You’re supposed to write about yourself, your life, and your expreiences, right? The problem is your life isn’t all that much different than the other twenty-some guys on the list at open mic. You’re from the midwest, you’re single, your ex-girlfriend was a bitch, you’re poor, you smoke weed, you drink, you’ve been to a strip club, you’re out of shape, your job sucks if you even have one, you have to live with your parents, and your sex life consists of your right hand and a website. What can you say that hasn’t already been joked about? Even worse is that club managers aren’t interested in this kind of material opening up their 7:30 Saturday show to a crowd with grown men possible wearing a blazer who have wives ordering $7 drinks with no problem.
So what else is there to write about? In my book I mention several techniques that pros gave me early on. For example, Michael Loftus said he used to go through the USA Today section that had a one-sentence news story about every state and try to write a joke for each one. In a recent chat with Andi Smith she advised just writing about the everyday occurrences even if it’s just going to the store. She also mentioned the news as a great source for bits. Keith Alberstadt (check him out on Pandora now) says “just traveling is a treasure trove of gold.” Stop at tourist stops, talk to people with various personalities, etc.
Bits about what’s happening in the news are obviously common and this isn’t breakthrough insight on my part, but I do offer certain pros and cons along with other tips when your material covers current events in Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage. In order for your material to be funnier, it has to be more unique. Right now your life might not be that interesting, but see if you can write a short three or four minute set without using the typical subjects I mentioned in the first paragraph. You need to think like a writer at all times, not just when you sit down with a notebook (which you should also do every day).
I’ve also seen a few comics sharing some really personal quirks about themselves and their families on stage. This is a good start but you cannot just state these oddball facts. You must turn them into a punchline to make them funny instead of just implying how strange they are in a statement or story. You’re on the right track, just take it up a notch.
The main point of this entry wasn’t as much to give you writing ideas, but instead to become aware of overdone topics male comics in their 20s use. I apologize that this entry was aimed only at the male open mic comics so here’s my tip for the female open mic comics. You don’t all have to do an abortion joke.
If you want more advice on how to make money in comedy be sure to check out my book at www.robdurhamcomedy.com or get the ebook for a fraction of the price instantly RIGHT HERE. (Yes, you can do that from your Kindle as well using the same link.)