Splitsider

 

Comic Steve Cronin's Tips on the Delicate Art of Crowd Work

Here's some good advice about crowd work from comic Steve Cronin. Print it out and discreetly pull it out of your pocket when you're onstage dealing with the savage hordes that call themselves comedy fans.

Foolproof Strategies For Winning Next Year's Andy Kaufman Award

Congratulations to Nick Vatterott, who took home the coveted Andy Kaufman Award for his standup routine as a monster. It's funny! Here are some suggestions for those considering entering this contest next year:

- Repeat the sentence "You guys know what I think about recursion?" for half an hour. Then take a bow and, as if you're starting a new joke, repeat the sentence "You know what I think about repetition?" for forty-five minutes.

- Do your regular set, silently.

Some Things I Learned As the Artistic Director of the UCB Theatre

It’s almost impossible these days to watch a comedy movie or TV sitcom that doesn’t feature a comedian from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre either on screen or behind the scenes. From SNL and NBC’s Thursday night line-up to shows on ABC, FOX, MTV, HBO, Adult Swim, Comedy Central and huge films like Bridesmaids, The Hangover(s), I Love You Man, The Other Guys, and many, many more — UCB has taken over.

In my role as Artistic Director of the UCB Theatre in New York City, I was lucky enough to be at ground zero of the UCB Comedy Boom (I’m also happy to say that I too am joining [...]

Please Stop Quoting These Comedies Forever Immediately

To say I’ve never clung for dear life to a funny quote would be a terrible lie. I have. More times than I’d like to admit. Almost every weekend, I find myself at a friend-of-a-friend’s birthday party in the Lower East Side or some such neighborhood. He'll introduce me to his friend — the one who’s having the party. Most of the time, I engage in normal conversation from this point on. I meet new people and have an okay night. Most of the time.

But sometimes my friend leaves my side to catch up with a girl he knows from high school and I’m left alone, drowning [...]

Hannibal Buress Gives Solid Advice to Teenage Girls

Hannibal Buress gave some advice to teenage girls on Rookie Magazine, and it is pretty great advice for everyone. "If you wanna say something, go say it. If it sounds stupid, so what? It doesn't matter. We all die one day." Yep. He is the best. Also, he just figured out how to use the effects on his computer, so for most of the video he looks like the thing from The Thing mid-transformation.

P.S. "Okay, first off, from your use of the word butthole I'm gonna guess that you're a tween."

Mindy Kaling Pitches Men, Rather Than Boys, In Glamour

I know this is really a reflection of Me and Where I'm At In My Life, but Mindy Kaling's Man vs. Boy essay , excerpted in Glamour from her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, just makes me want to lean against a jukebox in a leather vest, hitting on college kids while chain-smoking Marlboro Menthol Smooths. Let me be your Brett Butler, boys of the world! Is what I would be shouting. However, Kaling makes a strong argument for dating a gentlemen who is willing to commit vs. one who is currently engaged in a drum circle. For example, men who own their own homes can [...]

Phil Hartman's Hand-Written Feedback to a Fan Who Sent Him a Tape Is Heartbreaking

Here's a letter that Phil Hartman wrote to an aspiring comedian who had sent him a tape of his work in 1997. In case you were ever wondering if Phil Hartman was a good guy, well, try to think of who else would not only respond to a letter/tape like this, but would listen to it and sent back a multi-page hand-written note with specific feedback and well wishes. This was when Phil was at the peak of his career, doing Newsradio, The Simpsons and a slew of other projects, so it's not like he wasn't busy. One of the all-time greatest, and gone far, far too soon.

The Terrible Advice Of Comedy How-To Books

So you want to start doing funny. Do you know where to start? Maybe with some open-mics? Where are they? What time do they start? Will the group of comics there even accept you? How do you stand out from the crowd of other wannabe comedians?

You're stuck, and that shelf of how-to comedy books that've been wedged between acting guides and Manga Shakespeare books are looking pretty good right now. Sure, their covers are worn, and most of their blurbs come from Richard Jeni, which, Jesus. But they've gotta have some valuable info inside, right?

Let me save you a little money on those how-to comedy books. I [...]

Gavin Polone Advises NBC to Target Young Male Audiences

Curb Your Enthusiasm producer Gavin Polone's advice for NBC: look to the example of cable networks by spending less on riskier shows that shoot for a niche audience – and probably a male one, since CBS, ABC and Fox have average audiences of 56, 54 and 43.5. Jeez, old people really love network television.

How to Become a Twitter Superstar

“Dance like the photo’s never going to be tagged; Love like you’ve never been defriended; Tweet like no one’s following.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Romantic, isn’t it? Tweet as you will, if you actually had zero followers it would be hard not to let yourself straighten out a curve on the Pacific Coast Highway and plummet blissfully down onto the rocky cliffs below, where at least you’d feel something.

Admit it, it’s fine, you want followers. How many? How many is enough? 200,000? Well as the saying goes, “if you want 200,000 followers, follow 200,000 auto follow-back robots.” But some of us want humans to like us too, and that’s [...]

How To Write Jokes For People Who Don't Want To Be Funny

A lot of comedians complain about being asked to “say something funny.” Comedians take “say something funny” as a threat. It’s sort of the same response a scientist has when someone demands, “Prove to me right now that evolution is a thing!” Even if the scientist makes a convincing case, the denier is probably going to nod and say, “Yeah. Worms in a lab. Thought so. Deborah could be doing much better than you.”

But there are comedy challenges worse than “say something funny.” For example, “help me say something funny.”

Not to be mistaken with its entertainment industry cousin, “I'll pay you to make me funny,” “help [...]

The Comedy Consultant: 8 Ideas For Your Unique Comedy Brand

Like everything else in our hyper-connected multi-platform macro-digital age, comedy has become increasingly fragmented. Whereas once comedians could be easily placed into three very broad categories — “Men”, “Women”, or “Black People” — and marketed accordingly, now there are a seemingly infinite number of niche subcultures within the comedy community, each with its own unique demographics and strat.

So before you worry about writing down a single joke or trying to have an original thought, it is crucial for you to first decide on a unique comedy “brand” so you can easily market/promote yourself. Here are eight established ideas for you to choose from: