Stop Being A Loser on Stage

If you watch open mic week after week, you’ll start to hear a lot of the same kinds of material.

“I’m single.”

“I’m poor.”

I did the same thing because when I started at 22 I was single and poor…rather desperate even. Write what you know, right? The problem is that if you’re going to make the jump to performing in professional shows (which is what my book and this blog are for), you’re not going to connect with a majority of the audience.

Find something else to write jokes about if you want to be a part of bigger shows that pay.

I missed the Tinder generation of dating, but I imagine no one stresses how poor and lonely they are on there. “Lovable loser” has its comedy limits too.  Most of your crowd at paying shows are going to be married couples who have careers and more ambition. Your material might be “cute,” but if you’re going for sympathy, that tends to trump funny.

I advise you to go through each joke in your set, and if there’s a hint of “this will gain sympathy” you should ask yourself whether it’s really worth keeping.

A successful vibe is going to attract more people. In the last few years of my career I’ve booked quite a few well-paying shows just from people in the crowd afterwards.

In that long open mic list, you have to find a way to make your material stand out.

(And if you’re looking to attract someone from stage, joking about how single you are isn’t the way to wow them either. I’ve knew a comic who would always lie and say that he had a girlfriend on stage because he said it attracted more women.)

For more tips on how to make money in stand-up comedy, check out my book, Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage which is available on Amazon, Kindle, iTunes, etc.

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About Rob Durham

With an English Degree, three years as a doorman at the Columbus Funnybone, over a decade of stand-up experience, and a recent certification in teaching high school English class, writing a book seemed like the next inevitable step for Rob Durham. The son of a coach, Rob has an excellent ability to teach and explain things in the easiest and most direct way possible. His (often labeled ridiculous) memory allows him to think of every possible situation that a new comic might face because at one point he was there too. Rob gives an inside look at comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges every performer faces. Without ego and the myth that “anyone can do it” Rob gives the reader a true feel of what living the so-called dream feels like, from preparing for that first open mic night to touring the country. View all posts by Rob Durham

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