The first thing you need to know is that all comedy and humor has a foundation in truth, whether it be in casual conversations or on the stand-up comedy stage.
The degree that stand-up comedy material is “truthful” is dependent solely upon the comedian and what they choose to say and express for the stage.
I should point out that whatever foundational “truth” a comedian is expressing should be easily recognized by the audience as “truthful”, accurate or factual in some way – otherwise the audience won’t respond to the comedian’s humorous perspective or point of view as it relates to the “truth” they present.
But it’s not the level of “truthfulness” in stand-up comedy material that gives a comedian the ability to generate significant audience laughter.
Stand-up comedy material can have very little literal truth or it can be virtually 100% truthful.
What gives stand-up comedy its laughter power — much more so than the level of “truth” is the level genuineness in which the comedy material is presented.
It will always be this aspect of genuineness that either makes what the comedian has to say “truthful” so to speak or causes the audience to determine that a comedian is simply trying to mechanically “joke” an audience into laughing.
Most comedy material usually employs some degree of exaggeration, no matter how “factually accurate” or “truthful” that comedy material may be.
But an audience’s acceptance of any exaggeration associated with stand-up comedy material that is presented one again will be directly related to the genuineness of the material being presented.
One of the big mistakes that comedians make is that they try to “joke” an audience into laughing at what they have to say.
In other words, they try to “sell” their comedy material in a way that is perceived by an audience as phony or made up instead of in a manner that is genuine and believable.
Here’s what I have told comedians for years:
Whether your comedy material is 0% truthful or 100% truthful does not matter. What does matter is that when you are on stage, 100% of everything you say must be genuine and believable in order to get the big laughs.
The critical aspects of genuineness and believability are directly related to the process a comedian uses to develop their stand-up comedy material and the process they use to prepare to deliver their stand-up comedy material.
What I have just presented provides some of the reasons why paper written “jokes” that have been “crafted” out thin air using fabricated premises tend to flop miserably on stage with great consistency.
For more detailed information about why new comedians fail needlessly with their stand-up comedy material, you might want to check out the 5 free lessons in the Killer Stand-up Online Course, unless of course it is your goal to become an expert at bombing with your stand-up comedy material.