audio recorderHere’s the thing: Comedy is a live endeavor. You get up in front of a different audience each and every night you perform. Even if you’re doing the same material, the audience is different, the club may be different and the night is different so the dynamics change. Therefore, it is essential that you capture each and every performance by recording it either with the use of audio (digital recorder) or video.

With the availability of Flip cams and video recorders on iPhones, Droids and other smartphones, there’s almost no reason not to be able to video record each set that you do. Sometimes there are restrictions at certain clubs and if that’s the case there should be no reason not to audio record every set.

Each set we do as comedians on stage gives us an opportunity to learn something new. We can try a new joke, make a discovery on stage involving a new inspiration we got while telling a joke, or respond to a heckler or other live moment in the audience. The recorder is also essential if you have a bad set. That’s right! You want to review those bad sets too!

We learn most from our mistakes and when we record a bad set, that recorder is like a black box on an airplane that goes down. The recorder has everything that led up to the crash and you can learn a lot from it. Sure it hurts to watch or listen to a bad set, but if you’re listening to the bad set you’ll discover new things. I used to hate to listen to a bad set.

But you know what? Now I rarely if ever have a bad set. How did that happen? By constantly working on my sets by listening to them constantly and eliminating mistakes.

We all hate to listen to ourselves at first, because our voices sound so “weird” on a recorder.

They do, don’t they?

But that’s how our voice sounds to other people. We hear our voices differently because we hear our voices through our Eustachian tubes and it filters our vocal nuances. If you keep listening to your voice on a recorder you’ll actually start to hear it the way other people hear it whenever you speak. So get used to it an record yourself!

When you do a set, take the audio recorder with you on the stage, take it out of your pocket and set it right on the stool on the stage. Doesn’t matter if they audience sees it. I remember when I used to watch Jerry Seinfeld workout at the clubs. He would bring his recorder up onstage with him and set it on the stool. I would think to myself, “Wow, he’s constantly working on it, isn’t he?”

Jerry Seinfeld is financially the most successful comedian of all time.

Comedian Lesson:

Learn from the best and bring your recorder on stage. Always!


Best Audio Recorders:

Here are some recorders that I recommend. Personally I use the Sony, but I’ve also owned Olympus. Both solid products. I like to stay in a medium to higher end product, because if I’m recording a set and it goes really well, the recording could actually be used to create a CD that I can use as a demo or sell at a show: If you have other recommendations, please share them in the comments section. If you want to do the same, splurge a little and go for the Sony.

    4 replies to "Comedian Lessons | Record Every Set"

    • Art Howard

      The Zoom H2 is $100 and will record anything from mono to quadrophonic sound in anything from MP3 to 96 KHZ, 48 bit wav sound, which is above CD quality. People have even made really good recordings of live rock n’ roll bands with it. It also takes SD cards and you can upload the files to your PC via USB. The latest model is the Zoom H2N which is $150 and has a built-in speaker, but my H2 is fine. Just slightly more expensive than the memo recorders mentioned here, but if you want to make a CD or demo, better quality recording.

    • Jerry

      Thanks Art. Yeah the Zoom is an awesome portable. Thanks for the suggestion. I should put it on the site.

    • michael

      while it is SUPER pricey, I bought the Zoom H4N because it was the only portable I could find with direct XLR inputs – I often record interviews for a racing podcast while at the track with a handheld and can easily plug into a soundboard for stereo recording.

      I wish it were a little smaller, but battery life is great and sound quality is amazing.

    • Jerry

      Dude! That’s an awesome piece of equipment! One of my students uses it to record his sets in class. Actually not a bad price considering the quality of the recording. Thanks for the post. Always cool to get a gear-head to give us great info!

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