Which Way Is Easier? You Decide…

One of the things that I try to make clear to those who want to take a shot at stand-up comedy or add humor to a speech or presentation is this:

There is a simple way and there are a multitude of complicated ways to approach developing a stand-up comedy routine that actually works to generate laughs.

In this article I want to point out an example of a complicated way to approach the creation of stand-up comedy material.

But before I go there, I have some questions that I want to ask about you and the comedy talent that you have right now.

Do you believe that you already have comedy talent?

You should, as it took about two decades to establish your sense of humor, outlook on life and the various ways that you react with your sense of humor to the world around you.

As you mature, you don’t develop a different sense of humor — after the initial 15-20 years of your life you simply acquire more data points, experiences, observations, ideas, opinions, etc. that you can make use of when your sense of humor is activated and you express it as a result.

Did you have to formally learn any sort of “comedic” techniques in order to use and express your sense of humor in everyday conversations?

We both know the answer is no.

So, why exactly do you need to learn “comedic techniques” in order to produce a stand-up comedy routine?

From my professional perspective, you have already developed the comedy talent that you need and the “comedy techniques” specific to your sense of humor that you already know how to use to get laughs.

As a matter of fact, without the aid of any government study or research from some academic thinktank, I am going to tell you right now that you have been producing stand-up comedy material since you have been able to talk as a child.

Every year, you produce a large quantity of stand-up comedy material (in small quantities at a time when you communicate with others) that is based specifically on your sense of humor and the way you express yourself.

For details, check out this extensive special report: The Stand-up Secret That No One Else Will Tell You.

Now to demonstrate how complicated stand-up comedy can get, I am going to provide you a link to a lesson provided by a stand-up comedy “expert”, who states this on his 50 Best Stand-up Tips page:

It’s far easier to develop hilarious material without using techniques or formulas. Simply focusing on understanding core principles of comedy (the most important is Comedic Conflict) lets you’re authentic self (the one that’s funny with friends) come through in your material.

Now before I provide you the link to this most important Comedic Conflict lesson, answer these questions honestly:

What “core” or essential principles of comedy did you have to know before you were able to cause the people that you talk with everyday to laugh from something that you said?

What “core” or essential principles of comedy did your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances need to know in order to generate laughs when they made you and others around you laugh when they were talking?

Here’s the link to the lesson — review it first, then I will give you may take on it and why I think the information provided in that lesson is massively unnecessary for developing a standup comedy routine:

Comedic Conflict: The Mechanics of Comedy

The information provided by the author in that lesson is based on The Benign Violation Theory and you can review the typically clinical and boring academic basis for this theory regarding laughter generation on this page.

As is the case with the vast majority of academic work (and stuff that is touted as making stand-up comedy easier if you consume and apply it), it is an after-the-fact recognition and analysis of the laughter generation process.

In other words, comedy and humor “mechanics” have been picked apart, labeled and explained based on that which has ALREADY HAPPENED TO CAUSE LAUGHTER TO OCCUR, NOT how to apply that information before a word is ever spoken or expressed.

Actually, the way this is supposed to work is that you should be able to easily see how to use the content on that page just from the recognition of the examples provided.

Note: It is interesting to me that the author says you don’t need techniques or formulas, but that is EXACTLY what the “comedic conflict” lesson is about — a “technique” that’s supposed to help open your eyes to amazement the likes of which you have never seen!

The key question to ask at this juncture is this:

Did you know anything about The Benign Violation Theory or Comedic Conflict in order to generate laughter offstage when you are talking to people that you know and meet?

You didn’t? Huh, imagine that. Shocking that you were able to get any laughs at all.

Which leads me to this question:

How EXACTLY does understanding comedic conflict make developing a stand-up comedy routine easier in ANY regard?

I submit to you that what studying this sort of thing does not only adds an unnecessary layer of difficulty to the process, but now puts the user of this so-called  “vital information” in a position of having to guess whether or not they have the proper amount and type of “comedic conflict” in their stand-up comedy material.

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Which brings me to these questions:

How much guessing do you do when you use and express your sense of humor when talking to others?

Are you able to use your sense of humor with a measure of confidence when you do use it?

The reason for all of this sort of complicated bullo excremento (Latin) is that just like with virtually every other so-called stand-up comedy expert, your ability to cause others to laugh in everyday conversations is all but meaningless as it relates to stand-up comedy and putting together a solid routine that gets real laughs.

That’s right — the sense of humor and comedy talent that you are able to use effortlessly to get laughs from people you know and people that you meet AND that took you decades to develop doesn’t really count at all when it comes to developing a stand-up comedy routine.

If it did, they would be teaching you about what your natural comedy talent is and how to use it to produce a stand-up routine based on techniques methodologies that YOU ALREADY USE organically, automatically without a name or a label and are specific to you.

In my professional opinion, what could be a relatively easy affair when it comes to developing a solid stand-up comedy routine ends up being turned into a complicated, Rube Goldberg type of process that has the opposite effect of being simple or easy when this sort of information is peddled as “critical, must know info” as a prerequisite for success.

What the author provides unintentionally with this lesson is a type of bait and switch, where you are told that you don’t need to use techniques or formulas (which are after-the-fact recognition and labeling of processes with similar characteristics) but you can make you life easy by understanding an applying comedic conflict (which is an after-the-fact recognition and labeling of laughter generation processes with similar characteristics).

This is NO different than me saying this:

If you want to be able to drive a car with great skill, don’t spend any time studying the difficult to understand workings of the transmission — you need to study the digital fuel injection system which is critical and that is the easier way to become a better driver.

The reality is this — you don’t even need to know how to change a tire to be a very skilled and proficient automobile driver.

In a nutshell, here’s my approach to developing a stand-up comedy routine that works to get the laughs that you want if you can get past the programming that how you get laughs offstage is not good enough:

  • The comedy talent that you have RIGHT NOW not only matters, it’s all you will ever have because of the lengthy and complicated process that is involved with developing that comedy talent. You cannot “learn” to have more.
  • You are engaged in producing stand-up comedy material in a spontaneous fashion every time that you say something and express your sense of humor.
  • You literally produce hours of potential stand-up comedy material EVERY YEAR (cumulative), a good portion of which is more than suitable for use in a stand-up comedy routine (if you don’t believe that, just make a list of what the popular comedians talk about).
  • Unlike guessing what kind of “comedic conflict” will work, you spontaneously produce stand-up material that has already PROVEN to have laughter generation value.
  • You most likely hang around people who also produce HOURS of stand-up comedy material every year, some of which you could most definitely structure and use for a stand-up routine since they are most like not interested in becoming a comedian themselves.
  • You don’t have to know or have a label for ANY particular “technique” that you use naturally that generates laughs in order to create a stand-up comedy routine that is focused on things that activates your sense of humor and that you like talking about.
  • A stand-up comedy routine is a premeditated version of what you already do in everyday life to generate laughs when you talk, but it is structured to get more laughs per minute for an extended period of time.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea — stand-up comedy is a challenging affair with much to learn about and do in order to deliver a routine that kills..

So there is NO need to make it MORE difficult which is exactly what trying to use and apply “comedic conflict theory” does.

I don’t deal with theory in my training. Audiences don’t care about what “theory” you use or don’t use — they simply want to be entertained at a high level.

If you want to bypass all the bullo excremento (Latin) when it comes to building a stand-up comedy routine quickly and based on the comedy talent that you have right now and use all the time, then I strongly recommend that you check out this special report first:

The Stand-up Secret That No One Else Will Tell You.

I’m not asking you to believe anything I am telling you. You need to review the information resources that I have provided in this article and determine for yourself if what I have been telling you has any merit.

In other words…

Just compare that with the Comedic Conflict lesson linked above and my special report and then decide what is simple and what is complicated.


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