How to Be Good at Comedy, by Johnny G: Comedian and Owner of House of Yuks, Canton Ohio’s #1 Choice for Comedy, by Luke Schneider
So you’re funny around the water cooler, huh? You think you got what it takes to make it big in showbiz? Well, take some notes and listen closely, because you’re about to get some tips that’ll help you make the big time in this breakneck industry.
A little about me: I’ve been a comedian, entertainer, and club owner for 25 years, and I’ve performed alongside some of the BIGGEST names in comedy. Household names like Skinny Pete, Planet Chips, The Bad Girls of Comedy, The Good Girls of Comedy, Popeye the Comedian, Lady KraZZZee, Bambi Lizardskin A.K.A. “The Gut Buster,” and Lisa Lampanelli.
I have also been featured on The CW.
But enough about me, let’s get down to brass tacks. First things first: If you want to be good at comedy go out and buy a nice suit, and when I say nice suit, I mean nice suit. This isn’t the time to rummage around your dad’s closet and grab that tacky plaid suit he wore for his THIRD wedding; this is time to head to the Men’s Warehouse and drop a few buck-a-roonies. The big time bookers won’t waste their time on someone who looks like a grade-A slob. They want an act that looks polished. If you want to see your name in lights you’ve GOTTA dress the part. (Skinny Pete caught me wearing a wrinkled shirt when I was featuring in Atlantic City back in the ’80s, and you wouldn’t believe the flak he gave me for that!) Also, while we’re on the topic, don’t EVER perform comedy in shorts! There is only one thing that audiences hate more than bad jokes, and that’s shins.
Second, get a stage name already! You might be thinking “Hey Johnny, why do I need a stage name? Can’t I just use my own name?” Sure you can use your own name…if you want to be the biggest laughingstock of the entire industry! Get a stage name ASAP! You’ll thank me later.
Next, be on time! When you go to a show don’t be late like a lady who spent too much time working on her hair and putting on makeup —get to the club early. Agents will take notice of someone who isn’t just a natural talent, but someone who is a gentleman and has some class. Being early to the show also gives you time to write down jokes about the crazy traffic on the way over, or grocery stores, but don’t you dare write about wacky billboards. Wacky billboards are Donnie’s bit.
Now, just one more thing before I get on out of here. Everyone and their half-Jewish godmother wants to do comedy, but you have to be willing to put in the work if you want to be a real professional comedian like me. My advice: Treat comedy like it’s your gal. Spend time with her, treat her right, take her out to a nice steak dinner at the Outback Steakhouse and maybe JUST MAYBE she’ll come home and fool around with you. Learn early on how to treat ol’ lady comedy right and I promise she’ll return the favor, but please DON’T TELL MY WIFE OF 24 YEARS THAT!
Luke Schneider lives in Chicago and can touch rim on a ten foot basketball hoop no problem. Follow him on Twitter.