out then. Tim [Allen]'s willingness to change his act to suit his audience...The difference between Tim's censoring of material and a poet's censoring is elusive. Tim's goal is to make money, that's one of his desires, but not his primary motivating desire. His drive as a comedian is to make people laugh.
Stand-up comedy is a unique form of performance in that the reaction of the audience is an integral part of the success or failure of each individual performance.
Tightly arranged seating within the comedy room created physical discomfort for audience members...Yet audience members often talked about how much they enjoyed 'the feeling of a full house'...Conversely, when shows were not sold out and audience members had more room to spread out among empty tables and chairs, audience members were less likely to relate their experiences as one of entertainment or enjoyment.
A lot of comedians just want laugh, laugh, laugh...every, what is it, 15 seconds they say?
Comedy club audiences...expect upwards of four laughs per minute.
If a comedian wants to generate headliner laughter levels, they need to average 4-6+ laughs per minute.
As each comic's usage of material varies (some say they use as few as two jokes a minute, other comics say they need a laugh every fifteen seconds or the act goes 'in the toilet')
The first two minutes is very important with a stand-up
I call the first two minutes, your flash. And that's where you...go up there and...hook them with whatever material it is, so that they know exactly what's funny about you and they trust you and they'll come along with you for everything.
If you don't make them laugh in the first two minutes, you're fucked
If you have a strong first minute...the minutes that follow will be great, too.
[Joey Bishop:] As the unknown [comedian], you've got to make a compromise and the compromise is in the first few minutes--to get their attention. You are just a salesman then. Once you've got their attention, you can then do your type of comedy.
I [Phyllis Diller] actually got twelve laughs in one minute from an audience...Most comics do setup, payoff, setup, payoff, in other words six jokes per minute. In my case of twelve, one setup got twelve payoffs.
Diller prided herself on keeping her jokes tightly written and boasted that she held a world record for getting 12 laughs a minute.
[Phyllis Diller] still holds the Guinness Book of World Records for doling out 12 punch lines a minute.
In comedy venues, proceedings are managed and organised throughout the performance by a compere who acts as an anchor for the evening's events in the venue. Comperes are more than just an announcer who brings on the acts. They provide continuity between acts who often have divergent styles and or different performance skills; they perform routines between acts using their own material; they pass comment on the performers; they share details of the evening itinerary, they may run a joke competition for the audience, and they encourage the audience's participation. In short, the compere acts to frame a series of performances into a single event.
On this [road comedy] circuit, shows generally consist of three to four comics: Headliner, Feature act, Opener and/or Emcee (i.e., Master of Ceremonies). The Headliner does roughly an hour of original material. The Feature act does 25-30 minutes. The Opener has a ten minute slot, and the Emcee squeezes in a joke or two between acts (if the Opener is not also acting as the Emcee)...transitioning between ranks is usually a matter of years of practice at each stage.
[T]raditionally in American comedy clubs, there's three acts: there's an opening act...a feature act...and [then] a headliner
One week, I opened for a show...I was now capable of doing two different twenty-five-minute sets per evening
The Comedy Store in London...[is] a showcase format, with a host and five comics doing sets, with...[a] guest thrown in from time to time.
A one-person show has a story line. While a stand-up comic focuses on getting an immediate reaction from the audience after every joke, a person doing a solo show takes the audience on a journey.
A one-person show is not just an hour of stand-up. It has to be dramatic and funny.
Though there have been one-person shows for ages, the first comedian to do a one-person show in a big way was Lily Tomlin...However, it wasn't until the '90s, correlating with the rise of storytelling, that the stand-up one-person show really blew up...for the shows that consisted of thematically stringing funny stories together, it was always hard to decide what exactly made them one-man shows and not stand-up acts.
Open mikes are where, as a comedian [like Daniel Tosh and his controversy], you're supposed to be allowed to fuck up.
the next day, my friend who was also on the show [in a theatre above a porn shop across from the Port Authority], told me a scout from casting at Fox was in the audience and they wanted to meet with him.
it gets tarred with the brush of new-act exploitation and lumped in with less scrupulous nights and the insidious blight of pay-to-play...[but] I, personally, have found it to be a very nice room.
In order to get stage time at [bringer shows]...you [have to] bring...5 to 15 friends, each of whom must show up and agree to buy at least two drinks...Some people think bringers are a scam, and they kind of are. They're a cash grab for club owners
Some clubs require 10 bringers/show. If you show up with 9 people, you will not get on and your friends will not get their money back.
Clubs like Caroline's will ask for 15 people.
A canned joke is a generally short narrative ending in a punchline...[that] the speaker has memorized.
[T]he Universal Joke Formula: Premise + Point of View + Twist = Joke
we can craft a joke just by creating and then defeating that specific expectation...introduction, validation, violation
What makes a joke a joke, in other words, is that the listener (and the collector) can make it wholly independent from a specific performer and treat it as an isolatable or discrete unit. It is not based in personal but in collective worldview. Were one to incorporate wholesale someone else's joke into one's own repertoire, one would still need common ground with the original teller in order to effect a similar interpretation and reaction. The greater the manipulation required for the listener to abstract it, or the more inextricably the specific performer weaves it into their repertoire, the less one can successfully transfer it across repertoires.
[Johnny] Carson: ...You can take a very common situation and your point of view or your attitude toward it and what you see in it may be completely different from what somebody else sees in it. They will comment on it one way, you may take a completely different approach to it, and this is where the humor comes out--your specific look at something the audience hasn't thought of.
The key to a joke is not the idea, but the 'complex, creative choices about expression.'
a joke is a context-free and self-contained unit of humor that carries within itself all the information needed for it to be understood and enjoyed.
A setup is the information a person needs to get the joke.
The setup is the essential information the audience needs in order to get the punchline
A joke...must have all the information implicit in the setup, so...the punchline...makes sense.
It's the first half of the joke...It's the first part...I've seen it said that it's the part that gives all the information you need, so that people understand the joke, but I would take it a step a little bit to the side of that...[the setup] is whatever is needed to make the joke work.
It seems like 99% of comedy comes from juxtaposing two things that don't seem to go together
You turn it into a juxtaposition of two ideas and create jokes.
Incongruity has been and remains the most influential approach to the study of humour even though superiority predates it by approximately two thousand years.
At its core, humor seems to be all about incongruity.
[Phyllis Diller:] I teach them [my joke editors] that a one-liner or a gag is not the same as a joke. A gag or a one-liner is a set-up, pause, pay-off. That's the simplest form.
Richard Schechner captures the theatrical crux of the matter well when he writes: '[T]he technical mastery of performing is knowing how to do certain things, achieve levels of skills, pull off tricks. But no matter how phony the show, an audience responds to sincerity, and there is as much sincerity involved in tricking as there is in so-called truth-telling. To perform excellently is to master whatever the craft is: telling the truth, telling lies.'
The question of plausibility in comedic analysis of social realities, as in 'how social bonds and normality are preserved', rests upon the perceived verisimilitude of persona.
[C]omedians will often say that something happened to them recently when it really happened years ago--or may have never happened at all.
The primary purpose of comedy is laughter and mirth. All else is, therefore, secondary--including factual truth.
The CSP [comic stage persona] incorporates elements including gestures, looks, vocal inflections, and all manner of attitudes, dispositions, and non-verbal communications.
Rutter (1997) described the use of 'intonation' as a 'striking and omnipresent characteristic' of stand-up comedy, noting how comedians utilize change of pitch 'to signpost the completion of jokes and create an invitation to laugh'
Taglines are...very short [jokes that are]...delivered right as the original laughter from the punchline is dying down.
A jokoid fills the place on the page where a genuinely funny joke will eventually go
Stock jokes are jokes that a comic has...that are pretty much hack jokes used for specific situations...they should only be used in certain situations until you can think of something better.
it is useful to examine the famous paraprosdokian, 'I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.'...Within the cognitive incongruity aspect of humor...Comedians often rely on shared knowledge with the audience to provide the second interpretation toward which the joke will pivot...As the paraprosdokian above illustrates, in some humor events, the brain begins tentatively to assign the event of one interpretation but then is forced in surprise to reassign the event to a second interpretation.
Simon Amstell states, 'I transcribed a couple of the tapes just to figure out what he [Eddie Izzard] was doing cause it just seemed so (pause) It wasn't like setup-punch. I would sort of underline words...is that the rule of three? I don't know what that is.' Eddie Izzard states, 'it should be--establish, reaffirm, and then you kill it on the third...you can keep reaffirming before you twist.
They have a parades department. New Orleans police department has a parades department. There's homicide, there's narcotics, and there's parades. There's other departments too, but you know, rule of three, for comedy.
[Three is the] cadence [that makes] it the most important number in comedy.
Seinfeld adds, 'any k sound is good--it's a very strong letter that impinges on people.'
The history of standup comedy in America reveals some interesting continuities and changes...the Wise Fool, our most important comic archetype, is always around
'I,' 'my,' 'me' as the comedian versus 'you' as the audience directly engages the audience in a dialogue.
For every ten jokes you tell, nine will be trash...you'll need hundreds and hundreds of failed jokes to build a decent body of work.
failure is the road to being a great comic...failure is not succeeding in the moment
For every ten jokes written, only one might be acceptable
The development of comic material from idea to fully formed gag involves an onerous process of writing, road-testing, and rewriting (Zinoman, 2012).
How does a comedian know if something is funny? The audience tells [the stand-up comedian through a call and response with laughter].
[S]tand-up represents a three part relation in the aesthetic completion of the comedic exchange: attempted joke, laughter, confirmed joke.
Stand-up is the art of self relating to self in the presence of others.
Stand-up comedians do not...tell jokes in the sense of a series of discrete units, with an explicit set-up which culminates in a punch line. Instead, they interweave material into a routine, which may run from five minutes to over two hours. Each unit, or 'bit,' is inexorably linked with the others in the routine, the performance venue, composition of the audience, the perceived relationship between the teller and the audience, the technological medium (beyond amplification) in which it is being transmitted, and the personality of the comedian herself.
a bit, 3 or 4 jokes in and around one central theme or idea...[and then] 10-15 minutes, we call that a chunk
A 'bit,' Reiser explains, 'is a group of words used to incorporate a premise and all variations thereof'
The pre-established pattern of action which is unfolded during a performance and which may be presented or played through on other occasions may be called a 'part' or 'routine.'
[Phyllis Diller:] set-up, pay-off...The funny word must be at the end of the sentence.
If you have a long bit, the biggest laugh has to be at the end. It has to be. It can't be in the middle or the beginning.
Since the setup has already been established, the second, third, and fourth jokes are short, shorter, shortest.
A performance that 'bombs' is one where the comic is unable to connect and make the audience laugh....When a comedian's performed material engages the audience in repeated and sustained big laughter, the comic is said to 'kill'.
[C]onfidence is key...The reason you should be confident is primarily because you're Will Smith...I've been watching you for years; you're actually a funny dude. I've spoken to you before, you're a great conversationalist...What else do you really need?... Number Two, pick the right shit to talk about...[Number three] You are one of those comedians who think you have to be funny all the time. You don't. But, you have to be interesting all the time.
[Nanjiani:] What I learned, coming to [the] New York [Alternative comedy scene], and watching people like Eugene [Mirman] and John [Hodgman], was that their comedy wasn't...any sort of specific thing, there was no...cadence to it, there were no...types of things you talk about, you could kind of do anything: you could talk about your day...you could kind of do anything, and as long as it was interesting or entertaining...I think it has to be at least entertaining--[Hodgman:] It has to be. It has to be entertaining. It has to be funny...[Nanjiani:] It has to be engaging, and that's comedy.
Modern stand-up reflects greater emphasis, relative to the vaudeville and post-vaudeville periods, on comedic narrative; that is, on longer, thematically linked routines that displace the former reliance on discrete jokes. The narrative content is linked, moreover, to the individual comedian's point of view, manifested as a comedic character which bears particular traits and remains fixed throughout the performance (although it may shift over the course of a comedian's career).
A persona not only helps to make a comedian's jokes funnier but also simultaneously reveals his or her personality and worldview.
Central to this process is the creation of a comic 'character' who establishes and maintains the tone of interaction between performer and audience. This character is similar to, if not the same as, what [Steve] Martin calls the comedian's 'personality'...This personality is not a direct reflection of the comedian's true self, but a character that is shaped and developed in order to create a comedic dynamic in which individual jokes work.
Every stand-up goes onstage as a character to some extent. Some may adopt a persona that's very similar to their own personality, but it's still a separate entity--a person telling jokes as opposed to telling the truth, which no 'real' person does. Even observational comics, who base their material in reality, use the truth not as an end but as a foundation on which to build jokes by taking the truth to its farthest [sic] extreme.
[Antiquated comedic archetypes] lack that which is essential to the nature of personhood in modern, western society: interiority, point-of-view, empathy, individual character, the ability for ego-identification...accountability...[and more c]rucially...'the ability to tell a story' and simultaneously be a character in the story while being the storyteller (...the central narrative feature of all stand-up comedy).
[C]omic personas are unlike theatrical personae. They are not masks for stage but increasingly, for modern stand-up comedians, drawn from their own biographies and personalities. But they, still, are not direct performances of personalities; they remain either heightened versions of self, or exaggerations of parts...[and] is a form of autobiographical lyric poetry...autobiography in stand-up is far from an escaping of tropes, it is an embracing of them; the self becomes the basis for tropes
'Persona' is used to describe and attribute distinctive aspects of personality, character, and point-of-view to a comedian's routines. It is a unique character attribute but it is not fictional; often it is an exaggerated version of their 'real life' self. It is an intrapersonal view of self: oneself seen from the position of another [the audience].
[W]hat's more important, material or delivery? I had to say it's the material.
when the material is good, you can overlook anything
We argue that using the name of someone who people consider funny generates an expectancy of humour when hearing a joke.
[Johnny Carson:] You can take the funniest man in the world who is unknown and put him in front of an audience that has not yet accepted him because they don't know him...it makes a big difference in the reaction he's gonna get. I'm accepted now much more than I was five years ago, because I've had tremendous exposure on television
[Woody Allen:] It isn't the jokes that do it...It's the individual himself. When I first started...the same jokes I did at that time that got nothing for me [in terms of laughter], now will get roars, and not because I am more known. It's the funny-character emergence that does it. You can take the worst material in the world and give it to W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx and there's just something that will come out funny. I'm not saying you won't get laughs, but the audience doesn't go away with anything [that leaves a lasting impression].
I [Irvin Arthur] firmly believe that it's the persona first, and then the material.
[P]ersonality is far more important than material
Your delivery can save you if the material isn't up to par.
To become successful[,] comedians must possess...the ability to estimate correctly audience reactions to deviant speech and behavior.
Although comics rarely use the term 'manipulation,' when Eyre describes [Maria] Bamford as a 'strong performer,' he means that she possesses the ability to manipulate an audience. Comedians typically refer to this manipulation 'in terms such as 'craft,' 'skill,' and 'technique
pushing the audience still involves finding an affective edge, 'reading the energy' in the room, and sensing how much the particular group of people present can handle with regards to obscenity, hostility, etcetera...When a comedy set works, that is, when the audience responds to a comic's jokes with repeated out-loud laughter, the affective dynamic between the comic on stage and the audience has a rhythm or pulse to it that feels like a loop, a circular flow. It's an energy flow from the comedian to the audience, where the audience returns that flow of energy in the form of laughter. The laughter, in turn, feeds the comic's next outpouring of energy. Ideally, with each loop, the overall energy in the room rises and ends at a euphoric pitch...the comic's job is to ride that wave of energy.
When a competent comedian tells a 'truth' onstage, the laugh is the priority, not the truth. Art favors verisimilitude, not authenticity. The only essential goal of comedy is to elicit laughter by exploiting the cognitive entities that make up a comedy audience.
What distinguishes the skillset of the professional from that of the amateur is an understanding of audiences
The classic theorist would be Freud. Tendentious jokes...a difficult or edgy subject is going to create a certain tension in the audience, and having created the tension, if your punchline is funny, the laugh is bigger.
A good standup creates a tension in the room, which the audience wants to break with laughter. If you can do this, any punch line will work as a release valve.
Every time you start a joke, you create some tension...If the joke works, then all that stored is released at the punchline in the form of laughter.
I would call that a relief laugh...like release laugh.
You start off, and you want to be like your heroes...you start out under the naive belief that you get to choose your style...[but] your style of comedy chooses you...it's a misnomer when people say you need to think about your persona...its all bollocks about persona and timing. I didn't set out to be a one-liner comic, but I was shit at everything else.
don't stop [your crowd work with a single audience member] until you've got [approximately] 4 big laughs.
After deciding to become a stand-up...Cathy Ladman worked to develop 'five decent minutes'
'tight five' --five minutes of solid go-to jokes that show who you are and reliably get laughs.
A tight 5 minutes of stand-up comedy material generates an average 4-6+ collective audience laughs each performing minute.
If you have an all 'A' [material] 5-minute set, you'll get paid nothing.
Fran Capo [states that]...an audition is usually five minutes.
To avoid going blank on stage, use the Memory Palace.
I'm currently using memory palaces or I think the loci method
I will put a set list on the stage monitor
George Calfa, who feels that he's been forced to downplay the degree of real creativity in his act in order to pander to road crowds and bookers
[I]n a bar, dirty language is not out of place at all...Audiences attending live stand-up in such night spots expect to hear speech onstage that would be otherwise, and elsewhere, unmentionable...The easy way for a comic to meet such expectations--and here I employ a phrase commonly used in the business itself--is to tell 'dick jokes.' The phrase refers metonymically to a whole category of sex jokes in which 'dirty' words are used to refer directly to 'dirty' body parts...as well as to acts and sexual functions...Among insiders, comics who tell dick jokes are considered hacks, and the laughs they raise cheap. The self-respecting road comic tries to come up with original material that not only audiences but also their peers--those with whom they work and those who book their work--will appreciate
I have a list of three or four [comebacks]...and the rest will be off the cuff
physical violence is rare in stand-up
Comedians who rely...on generic joke telling, rather than comic monologue, are derided as 'hacks.' Originality is prized--indeed, it is arguably the first criterion by which comedians judge other comedians--and stealing is condemned.
One definition of hack is that you [the stand-up comedian] are thinking about what the audience wants instead of what you think is funny...as opposed to being the artist that comes up with something new.
'Hacks' are those who opt for 'dick jokes,' using bad words in ways that continue to exploit their referential meanings
Staying onstage longer than their allotted time is, along with joke stealing, one of the most grievous offense a stand-up can commit.
[T]he spirit of modern stand-up comedy...is focused on originality.
[T]here are also cases of simple coincidence and, often in the case of observational material, parallel thinking.
The first comic on stage carries the burden of 'building the energy in the room'. The comedians who follow in the line-up have to sustain it. Should someone fail at doing this and leave the audience 'cold', the next comic has to 'bring the energy back up'...Ideally [the comedians] arrive at a venue when the show starts in order to 'read' the audience. Reading the audience is a visual practice (What are the demographics?[)]...and an affective practice (How are they responding to the comic on stage?[)]...At the very least, comics will show up a few acts ahead of their own for that purpose. They have to know the energy of the room in order to work the crowd right.
The immediate feedback and sensing of energy that is available in a show room is absent with a television audience. With the lack of immediate response, performers lose the opportunity to turn the show around if a bit falls flat
Larry Wilde: There is an economic and cultural distinction between the people who frequent the off-beat, so called chi-chi rooms like the Hungry I (San Francisco), Mr. Kelly's (Chicago), and the Blue Angel (New York), than those who go to the Copacabana (New York), the American Hotel (New York), or the Fontainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach)...[Shelley Berman:]...Listen those chi-chi rooms are just as commercial as any room...There's no such thing as a chi-chi room. A night club is a night club. Just because it is small, they call it a chi-chi room, or because they bring certain oddball forms of entertainment...Wilde: Then what they will laugh at in a club in Pennsylvania, they should laugh at in a chi-chi room and vice-versa
Chi-chi room in the hotel, which is a standard for showbiz names
The two acts on the bill are tailored for this chi-chi room.
A chi-chi room, separated from the club, has the superb Jose Meles and Billy Taylor
[C]omedians like Max Miller, Tommy Trinder, Ted Ray, Billy Russell, Suzette Tarri, Beryl Reid and Frankie Howerd performed something which was stand-up comedy in all but name. These performers were known as 'front-cloth comics.' The name derives from the staging of British variety theatre, in which acts which used the full stage--such as sketch comedians who normally used the set--alternated with ones which could be performed in front of the [stage] curtain--the front-cloth comedians...Front-cloth comedy existed at least as early as the 1920s...[British] [f]ront-cloth comedians...[survived] their US equivalents, the monologists, because British variety survived decades longer than American vaudeville...[F]ront-cloth comics on the variety theatres had used catchphrases, costumes and comic personas, their acts fleshed out with songs and even dances
In 1929, he finally settled on Frank Randle and became a 'front-cloth' comic, performing his character sketch routines.
The line connecting Max Miller to modern comedians such as Michael McIntyre is by no means unbroken, but the fact is that the very form of stand-up evolved from music hall song, and started life as the front cloth comedy of variety.
[Ken Dodd] was the last of the front-cloth comedians, meaning they dropped a cloth behind you while they cleared up the stage from the Liberty Horses and got it ready for the man who pulled doves out of his jacket, and there you were, but with an act that had been burnished until it was a jewel. And he knew he was the last, for all the greats, from Max Miller on, had crossed the boards before him.
American stand-up comedy has its beginnings in the minstrel shows of the early 1800s
Stand-up's early roots can also be traced back to minstrel, a variety show format based in racial stereotypes which was widely performed in America between the 1840s and the 1940s. Minstrel acts would script dedicated ad-lib moments for direct actor-audience communication: these spots often were used for telling quick jokes.
[Mark Twain] is a reference figure for...what we want to perceive to be the American character. As a public speaker and lecturer, indeed, the mature Mark Twain was very possibly our last performing humorist who presented himself as a 'general' personage--neither an easterner nor exactly a westerner, the embodiment...of national regionalism, all parts equal, none predominating. This 'generic' persona, so different from Will Roger's lariat-twirling actor, is equally remote from the ethnic shtick of Woody Allen and Richard Pryor or the urban neurosis of Joan Rivers and David Brenner. He has no direct, obvious successors, only his impersonators; the humor of our contemporary nightclubs is fragmented and typecast. The foe of humbug, explicitly rebelling against outworn Romantic forms and themes, he detested high airs and smug complacency--putting him in the progression that has led to the stand-up insults of W.C. Fields as well as Lenny Bruce...Among other feats, he contrived his public persona so as to convey the impression of (feigned) laziness, lack of erudition, easy success...Mark Twain endures because he is greater than any of his possible classifications--crackerbarrel philosopher, literary comedian...vernacular humorist, after-dinner speaker
The insult-dialogue and the joke -- developed in the minstrel humor and in vaudeville -- became the basis for most of the twentieth century standup comedy until relatively recently.
Pure joke telling, a form closer to modern stand-up, was not unknown in vaudeville, but it was not common until the last decade of the form, when vaudeville moved closer to stand-up by placing increasing emphasis on the character of the emcee. The emcee's patter had to be brisk as to not slow down the desired quick flow of the vaudeville bill, and the short jokes he would use seem to have set the standard for post-vaudeville stand-up comics.
The modern era of standup comedy probably begins with the so-called 'new humor' of the popular theater around the turn of the twentieth century. 'New humor' relied on an aggressive, fast-paced comedy, and upon the joke -- a short humorous observation with a distinct 'punchline.'
We see evidence of joke stealing (though sharing or collective authorship might be better terms for the practice back then) dating from the very beginnings of vaudeville, burlesque, and minstrel, and we see no significant evidence during this formative period of any powerful norm against appropriation. Rather, we see many instances of performers appropriating material from other performers. Vaudeville performers often reprised short acts from well-known plays, sang parts of operas or danced in the styles of the moment. Originality was not a priority.
Burlesque was stand-up's third major precursor and involved a mix of satiric and ribald humor aimed at a male audience...Vaudeville and burlesque jokes were usually short and lacked a narrative thread connecting one joke to another.
Comics like Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, Jack Benny, and Bob Hope represent the transition from vaudeville...These performers carried with them into this post-vaudeville period much of the 'vaudeville aesthetic'--fast-paced gags, word-play, remnants of theatre (music, song, dance, and costumes), and physical humor...they told strings of jokes that ranged over a wide variety of topics and had little narrative or thematic connection to one another. This style of humor was the dominant form of stand-up between the late 1920s and the 1960s, and remains a secondary, but still significant form of stand-up today.
The late 1940s and early 1950s saw the rise of a new wave of radio and television comedians like Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Jackie Gleason
Organized crime and nightclub comedy coexisted...For a good forty years the Mob controlled American show business...it didn't matter if these clubs were in Cleveland, Portland...if it was a nightclub, the owners were the Mob...Dominated by the Mob element, there were more nightclubs in South Florida than anywhere else in the country...The Copacabana was the most important of all the Mob-run nightclubs...To be a comedian in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s was to be an employee of organized crime.
Although mobsters no longer run most of the comedy clubs in the United States, cash intensive businesses like comedy clubs and strip clubs continue to be attractive to the Mob.
[O]n the nightclub circuit a new type of stand-up comic was materializing in the person of Lenny Bruce...It was Bruce who moved from the slapstick world of W. C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy to a straight, 'lone ranger' approach to comedy. Added to his one-man routine was a base, sexually oriented humor mixed with the urban sophistication of an intellectual. His scathing social and political satire was not built around the old jokes of vaudeville but on new 'free form' routines that many considered 'hip.'
Lenny Bruce...did not start his career as a pioneer, but as a typical Catskills 'toomler,' performing a clean act filled with hokey impressions and material liberally appropriated from other comics. After achieving some initial recognition...Bruce began making changes to his act. He began writing all of his material himself (a radical concept at the time)...The descendants of Sahl and Bruce comprise the majority of working comedians today.
The March 1961 issue of Playboy magazine features...[a] symposium on the 'new wave' standup comedy, involving Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Jonathan Winters, and Jules Feiffer among others
The new wave of satiric comedians hailed from college campuses and cellar nightclubs, such as San Francisco's 'the hungry i' (named for its 'hungry intellectual' clientele). These comics attracted younger, more affluent, more educated, more self-consciously 'hip' audiences than those for whom comedians trained in vaudeville performed. Critic Ralph J. Gleason commented that the new comedy 'bears a strong resemblance to jazz. It is rooted in the same dissent, nurtured in the same rebellion and articulated in the same language in which the priorities of the Establishment have no standing at all.' When the new comedians reached the mainstream through comedy albums and appearances on television variety shows, they often had to moderate their iconoclastic material to suit national tastes. In adapting, they relied on comic talent that transcended politics, and in so doing, became part of the mass culture they once had satirized.
[I]n the 1950s new comedians emerged with differences in style and content which were so evident as to prompt the use of the term 'new wave' to describe and to group them...A few of the lionizers of the late Lenny Bruce give him the credit for singly 'inventing' it, others cite Mort Sahl and Lord Buckley as seminal figures, still others see its roots in the satiric improvisational theater developing during the period (e.g. Second City, The Committee, etc.)...They would dress more casually, often sit on stools or lounge rather than stand...and more importantly their style was more loose--seemingly and often genuinely spontaneous...and their subject matter...more 'relevant' social and political satire...Even the audience is different, with small 'folk music clubs' and college auditoriums
In the 1960s, the mockery of history and myth becomes the major focus for the humor of Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Flip Wilson, and Godfrey Cambridge...The most important Black comedian of the 1950s and 1960s was Redd Foxx, who gained a reputation for his uncensored racial humor on the night club circuit.
In a Playboy interview, Martin pointed to this by saying, 'I feel I am the link for the normal audience to understand Andy Kaufman. Andy is where I may have gone if this never worked.'
His [Mooney's] first professional comedy gig was working with Pryor on the groundbreaking comedian's albums 'Is It Something I Said?' (1975) and 'Bicentennial N----' (1976)...Mooney also helped Pryor write for television and movies, working on Pryor's short-lived television show, his 'Saturday Night Live' skits and the 1986 movie 'Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling.'
During a 'Beverly Hills Cop II' press conference...Eddie Murphy, 26, announced the existence of the 'black pack,' a clique of successful black comedians made up of Murphy, Robert Townsend, Arsenio Hall, Paul Mooney and Keenen Ivory Wayans. But the burden...has fallen heavily on Murphy--he is expected by many to have done more than he has to bring blacks into power positions.
Comedy as truth telling -- 'it's funny because it's true' -- starts here. A society's comedians reveal precisely where the social lines are, and nowhere is this more evident than with the Comedy BlackPack, whose members have actually done a lot of cutting-edge work on black cultural pathology.
'The Aristocrats' remained largely a trade secret until the legal and distribution environment could support a film like Paul Provenza's The Aristocrats, in which some 100 stand-up comedians tell and talk about the world's dirtiest joke.
Go to festivals, because that's where you get noticed by the media...[and] gauge [yourself against] everybody else.
I [Buddy Morra] go to the Montreal and Aspen comedy festivals, but I haven't seen much that's knocked me out.
Jim McCue, the founder of The Boston International Comedy and Movie Festival, spoke about the role of the festival in the industry: 'A festival is a great way to get attention for someone who might not have the connections other people do. This festival is constantly looking for under-appreciated talent. Hopefully, we can do our part and let people see the next generation of comedy genius.'CS1 maint: location (link)
In the stand-up business, 'dirty' and 'clean' are treated as polar opposites. Swearing is the difference between the two, and bookings are based on the distinction. Club owners, event sponsors, and media executives let comics know, usually through bookers or agents, whether they will hire someone who works blue or whether they are interested in those who will refrain from uttering obscenities.
Profanity is commonplace in contemporary stand-up comedy (so much so that 'clean comedy' is a marketable commodity).
Mr. Clemens [Twain] once remarked to me...'When I first began to lecture, and in my earlier writings, my sole idea was to make comic capital out of everything I saw and heard. My object was not to tell the truth, but to make people laugh. I treated my readers as unfairly as I treated everybody else--eager to betray them at the end with some monstrous absurdity or some extravagant anti-climax.'
The lecture circuit in the nineteenth century supported dozens of successful humorists, the most famous of whom were Mark Twain and Artemus Ward
[Mark Twain] toured his first lecture, usually known as 'Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands,' for 100 performances beginning in 1866
Artemus Ward, a spoof of P.T. Barnum, did displace Charles Farrar Browne [AKA Ward] as the persona evolved from print into the more generic deadpan burlesque preacher of the lecture platform...Twain's deadpan self-deprecations...[were] borrowed from Ward
[M]ost vaudeville theatres were part of vaudeville circuits, or chains. Vaudeville's high-end (or 'big-time') theatres were organized into two dominant circuits, separated geographically so that they did not compete. The big-time vaudeville circuits cooperated in booking performers centrally through an arrangement known as the United Booking Office ('UBO'). The 'small-time' vaudeville business, although somewhat more competitive, was still dominated by the same Keith and Orpheum circuits that controlled the big-time business...If a performer wanted to do an act in any place important, they would have to go through the UBO...Keith's controls all houses east of Chicago; while Orpheum functions in Chicago and all points west. Both book from the same floor of the Palace Theatre Buildings in New York...a bloc of from 300 to 350 'Small Time' vaudeville theatres in which Keith's and Orpheum are either owners, or control the policies of the theatres through their bookings.
The Chitlin' Circuit was a collection of all-black venues, clubs, [and] theaters--that was in the United States during the era of, basically racial segregation, and this is not just in the South my friend. This is in the North as well, where a lot of African-American families came north during what's called the Great Migration and a number of clubs opened up specifically in these neighborhoods--which were redlined--and subsequently launched some of the greatest music and comedy acts we've ever known. And so the Apollo Theater was in the chitlin circuit. Not only in it, the crown jewel.
The Chitlin' Circuit was African-American comedians performing for African-American audiences because comedy was segregated back then...But it was not acceptable in those days for a black comedian to address a white crowd, because as a comedian on stage, you are superior to your audience. You are giving them your point of view -- and in those days it wasn't allowed, so the Chitlin' Circuit alleviated that thing.
The Apollo began operating in 1934 during the Harlem Renaissance and became the most prized venue on the 'Chitlin' Circuit' during the time of racial segregation in the United States.
Comedians such as Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor and Moms Mabley were popular first in clubs on the 'Chitlin' Circuit' in urban hubs.
[Hugh Hefner's] clubs providing a bridge between the old-school resorts of the Catskill mountains and the comedy club explosion of the 1980s.
There were Mob-run roadhouses along the highway leading to the Catskills, but the Mountain resorts themselves were family operations. The demise of vaudeville allowed the area to gain traction as unemployed vaudevillians chased a paycheck...with affordable prices and like-minded people, it earned the famous nickname 'the Borscht Belt.'...Catskill crowds could be difficult...The Catskills were dominated by one major booking agency...A booker for MCA in the 1930s, [Charlie] Rapp amassed a large network of showbiz connections and went independent in 1942...Charles Rapp Enterprises monopolized the Mountains, booking talent for the largest and most important Catskill resorts--the Concord and Grossinger's...The Catskills endured for several decades.
Hugh Hefner...decides in 1960...to open a club in Chicago called the Playboy Club and then opens a number of these clubs all around the country, creates this circuit where comedians...this is before comedy clubs.
When I started out in show business, there were no comedy clubs. Every nightclub in America had a comic...They [Playboy] had two showrooms, The Penthouse and The Playroom...When they're ready to start the show...The girl singer would go on and do 3 or 4 songs and then, she would finish, and we'd come on and we'd be doing like 45 minutes and she would do 15 like minutes
They [Playboy] gave you nothing...they did not pay transportation and they did not pay for the hotel room; you could eat there where the employees ate...and the top money at that time was a 1,000 dollars a week, and I did not get that; Jackie Gayle, he was the top comedian of the playboy clubs in those days you know, and I got $500 a week.
In March 1975 my agent, Mart Klein, secured a job in San Francisco, two weeks headlining the Playboy Club for fifteen hundred dollars per week
The only way for standup comedians to find an audience beyond the club circuit back then was to score a spot on TV, and 'Def Comedy Jam' provided that opportunity for black comics, including Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, D.L. Hughley, Sheryl Underwood and Cedric the Entertainer...Lawrence hosted the original 'Def Comedy Jam' series as the same time he was starring in his own network sitcom in 1992.
Nearly six years after exploding onto the scene and launching the careers of dozens of black comics, HBO's raunchy and wildly successful 'Def Comedy Jam' continues to be a force...[;]Martin Lawrence...Bill Bellamy...John Henton...[and] Joe Torry are some of the more well-known veterans of the 'Def Comedy Jam' circuit.
'Def Comedy Jam' is an extraction of the hip-hop scene: its setting, music, performers, and audience are all part of the contemporary rap arena. The stage is set very close to the audience so that comics are neither at a distance from nor at an exaggerated level above them. This setting engenders a sense of community and familiarity. Indeed, instead of the usual monologue that comedians normally present in stand-up comic situations, this setting allows for the comics to carry on a dialogue with the audience. Comedians often ask questions of the audience, and the answers are heard by nearly everyone. This dialogue is a form of the African American oral tradition of call and response, which is quite different from the hecklers mainstream comedians may encounter. Although hecklers are generally an undesirable, but often expected, aspect of stand-up comic routines, the call and response of 'Def Comedy Jam' is an essential element of African American dialogic performances. Similarly, the audience's response to the performance illustrates the connection between them and the performer. The 'Def Comedy Jam' audience is made up largely of young African Americans; the laughter is animated and boisterous. Many male audience members jump out of their seats, stand up, shout, and 'high five' one another--or even the comic-- when they find an anecdote, joke, or situation particularly amusing.
DoVeanna Fulton alludes to this collaboration between comedian and audience with respect to the performances on Def Comedy Jam, a series produced by Russell Simmons of Def Jam Records and originally broadcast on HBO. [Fulton states that] 'The stage is set very close to the audience so that comics are neither at a distance from nor at an exaggerated level above them. This setting engenders a sense of community and familiarity...This setting allows for the comics to carry on a dialogue with the audience. Comedians often ask questions of the audience, and the answers are heard by nearly everyone. This dialogue is a form of African American oral tradition of call and response, which is quite different from the hecklers mainstream comedians may encounter.' 2004: 87-88
[S]ome of this country's finest comedians are the ones you might never have heard off. Only a minuscule percentage of our vast comic talent is what you see and hear on TV and radio. The rest are on the circuit...Even before the pandemic, theatres under this government were woefully underfunded, often being run almost entirely by volunteers. Panto and touring comedy shows have become the bread and butter of many of these theatres; they bring in the punters, fund the theatre shows. You can't be a touring comedian without learning the craft in the clubs. Every megastar comedian tests their material in clubs.
[A comedian] can talk about [their] experience, but [they] can't make fun of someone else's identity.
Thus, college comedians can mock those groups "liberal" students deride--Evangelical Christians, Scientologists, working-class rural males--yet they dare not even flirt with jokes about race, gender, and sexuality.
I stopped playing colleges...because they're way too conservative...in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody.
Judy Gold is one of many famous comics, including Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock who say they avoid playing college campuses, because they believe younger audiences can't take a joke.
It is notable that the majority of the most vociferous critics of today's student audiences--Seinfeld, Maher, Gottfried, Louis CK, Dennis Miller, Larry the Cable Guy--are middle-aged (or older), white, presumably heterosexual males...Ricky Gervais...too
I can't ever do the lucrative, corporate gigs that...because in that...people can get paid a lot of money for doing half an hour at a bankers' convention, but you have to be the sort of person that appears to please people...[and not treat them as] deficient
Beginning in May 1941 and continuing for nearly fifty years, Hope brought his variety show to military camps and war zones to entertain troops with song, dance, comedy, attractive women, and people in the news.
[I]n October 1941, the USO worked with entertainment executives to create a new branch of the organization called USO Camp Shows, Inc. That month, it sent its first overseas tour, featuring comedians Laurel and Hardy, Chico Marx, and Broadway tap dancer and film star Mitzi Mayfair to the Caribbean to entertain troops...This sub-branch of the organization was organized into four circuits - the Victory Circuit, the Blue Circuit, the Hospital Circuit and the Foxhole Circuit. The Victory and Blue Circuit troupes entertained stateside military personnel, while the Hospital Circuit troupes were tasked with visiting the wounded and the Foxhole Circuit troupes headed overseas...As stated in the 1944 guide given to all USO Foxhole Circuit performers, 'You're in the Army now.'...By V-E Day, the USO was putting on 700 shows per day all around the world and, by the end of the war, had sent over 7,300 entertainers overseas to perform for the troops. Together, they put on an estimated 420,000 performances for over 130 million service member attendees...Although big-name stars like Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sheridan, Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, traveled to Europe post D-Day, the large majority of USO performers were lesser-known acts.
I define Christian comedy as clean comedy that can be good for the soul. I believe God wants us to laugh
[T]he concept of the 'professional' [stand-up comedian] is vague at best, making it quite difficult to say with any certainty whether a given comedian is professional. Should it be...only those making their living primarily through stand-up comedy? Why not include stand-ups who earn their living otherwise, but regularly perform stand-up for supplementary income? Indeed, why not include stand-ups who make relatively little through stand-up, in some cases, nothing, but spend most of their evenings performing and their free-time writing stand-up? It's overly simplistic to decide who counts as a stand-up comedian based on income, time devoted to writing or performing, number of performances, or talent.
I didn't start getting anywhere until...five years in, financially...even then, it was month to month [in New York City].
It took four or five years before I [Yakov Smirnoff] could make a living as a comedian.
I've [Jay Leno] always told comedians that if you can do this for seven years, I mean physically make it to the stage for seven years, you'll always make a living...You start to get paid at the end of the fourth or fifth year--I mean paid in terms of here's $500 dollars for one night, not $15 or $20 for a set.
Early in a comic's career, you get calls from...bookers...I would never again take a gig where it cost me more to get there than the pay, but back then I just needed stage time.
The first paying position a comic can land is to emcee or host a show.
One of his main bookers nags him [the comedian] about losing the [foul] language, promising him so many more gigs...and higher-paying ones at that, as these different kinds of gigs include corporate affairs, cruise ships, and Christian rallies.
An emcee will make usually from $10-$35 a show. It's usually $25.
I was the feature act at The Punchline Comedy Club in Sacramento, California. And...traditionally in American comedy clubs, there's three acts: there's an opening act that makes between a hundred and two hundred [dollars] a week for nine shows, there's a feature act...makes between four and five hundred bucks a week for nine shows, and a headliner, who can make absolutely anything depending on who they are.
At the better chains, middle acts earn a weekly salary of $600 and up; headliners, anywhere from $2000 to $10,000, plus air fare and lodging - usually at the club's 'comedy condo' in town...The chief variable is drawing power, based on accumulated TV and movie credits.
If it's somebody starting off in the business it could be $1,500 a show. For somebody who's had some TV credits you could go from $4,500 to $7,500.
the famous comics have what's called a "door deal" and get paid based on the amount of people in the crowd.
It depends on the TV exposure of the comic, whether the comic draws and if he can command a higher ticket price.
Those T-shirts and CDs we sell are what we make our real money on...And when we do book a paying gig? We spend most of the money on transportation to get there.
Netflix is wooing superstar comics with eight-figure deals, including Dave Chappelle (a reported $60 million), Louis C.K. ($26 million), Amy Schumer ($20 million) and Jim Gaffigan ($10 million).
Hannibal Burress was the most popular comedian in Caponera's (2009) price range of $2,000.
Keith is one of the kings of the college circuit. A few years ago, he was the most-booked college comic, playing 120 campuses. He charges $2,300 for a single performance.
Headliners can reap $1,500 to $2,500 per church comedy show
A newer comic on the national circuit can earn anywhere from $1,250 to $2,500 per week, according to one prominent touring agent; more established names can pull in anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in the same period.
it's very hard to make that amount even on the road...To mislead someone with a figure that is beyond an exaggeration and just ridiculous.
Bigger name comics have been known to pay thousands for jokes and hire writers...After a famous comic has an HBO Special, they almost always hire writers to help them pump out more material.
Comics need material badly, especially once they get to be in demand--they've got to keep coming up with the stuff...Often, once a comic becomes successful, his requirements for material begin to exceed his ability to create it--particularly in the case of TV spots, which 'eat' it instantly.
[T]hat's another thing people do--write down jokes they see on TV, then sell them to other comics who don't realize what they're doing.
Backstage...back region tends to be defined as...all places out of range of 'live' microphones...One of the most interesting times to observe impression management is the moment when a performer leaves the back region and enters the place where the audience is to be found...for at these moments one can detect a wonderful putting on and taking off of character.