Let’s face it, comedy is a hard gig. It requires getting over certain obstacles to be able to make it in this crazy racket. Sure, it seems like it’s all chuckles and giggles to the people sitting on the other side of the spotlight, but comedy is a craft. The comedians who seem like they can just naturally make the funny flow have actually been working at it for years. Here’s a step by step guide to making it in comedy in Atlantic City.
You Have to Get in Front of People
There is nothing quite as scary as public speaking. In every poll known to man, public speaking has always ranked as the #1 scariest thing to do. It even beats death in the polls. Why? Because of rejection. Nobody wants to be rejected (probably why so many comics go up on stage with a drink in their hand). But as a comedian you have to accept, no EMBRACE, rejection for at least the first year of your career. Playing to a room full of crickets and dealing with hecklers is just part of the gig. This is why you have to force yourself to go up on stage. Night, after night, after night. Think about it this way, it’s the critics who force you to evolve, not the people who love you. Sure you could stay home and do sets for your mom and your eight-year-old cockapoo every night and they’ll probably tell you they love it! But in 10 years you’ll still be playing that living room and… well, nobody wants that for you. Which brings us to the next point…
You Need Venues
Before you decide to sell everything and quit your job to pursue your life long passion of doing live comedy, you need to practice at some more low-key venues. Start off small, at places like coffee houses, before you move up to the really big comedy clubs. Sure, coffee houses are no walk in the park; you have to compete with the milk steamer for stage time and most of your audience is other comics who are too busy looking over their own material to listen to what you have to say. However, coffee houses are a stepping stone that every comedian must face early in their career. They put you in front of people, which is exactly what you need. Who knows? You might get your own coffee house following. But don’t create your Facebook fan page yet.
You Need Material
People do go up on stage without material. And, unless you’re Dave Chapelle, people are going to hate you for it. Nobody is funny enough to do that (except Mr. Chapelle) and especially not in their first year of comedy. Set some time every day to write and practice your material. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Record video of yourself performing stand up. Watch it over and over again constructively. What do you like? How can you improve? What can you add to it.
You’ve Got to Have Class
Like all art forms, comedy takes training. Sure, you can just go to comedy open mics every night and hope to just absorb all the funny in the room like a big, joke telling sponge. But really, taking some comedy classes will help you out quite a bit. Comedy classes are great for teaching you about joke structure, delivery and all aspects of the comedy world. Usually taught by seasoned comic vets who have toured for years, this is a great way of gaining some insight in how to make it in comedy on the biggest stages in Atlantic City.
Marilyn Smith specializes in covering the latest news and events about the gaming and hospitality industry, including comedy in Atlantic City.