Aspiring comedian struggling with inspiration

Hi everyone,

I'm a novice in the world of stand-up comedy and have recently had my first performance in front of a live audience. Needless to say, I completely and utterly failed. I'm not sure If it was because we all had masks on (including me), or because my material was rubbish, though I'm pretty sure it was the latter.

Anyway, I find myself often struggling with coming up with original material. I have a quirky mind and I don't have difficulty making my friends laugh, but when it comes to writing jokes to make unknown people laugh, something just isn't working. I've tried everything from listening to comedy courses online to telling jokes that come to mind while I'm on stage, but nothing seems to do the trick.

Here's an example: the other day, I read this article online and immediately thought that this topic has plenty of potential. Footballers are a right bunch of idiots, but I can't seem to create any funny material even with a topic this simple! At this point it's becoming frustrating, so I'm left with no choice than to beg for help here.

Does anyone have any idea on how I can improve my performance? Do I need to change my material, my viewpoint on comedy, or myself? I'm adamant this is what I want to do with my life, but life keeps punching me below the belt and I'm getting desperate. Please help!

So you are saying, you can't write jokes and you can't tell jokes. Not really a good start. Bit like me wanting to be a successful musician, but i cant play an instrument or sing. What might you suggest if i asked your advice?

I'm not a comic so don't let me put you off. As with anything in life, go for it. What is the worst that can happen? Regret comes from not trying, not from trying (if that makes sense). You need a plan. Join a stand up comedy course or find a local improv group to get your funny bones working. And work on a persona - most comics i see have a persona, often only a slightly exagerated version of themselves or of an aspect of themselves. Your pesona may have a different opinion to you it might be happy to say things you would never say. You might be able to write funny stuff for your persona more easily than for yourself.

What do i know anyway? Good luck!

Congratulations on getting up and doing a set in the first place!

Playfull is right: you know what you have to do to get good at something. Practice as much as you can. Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you can't do it, because you absolutely can and it will get easier.

If you're looking for different approaches to writing funny jokes/coming up with your best material, Angel comedy club have Writing Gym sessions every Saturday at 2pm (GMT) over zoom (if you search 'Angel Comedy Writing Gym' in Facebook, the group they share the zoom link in should come up). These are 2hr(ish) workshops for comedians/comedy writers to share things they're working on, and the person leading the session will usually share a few different exercises designed to help you strengthen your creative muscles and write tighter sets and jokes. I've done a couple and found them really useful!

If this isn't exactly what you're looking for, a couple of general things that sometimes help me are:

1) just getting a pen and paper and free-writing on a topic (like sports) for a set amount of time. It doesn't have to be good, just keep writing until you have filled a couple of pages and you've cleared your head a bit. Then pick the bits you like from that and see if you can expand on them.

2) going for a walk and seeing where your mind goes (this is also a good way to do a big brain dump to make room for your more creative ideas)

3) showing your work to people you trust to give you some honest feedback can help too!

Keep going!

Just keep at it. I've been Open Micing for over ten years and I've seen people get better and better just through doing it. Bombing is part of the learning process.
Also, don't be too hard on yourself. No one gets up there and gets it right the first time. Well maybe someone does,. But he's a c**t.

Quote: kate to the party @ 4th November 2021, 2:40 PM

Congratulations on getting up and doing a set in the first place!

No disrespect, but that sounds ever so slightly patronising. I remember the first ever time I did stand-up at uni, I was almost total crap, but as I meandered home I was tryna convince myself that I was fine for the first time. Then The Nice One came up to me and went, 'Miiiiccchaelllll! I actually thought you were quite funny!!!!!!!'

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