Creating Comedy In A Bubble

Although it is the title of this entry, creating comedy in a bubble is not possible.  Kind of like altruism, something “corrupts” the process of creating jokes without any interference.  There is always an outside force acting upon you.  You know what?  Maybe we should go back to the beginning, and explain what I mean and then we can get into the hippie dippie parts.  Ok?

When I use the term “creating in a bubble”  I mean creating whatever you want without outside actors interfering with you or it.  When a painter paints, he doesn’t want people around to tell him that the colors are off or that the faces don’t look like faces.  A painter wants to create free of those forces so his true art, and true message can come across.  The same is to be said for a comedian, but slightly harder because our art is giving to an audience in real time.

As a comedian there will always be things that will affect your comedy.  Does the audience expect cleaner material?  Is the crowd uneasy?  Are they rowdy?  These things can have an affect on a performance.  Even more than that are you in a situation to even create without much issue.  Are you being told that you are too dirty, or that you focus to much on one subject? These things can affect your comedy.  It can affect the way you write jokes, and the way you perform those jokes.

When I first started doing comedy, I paid attention to what the audience was digging and I tried to write material to reflect that.  As you could probably imagine it was not that good.  I was all over the place, the audience wasn’t really feeling it, and to top it off I wasn’t even enjoying myself.  That was when I was told by a great mentor to many a comic, Jay Wendell Walker, to just do whatever I enjoyed doing.  I took that advise, and it totally changed my comedy.  Instead of letting people affect my comedy I started creating material and went out of my way to reject any criticism towards it.

When I say I rejected criticism you have to understand that I am talking about all forms of criticism that I felt didn’t make me better as a comedian. Hearing people say that you are not good or that you should not do certain material will make you stop doing that material and I think that can hurt your comedy. Does it actually make you a better comedian to hear someone tell you that you are too loud or you curse to much or you talk about boobs too much?  Example, someone after a show tells you you should not tell jokes about a certain subject because it happened to them.  That is messed up, but does that really have any bearing on your joke?  If you start pulling back material every time someone said it bothered them you would be telling knock knock jokes.  Sometimes jokes are not all cuddly. Sometimes harsh truths get exposed and you are not doing the world a service if you decide not to do it because someone is going to get upset.

I hope my point got across.  As an entertainer, you will always have things that will affect your comedy in some way, shape, or form.  What the great comedians have done, however, is block all of that external, negative, information off, and they were able to create comedy that is not only funny, but eye opening.  If you want to reach your maximum potential you will have to do the same thing.  Take your gloves off, and go for it on stage!  Look through the darker parts of your notepad and bring those bits to life.  You wrote an entire page about frog fighting?  Try it!  You never know what will become a key part of your act if you are letting your fear and the negative or unwanted advice of others get to you. Sometimes what I do is I will look through my phone for a bit or a premise I wrote down awhile ago, and just give it a shot on stage.  Go to an open mic and go for it.  I think you will see that ignoring all the factors that curtail your material will help you out in the long run!


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