How do comedians perform stand up?

I love to make lists. I’ve ranked all 64 of Arcade Fire’s songs, my favorite athletes of all-time, and last summer, an unfinished bucket list. At the time, I was watching a lot of the show, Louie, a dark comedy program starring the comedian Louis C.K.. So naturally, I wrote down that I wanted to do a stand up set one night (preferably while I’m still in college). Doing stand up is first of all nerve wracking, as I imagine my head twitching uncontrollably due to my awkwardness. But the challenge of writing to make people laugh is intriguing. It’s more than writing and telling stories. It’s a performance that is dependent on precise timing.

My dad is the funny one in my family. I always watched stand up sets growing up with him from amateurs on Last Comic Standing to Kevin Hart. He could make jokes right along with the comedians while I observed and laughed uncontrollably. I wanted the same comedic affinity as him, but know that I will never get anywhere close to being a naturally funny person as him. I have my moments of humor, and only realize that I can be funny if I’m comfortable and really say what comes to my mind without worrying about those who hear will think.

I realize that being a successful comedian requires a lot of practice, stage presence, and writing skill. Do the comedians tell jokes to other people as a sort of edit process to see if they’ll get laughs? What do they do if the audience isn’t responding positively or not responding at all? How much time does it take to brainstorm or craft a whole set? Even though I don’t know the answers to these questions, I would love to do a stand up set, despite how I’m not really a funny person. But that’s also the point, confidence is key. A major key. Thank you DJ Khaled.

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