Its time for the ever popular "After School Special"! Today I chat with a few students after a Stand-Up Comedy Level One: Writing
class in Nashville. They ask insight fun questions about choosing the right material for the right audience, how to include the opposite sex in your material, and how to survive the politically correct atmosphere that has chewed up and spit out so many of today's comedians.
ALL ABOUT THE AUDIENCE SHOW NOTES
Michael, an EMT, asks about how you find your audience, how long does it take to develop your niche and how you write material specifically for a type of audience.
June, who works in special education, asks “What do guys think is funny?” Specifically, are there some topics that guys are naturally uncomfortable listening to?
We talk about including the guys by writing tag lines or using analogies that make the material accessible. My approach is to include everyone every five minutes. I don’t stay on a topic that is so exclusive that it alienates part of the audience for more than a few minutes at a time.
Amy, a real estate broker, asks about how older folks can get into comedy. Is it easier, harder or how difficult is it to become a comedian when you are a little bit older. My advice is to find the people who want to listen to what you have to say and go to them. Sometimes hoping they find you is just not going to cut it. I give specific advice on how you can connect to your potential audience and start from where you are now.
Judgemental "PC" Audiences
Michael asks a mother question, this time about the political correctness in comedy today. Has it ruined the ability for a comedian to say what is on their mind? Don’t audiences realize they don’t have to watch a show if they don’t like it?
My take is that if you present yourself as an authentic comedian, it is hard for the audience to separate your comedic angle from your true point of view. So write a joke that explores all angles of a topic. Be aware of potential animosity and write to address those audience members.
It comes down to intent. You must make that clear on stage so that the joke can survive. I don’t like the judgmental / TMZ type of audience member who is looking for a scoop on your bad behavior to share on social media. But, if you make yourself clear you should be able to avoid winding up in their cross-hairs. Sponsors:
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