Being Boring: The Easiest Comedy Flop
Standing out is a big part of having an edge over other comics in the industry. It’s what separates the pros from the amateurs and really is the deciding factor of how far you’ll make it as a comedian.
It can take years to make yourself stand out and is ultimately up to you to take the reigns and become noticed.
Standing out is not an easy feat and it’s common for many comics to fall into the rut of being boring, not even realizing it.
Here are my thoughts.
Boring comics don’t change up their material.
Doing the same thing is an easy mistake to commit. You get into the mindset that “if I continue doing something, people will eventually notice…” That is true in some respects, but if what you are doing isn’t killing every time, people get tired of it.
Material is one aspect of it. For example, I personally do not respond to comics that just do political or topical humor. Chances are so many other comics are talking about the same thing and your material only has a certain amount of time before it becomes outdated.
Another element for material may be that your material is just not that interesting to discuss. I had a comic send me a set a few months back where he talked about Starbucks AND ONLY STARBUCKS for the entire five-minute set. There was nothing profound in the set and I didn’t understand his belief that this was a great bit.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with something like Starbucks (or any topic for that matter) being the subject of a joke, but if you can’t make the bit interesting it won’t do anything for you to keep doing that joke.
Boring comics don’t take their performance to the next level.
We all know this comic: someone who just farts around on stage. They never fully commit to the material; they just go through the motions hoping something will land.
This comic doesn’t take their performance to the next level.
What exactly is the next level?
Performance wise, it is when you get past that block of “saying” the material and you actually become engaged and commit to what you are doing. The best example I can use is myself. I fell into the rut of just saying the material for the first three years of comedy. It wasn’t until the fourth year that I actually became a performer. The funny thing is my energy did not match how I really am naturally in conversation cracking jokes. It was very low energy and quite timid. Even I’m bored by my past tapes; once I got over the hump, everything changed including my energy. The same material goes over way better and actually putting personality into it helped me tremendously.
Committing and putting personality into a bit will have different results for everyone. At its basis, it’s about being comfortable enough on stage to perform in a way where you get the most out of the material.
It’s not an easy feat, but it is achievable.
Boring comics rest on the superficial.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to comedians selling themselves. Very often, comics use superficial aspects to sell themselves. I cannot tell you how many comics I’ve encountered that think they’re interesting just because they are ethnic, LGBTQIA, a certain gender, and so forth. Additionally, they build material that is so specific to one theme and ultimately become one-dimensional. Yes, we do live in a time where superficial diversity is good for marketing purposes, but if you cannot back up the interest with the talent, you’ll leave people questioning your legitimacy.
It’s not what you are that keeps people interested, it’s your personality.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!