Being funny and being a comedian are two very different things. Someone can be funny but can be horrible at performing any sort of comedic routine on stage. Alternatively, you can also be great on-stage but have a not-so-funny everyday personality. In our exclusive interview with on-the-rise comedian Nicholas Krywucki, he touched on this and other qualities a comedian must have in order to be successful. In this article, we'll go over what it takes to be a comedian.
So you think you're funny? Perfect. Step one is done. The real question is: does anyone else think you're funny? This part is surprisingly not as key to comedy as you may expect. As we said before, someone can be dry and humorless in their everyday life, but they could absolutely light up on stage, according to our expert funny man, Nick K.
Another staple for anyone hoping to jump into the comedy game is confidence. Comedians MUST be confident. Krywucki emphasized the point of just trying a stand-up set to see if it's something you really want to do. Having the guts alone to tell a joke or two to an audience is the biggest mountain to climb.
Lovers of stand-up who want to give it a try will find an opportunity to do it if they just take the time to look around. Comedy and open mic nights are HUGE right now. Any medium-sized city will have at least one venue where novice comedians can give it a go. The hardest part is getting over any nerves and stage fright and just doing it.
This microphone may be the scariest thing you've ever seen.
Aspiring comics should definitely have some sort of comedic plan first, but yeah, after that's all set, the next step is to jump onto the stage! Krywucki himself drank through his first open mic instead of performing which we imagine happens very often, but he still advocates for just getting up there and doing it. If you never try, you'll never know! As he said, "You’ll be terrible your first time and that’s ok. You might not want to do it again, but you will regret it if you never just throw yourself on stage for the first open mic."
A good personality is also super important for becoming a comedian. By the time you decide to try comedy or not, you'll likely be old enough to know if you're not most people's cup of tea, or if you're likable. Certain personalities won't translate well on-stage (or in day to day life for that matter) unless that's part of the act. It is also possible for personalities to change on the stage. Someone's stage persona can be very different from the way they are in everyday life. As Nick K said, "I wouldn't be able to translate my regular personality and still be funny. The persona isn't not-me though. It’s more than when I'm funny in the 'everyday' I am a certain way and when I distill my comedic parts down they all form into that 'certain way'."
Now, you need to to know what you want out of it. Do you want to make money off of this? Or is this just weekly fun? How much you put into your comedy is how much you'll get from it. Krywucki is a college student who does comedy as a hobby but also works in production where he makes his money. He dedicates a few nights a week to his shows.
Mid-level comedians can make a living off of their shows, but they may need an agent for that. It would be helpful. Obviously, don't expect to score a Netflix comedy special in the first year, but if that's your goal, work towards it. Go to an open mic every night if you can. Network like a madman. Utilize all social media platforms and upload your best stuff to YouTube. Get better with your act. See what works and what doesn't.
You could also just do it once or every once in awhile. Or maybe you can just ditch your crazy kids once a week to tell jokes at their expense. No money made, no city tours, nothing huge. An escape from real life if you will. It's like a hobby. Do as much as you want and don't do it when you don't want to. It's as simple as that.
So what's next? According to Krywucki, "Comedy is a great way to distract yourself from stress and get some kind of validation to your fudged up views of the world. Definitely not a natural thing." See? Natural talent is a major key. But, as we've learned from Krywucki, you may need to spend some time as an audience member before getting the guts to go up on stage, and just getting out there and doing it will be the best way to see if you can be successful or not.
Do you still think you're funny? Well, if you're a natural born performer with the confidence and writing skills to create and perform a comedic set, you may very well be able to become a comedian.
Have you ever considered doing comedy? What do you think of stand-up in general? Let us know in the comments!