We used to want to be comedians too, nycomic56, but we were afraid people would laugh at us. GET IT?!—Sparkitors
Ever since I was little, I’ve loved making people laugh. I'm part of a improv troupe and have actually performed stand-up in front of live audiences before (the audiences usually consist of David, my cardboard cut-out, and various stuffed animals). I've always known that I wanted to be a professional comic, and that there's no other career I would actually enjoy doing. Even though being a comedian might seem easy, it can be really hard work. But if you follow these guidelines and give it your all, you can be a comedian too.
1. Take note of your surroundings: The world is a hilarious place if you just look around. Even in Boringville, Borange County, United Kingdom of Boritain, there are weird old guys with combover beards and waitresses with funny stories. I always carry a notebook where I write down strange situations or unusual statements that (eventually) get evolved into sketches, stand-up sets, or even short film scripts. Just be careful not to get caught or overdo it; the people at the table next to you in Olive Garden won’t be flattered when they seen you’ve written their entire conversation down word for word.
2. Know what you like: There are many different types of comedy—some comics focus on one area, while others succeed in several of them. You can choose to do stand-up or improv, write for TV and film, be a comedic journalist, or any number of other careers. Never feel chained to just one option, though; it’s always good to test the temperature in different parts of the comedy pool.
3. Put an effort into it: Lorne Michaels is not going to be knocking on your door any time soon, and no matter how many times you send Judd Apatow your number, he’s not going to call you back. If you really want to be a comedian, you can’t sit around waiting to be discovered. Make YouTube videos, join a local youth improv group, or even perform in your school’s talent show (but please, keep it clean. For the teachers, guys, for the teachers).
4. Don’t get discouraged: There will always be someone who won’t laugh, and there may even be people who criticize your material or your dreams. These creatures are called hecklers, and unfortunately, they're not facing extinction. If you're the victim of a heckler attack, do not lock yourself in your room, destroy your confidence pants, and make paintings of sad owls. The best thing to do is to keep going. For every heckler, there will always be someone who shares your sense of humor.
5. Be unique: Nobody likes a copycat. Your material should always be original and new. It’s fine to look at other comics for inspiration, but don’t repeat their jokes or steal their work. Most importantly, you've got to like your work—there's no point in publishing what you don’t find funny yourself. Never pay too much attention to what others think; just produce work you can be proud of.
Any other teenage comedians out there? We're dying to know!
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