British Comedy Guide

Memorizing & Performing a Stand Up Routine?

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Matt1433

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 2:39pm
  • 2 posts

Hi all! New to the forum so please be gentle

For my entire life I've had a strange obsession with stand up and knew it was a matter of time before I gave it a go. I started writing down things that are funny to me, and began to form it to how I think it should be presented on stage (i'll post them all for soul-shattering criticism eventually)

My only concern is when I read around on forums and hear people speak about it, the vast majority "just have themes and topics then riff & expand on stage", whereas where I'm sitting I definitely feel like writing it out word for word, I suppose this is common for most who have yet to perform, but which route would you suggest for a first open mic?

Onto the second point, I think this mentality is more than likely out of fear and wanting to play it safe. I'm absolutely petrified to get on stage and perform, which is the real reason I'm going to do it (in the least S&M sounding way possible). How do/did other newbies manage fear in the beginning? I understand it'll get easier the more comfortable I get, but what about the initial jitters starting out?

Apologies for the wordiness, much love

Matt

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Nogget

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 3:21pm
  • England
  • 6,620 posts
Quote: Mattioso @ 27th July 2015, 2:39 PM BST

My only concern is when I read around on forums and hear people speak about it, the vast majority "just have themes and topics then riff & expand on stage", whereas where I'm sitting I definitely feel like writing it out word for word, I suppose this is common for most who have yet to perform, but which route would you suggest for a first open mic?

There are indeed top stand-ups who simply perform a script, as is easy to tell, because they repeat their performance from one night to another.

Their heckler put-downs tend to be written, too. Make sure you write a few of them.

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sootyj

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 3:35pm
  • England
  • 51,287 posts

Most people treat a routine like going hiking with a map.

Firstly you need to know the main points you have to reach, it ok to have a bit of a wonder inbetween.

And you might want to memorise the really complex bits.

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Tony Cowards

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 4:08pm
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 1,762 posts

If you're anything like me the more you know your "script" inside out the more it will free up your brain to improvise and riff when something happens in the moment, for example a heckle.

So, my advice would be to write out word for word what you want to say, learn it off by heart and then you take away the fear of having nothing to say on stage.

The trick then is to remember that you don't HAVE to say everything you've learnt word for word, in fact it's often best if you use that as a fallback option if you run out of other things to say.

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Davey Jay

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 8:43pm
  • Manchester, England
  • 224 posts

For the fear, you just have to allow the fear, allow yourself to experience fear, it's perfectly normal - and once you've done it a few times it diminishes anyway (or at least becomes less of a problem)

And for the script - defo learn it inside out - but it's entirely possible you'll forget bits or even the whole thing if nerves get the better of you or you get distracted with a heckle or something happening off stage - I used to boil mine down to bullet points and write the bullet points on my hand - then if I needed to I could take a sneaky look to get my place again

Good luck anyway - best just do it asap and get the first one out of the way

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sootyj

  • Monday 27th July 2015, 11:21pm
  • England
  • 51,287 posts
Quote: Tony Cowards @ 27th July 2015, 4:08 PM BST

If you're anything like me the more you know your "script" inside out the more it will free up your brain to improvise and riff when something happens in the moment, for example a heckle.

So, my advice would be to write out word for word what you want to say, learn it off by heart and then you take away the fear of having nothing to say on stage.

The trick then is to remember that you don't HAVE to say everything you've learnt word for word, in fact it's often best if you use that as a fallback option if you run out of other things to say.

Yup so true, reading a script from your brain is as bad and unentertaining as reading it from a piece of paper.

You need to be comfortable and familiar with it.