Polish. Usually this word is used to talk about fingernails, the shine on someone’s shoes or when’s someone’s from Poland—wait, that’s a different ‘Polish.’
But what about comedy?
There are loads of people that come to me weekly and ask how they can take their comedy to the next level. I have several workable and proven solutions. Not a single one can be deemed a fix-all for every comedian.
Each comedian has their own needs and an adjustment or a note is different for each one.
But I think there is one thing that could be painted on to each comedian’s act with a really broad brush…
I see a ton of comedians that get up on stage night after night at the mics and they wander through their acts like an old guy pullin’ an oxygen tank in a Vegas casino. They have no direction, no specificity and no polish.
“What else, what else, uhm… let’s see… uhm crazy, man, shit’s crazy, man. I tell you…”
How are you supposed to give your material a fair shake if you don’t take the time to polish what you’re going to say to the audience. Even when you’re testing material in front of an audience, have some direction.
KNOW where you’re going from joke to joke… or story to story.
Sometimes just one glitch in the set up of the material will cause an audience to respond half-heartedly or worse, not respond at all.
What fixes that? Polish.
Here’s the simplest solution: Practice!
Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many comedians don’t practice before they hit that stage.
When you write a new joke, do you practice saying that joke out loud? How many times? To whom?
- Say the joke out loud at least 25 times.
- Then say it to your friends.
- Then before you hit the stage, say the joke in the context and flow of your existing set at least 25 times. This will help secure the flow of the act both leading up to the new joke and following it.
Practicing will give you high odds of really giving that joke a fair shot when it lands in the ears of the audience.
I can’t emphasize this enough!
Before his first appearance on the Tonight Show, Jerry Seinfeld performed his Tonight Show set 100 times at clubs in front of audiences.
That’s right 100 times! The exact same set. How many of you have done that before a show or a competition?
He knew that he would be a little nervous on that sound stage in Burbank, California. But after rehearsing that same set 100 times in front of different audiences, he knew nothing would be able to shake him, aside from an Earthquake.
So do your homework and prepare. if you don’t you’ll wind up like that cliché comedian at the mics; unpolished and unpracticed, trying new jokes and boring the audience with…
Uhm… what else, what else…
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