Standup Comedy — A First Timer’s Experience

A couple of weeks ago I received this note from Amit Sodha, a computer network engineer from London, UK:

“I’m a regular reader of your blog and I most definitely find it useful for the coaching and radio work I do from a day to day basis!  I first came across your blog when I saw transcript of Steve Pavlina’s routine for his Toastmasters Area Contest and learned a lot just from reading his work. I’m actually doing some stand-up this weekend, it’s my first attempt and I’ve just written a blog post about it.”

Here is a link to his post before the performance.  He had signed up to do a 15-minute set for a special charity fundraiser.  Normally, a first-timer at an open-mike would do about 5 minutes.  So 15 minutes is a stretch.  In a practice run he tried out 6 minutes of his material and got ONE laugh.  He had his work cut out for him.

His performance was a hit.  Here’s a link to his post after the performance.  He amazingly ended up doing 25 minutes!  And he spent 40 hours preparing for the event.

He shares his thoughts on:   

  Use of notes
  Preparing the audience to receive comedy from first-timers
  The importance of the opening joke
  Using blue humor (it can work in the right comedy club environment)

This is an excellent chance to learn from the experience of someone stepping onto the comedy stage for the first time.  He had a fun time and would encourage others to follow in his footsteps.