Comedian

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KEY SKILLS

  • Joke writing

  • Humour observations

  • Quick-witted

  • Intelligent

  • Articulate

  • Engaging storytelling

  • Good comic timing

  • Discipline and consistency to practice

  • Find your own style

  • Regular to open-mics

  • Open to criticism

PROS

  • You get to travel the world if you go on a tour.

  • You get the opportunity to make people laugh.

  • No early mornings. Very rarely does a show require you to get up early (unless you have to travel to it). 

  • A wide range of opportunities can come your way.  

  • You have loads of spare time to do what you want that is to write jokes and follow your passion.

  • You end up knowing a lot about countries, sectors, and different industries.

  • Making a room full of strangers laugh at something you thought of is one of the greatest (natural) highs you can experience.

  • You write jokes, make videos, perform live, and selling your show tickets.

  • If you get to the point where you're making enough to live on, you only work roughly 8 hours a week.

CONS

  • You might face many rejections.

  • You have to figure out how to make yourself stand out from every other comedian out there.

  • If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

  • It’s unpredictable. Like any entrepreneur (and as comedians, you are entrepreneurs), there is no steady paycheck coming.

  • It takes a long time to get paid well.

  • Starting out it's hard. No pay, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of looking like an idiot and feeling alone.

  • It is hard to make people laugh.

  • Comedians are rarely salaried employees, they do not get the benefits that come with regular jobs.

  • Your jokes may become politicized and you may face public backlash.

OPPORTUNITY TYPES

GOT WHAT IT TAKES?

  • Stand-up shows

  • An audio recording of a comedy album

  • Television Comedy 

  • Comedy on Internet

  • Writing scripts for funny movies

  • Radio Comedy

  • You are open to criticism.

  • You are comfortable bombing on stage at any point in the career.

  • You love to keep re-inventing yourself.

  • You have a passion for writing jokes.

  • You love to make people laugh.

  • You can make fun of yourself.

  • You can easily set up a good comic rhythm in your speech pattern.

KEY OPPORTUNITIES

Books

Podcasts

Networking Groups

Interesting Facts about the career

The Woman Behind it All

What does the name Mitzi Shore mean to you? Yes, that last name means that she’s Pauly Shore’s mother, but her legacy is considerably more important than just that. She was a co-founder of the first club dedicated purely to stand-up comedy, The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Serving as the sole owner of the club following her divorce, Mitzi was directly responsible for launching the careers of the generation’s most successful comedians, from Robin Williams to David Letterman to Chris Rock.


Political Comedy

Mort Sahl made a name for himself by injecting politics into his comedy. As the one of the first stand-ups to introduce satire to the stage, he would often sit on a stool and read headlines directly from a newspaper in his hands, eviscerating them to a live audience. Considered a “political philosopher,” he was the first comedian to land on the front page of Time magazine. He set the mold that Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and George Carlin and many more would follow.


Mr. Bean’s Brain

As a schoolboy, Rowan Atkinson rubbed shoulders with future British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Afterward, he went on to graduate from not one, but two renowned Universities: Newcastle University for his bachelor’s and The Queen’s College at Oxford University for his master’s, both in Electrical Engineering—the funniest of degrees, obviously.


Hope’s Writers

Bob Hope was perhaps the first truly successful stand-up comedian, and he was so successful that he became the first person to hire a team of writers in order to come up with new material for his performances. This gave audiences a fresh new set of experiences and expectations when it came to live performance, and tailored them to expect new material from performers, instead of the same old thing over and over, as was common at the time.

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