• Eddie Gamez

Comedy: You Better Have A Fucking Laugh



I recently listened to the Relatively Sane with Jessica Kirson.

Jessica Kirson is one of my favorite working comedians. She pushes boundaries, has an undeniable stage presence, and really has an understanding of comedy as a business.

On this particular podcast, her guest was Sam Morril. Sam Morril is another comedian I respect because like Kirson, he understands comedy is about pushing it and it’s ultimately about business.

They discussed a current movement in comedy where comedians treat stand-up more like a therapy session and that they’re more invested in the rawness of a bit versus actually making the audience laugh.

Morril stated “I don’t want to waste people’s time with a therapy session, I want it to be a hard laugh.” Kirson followed up with “...that’s the point. Some people just go up and vomit and it’s not funny.” Morril summed up the argument with “there’s a movement now where they [comedians] need some story that’s very bare and naked about them. Well, there better be a fucking laugh.”

That statement really resonated with me because it’s something I often see where the actual art is taking a hit and being replaced with something that just isn’t representative of real stand-up.

Here are my thoughts.


If your goal isn’t to make people laugh, you aren’t a comedian.


I will probably get flack for this, but my opinion is that a real comedian has one ultimate goal: make the audience laugh. If you have any other agenda with the audience, you’re going to be pulling teeth you’re entire run in comedy.

I can remember a conversation I had with a comedian a couple of years ago.

Without getting too specific this comic was a very niche comic and his entire persona would likely be considered a “diversity pick.”

This comic took himself way too seriously and when it came to stand-up, he can come off as preachy. He later made it clear his goal with comedy was to change minds and influence how people think. Not once did he say he wanted to make the audience laugh.

Over time I’ve seen less and less of this comic on the scene and the goals he claimed to have (late night, headliner spots, etc.) never materialized. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Hannah Gadsby was a recent example of this type of performance. Personally, I didn’t like her stand-up special for one objective reason...it wasn’t stand-up. Gadsby’s special was more of a TED Talk than anything and registered as boring. Some may say otherwise and even get upset with my revelation, but stand-up is a very distinctive type of energy regardless of someone’s personal style.

At its basis, stand-up is entertaining.


Having a thought doesn’t mean it’s a joke.


This is quite common now, but newbie (and some seasoned comics) make this mistake of believing having just any thought translates to having a joke.

Sure, jokes start out as thoughts, but that doesn’t mean it’ll translate as a joke immediately. It needs development to make its way to joke territory; even if you write it into a joke, it doesn’t mean it’ll work.

I’ve seen a comic go as far as having only premises that she believes are jokes, but can only be described as a brain fart that she thought could be a set. She then proceeds to giggle to herself on stage. It leaves everyone confused and someone will always say “what is going on?”

I’ve seen enough shows and comedy that if there is no distinctive joke at least thirty seconds in, the audience will check out and just wait for the next comic to perform. If I’ve done this watching comedy, believe it’ll happen to with the audience.


Audiences deserve to laugh.


Comedy is a business and if someone is buying a ticket, you better have something they’ll laugh at or at least give a nervous chuckle.

If the audience having a solid laugh isn’t your priority then you’ll see it contribute not only to an unfavorable set but also how the industry views you.

You ultimately have to sell yourself and you do that with a solid laugh. Those who make people laugh are the ones who leave an impression.


Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!