Columbus Comedy: 10 tricks of the trade

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

No matter how funny your friends think you are, you can't just hop up on stage and nail it in front of an audience. Stand-up comedy is hard work. We checked in with some seasoned comedians to get 10 tips for those looking to tackle the open-mic night.

10. Write, write, write.

And re-write. Hours of writing may produce only a minute of material, but it's the foundation of your act.

9. Don't give up when it doesn't go well.

You always learn the most from bad performances.

8. Make friends with other comics.

They can help you hone your act or get booked at other shows.

7. Don't drink too much.

You may need a drink to calm your nerves, but no one wants to listen to some drunk with a microphone ramble on.

6. Check out open-mic nights.

See how they run so you know what to expect and always play by the rules of the venue.

5. Record yourself.

Mistakes are obvious when you see them, but may not be recognizable when you're on stage.

4. Have fun.

If you're having fun performing, the audience is going to have fun watching.

3. Be yourself.

It's the only thing that makes you different from every other comedian. A normally calm person can't scream like Sam Kinison - the audience will see right through you.

2. Have great first and last jokes.

Get them on your side early and always leave them wanting more.

1. Be patient.

The great ones make stand-up look easy, but it's not. Perfecting a short act takes years. Some of the best comedians have worked on one joke for decades.