YouTube.comSeattle comedian JR Berard talks what it takes to become a stand-up comic.In a “dude guest blogger” post on actress Elizabeth Banks’ website, Seattle comedian JR Berard wrote about the trials and tribulations of being an up-and-coming stand-up comic.
“Starting out as a comedian is a lot like going to college: you meet people who will become your best friends, you’ll drink a lot and lose countless hours of sleep doing what seems to be, ‘a great idea at the time.’ Your classroom is bars, clubs and restaurants.”
Berard goes on to offer some tips for those trying to hone their craft:
- “The stuff that makes you laugh out loud when you’re alone, that’s what you should be doing on stage. Nothing else I’ve learned in six years, has proven more true.”
- “I’m constantly writing new jokes, Comedians write everything down.”
- “Sometimes customers hate you because they’re actually having dinner. Try to win them over. It’s fun! Those are the nights I learned the most; being put in an environment where people didn’t want comedy, and telling them jokes.”
- “Getting consistent laughs took thousands of hours on stage, trial and error.”
Above all, Berard says that “It’s art and if you want to be great; you need to dedicate yourself to it.”
“When I really began to engulf myself in comedy I was also working at Home Depot. This meant, to get stage time, I would either: 1. Leave on lunch breaks and haul arse to/from clubs, OR 2. Go straight from work, find a 24hr fitness to shower, then get on stage somewhere. A lot of the time I would have plan ahead which nights I would get to sleep – around my travelling schedule of shows. But I was dedicated to this. This is what I wanted my job to be, making people laugh.”
As for those times when jokes don’t work and you’re left standing alone on-stage with nothing but the sound of crickets, here’s what Berard says that feels like:
“Imagine a room full of every girl who ever denied you a date (and you ASKED the hell outta them, like flowers and stuff, you even wore a bow tie cause you’re a moron). It’s freezing cold, they’re all wearing parkas, and you’re naked on stage in front of them. Oh, and now you have to RE-ask them all out at the same time. Sucks, huh? It’s a lot worse when you’re new and don’t know how to handle it yet. In reality, its just people you’ll never see again.”
But, Berard promises, “once you begin to find your voice as a comedian, are consistently booked and like your material … it rocks.”
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