Is becoming a comedian right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
Still unsure if becoming a comedian is the right career path? Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a comedian or another similar career!
Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.
How to become a Comedian
There is no fixed path to becoming a comedian. Each comedian's journey is unique. Stay true to your comedic voice, adapt to changing trends, and seize every opportunity to showcase your talent.
Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career as a comedian:
- Develop Your Comedy Skills: Start by honing your comedic skills. Study and analyze different styles of comedy, watch performances by established comedians, and learn what makes people laugh. Experiment with joke writing, storytelling, and observational humor. Practice delivering your material, paying attention to timing, delivery, and audience engagement.
- Perform at Open Mic Nights: Open mic nights are the entry point for many aspiring comedians. Look for local comedy clubs, bars, or venues that host open mic events. Sign up and perform your material in front of live audiences. Open mic nights provide valuable stage time, feedback, and an opportunity to refine your act.
- Build Your Material and Persona: Continually work on expanding and improving your comedic material. Refine your jokes, develop a unique point of view, and find your comedic voice. Consider crafting a stage persona that resonates with your material and connects with the audience.
- Network within the Comedy Community: Networking is crucial in the comedy industry. Attend comedy shows, open mic nights, and comedy festivals. Connect with other comedians, bookers, and industry professionals. Build relationships, seek advice, and learn from experienced comedians who can provide guidance and support.
- Seek Performance Opportunities: Look for opportunities to perform in various settings. Contact local comedy clubs, theaters, and venues to inquire about performance opportunities. Submit your material to festivals, talent showcases, and comedy competitions. Consider creating your own shows or joining comedy troupes to gain more exposure.
- Embrace Failure and Learn from It: Comedy is an art that requires trial and error. Embrace failure as a learning experience and be open to constructive criticism. Learn from your mistakes, adjust your material based on audience reactions, and keep refining your act.
- Create an Online Presence: In today's digital age, having an online presence is crucial. Create a website or social media accounts to showcase your comedic content, share updates, and connect with fans. Utilize platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram to reach a wider audience and gain exposure.
- Consider Comedy Writing and Acting: Expand your comedic skill set by exploring comedy writing or acting. Write comedic scripts, sketches, or monologues. Audition for comedic roles in theater, film, or television productions. This can provide additional avenues for showcasing your talent and opening doors to broader opportunities.
- Persist and Stay Committed: Building a career in comedy takes time and perseverance. Stay committed to improving your craft, seeking new opportunities, and continuously learning and growing as a comedian. Be prepared for setbacks and challenges along the way, but maintain your passion and determination.
Aspiring and professional comedians can benefit from various resources that provide guidance, support, and opportunities for growth. Here are some helpful resources for comedians:
- Comedy Clubs and Open Mic Nights: Local comedy clubs and open mic nights are valuable resources for comedians. These venues provide opportunities to perform, refine your material, and network with other comedians and industry professionals. Attend and participate in open mic nights regularly to gain stage time and receive feedback.
- Comedy Festivals and Competitions: Comedy festivals and competitions offer platforms for comedians to showcase their talent, gain exposure, and connect with industry insiders. Look for reputable festivals such as the Just for Laughs Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, or the San Francisco Sketchfest, among others. Participating in competitions like the Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents and the Laugh Factory's Funniest Person in the World can also help comedians get noticed.
- Comedy Writing and Improv Workshops: Consider enrolling in comedy writing or improv workshops to enhance your skills. Organizations like The Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), and Improv Olympics offer classes and programs that can help comedians improve their writing, improvisation, and comedic timing.
- Online Comedy Communities: Online platforms provide communities and resources for comedians to connect, share ideas, and learn from each other. Websites like Reddit's r/StandUpComedy, The Comedy Bureau, and ComedyWire offer forums, resources, and industry news for comedians. Additionally, social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram allow comedians to engage with fans, promote their shows, and collaborate with other artists.
- Podcasts and Online Comedy Content: Podcasts focused on comedy, such as "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and "WTF with Marc Maron," offer insights, interviews, and discussions with established comedians. Listening to these podcasts can provide valuable advice and inspiration. Online platforms like Comedy Central, Netflix, and YouTube feature stand-up specials, web series, and comedic content, allowing comedians to study and learn from established acts.
- Comedic Writing Resources: Books on comedic writing, such as "The Comedy Bible" by Judy Carter and "Comedy Writing Secrets" by Mel Helitzer, can provide valuable insights and techniques for crafting comedic material. These resources offer guidance on joke structure, storytelling, and developing comedic characters.
- Comedian Associations and Organizations: Joining comedian associations and organizations can provide access to resources, networking opportunities, and support. The National Association of Comedians, Comedy Central's Comedy Pro, and The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival are a few examples of organizations that offer resources, events, and opportunities for comedians.
- Industry Publications and Websites: Stay updated with industry news, trends, and opportunities through publications and websites like ComedyWire, The Comedy Bureau, Vulture's comedy section, and The Hollywood Reporter's comedy news section. These platforms provide insights into the comedy industry, including upcoming shows, festivals, and industry developments.