Welcome to Week 2 of our New Years - New Joke series on the Comedy Mom Podcast!
This week I am sharing with you my interview with Trenton Davis from the New Years New Jokes writing intensive. The instensive was over a week, but I'm bringing you one of the interviews and writing exercises to weekly.
Week 2 Exercise! We are going to do exactly what Trenton suggested. To get you started, I want you to warm up by writing down 5 of your beliefs. I want you take one of your beliefs and write down the opposite. Now, write some jokes about it.
These exercises aren't about writing the perfect joke, right away. I called this process "The Great Premise Hunt" because you go down into the metaphorical premise mine and go looking for new, unpolished topics to write about. From these exercises you might find one or two jokes that you can then work on to polish and shape into something stage worthy. You might even find something you can expand on and jump off of. It doesn't have to be stage worthy now. So, get to writing!
Check out "New Year - New Jokes" on Facebook if you want to join us for the writer's group.
I am bringing this year's "New Year New Jokes" writing intensive to you! Every week I will share an interview from our intensive and one of the writing exercises. Our first interview is with the amazing Ed Hill!
This Week's Exercise: 50 Facts About Yourself
Write down 50 facts about yourself. Just the facts.
This list will be the foundation for many writing exercises this year. Not to spoil the great upcoming interviews, but the advice we hear over and over again is that we should write from our own lives. So, the majority of our writing warm ups this year will be about training you to do just that.
Sit down. Dig in. And be honest. What are 50 facts about yourself?
Now, I want you take one of your facts and start writing jokes about it.
There is no right or wrong format to these jokes! One Liners? Totally! A long story? Absolutely! Roasting TF out of yourself? Sure! The point this intensive is just to get ourselves writing. To sit down and actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
There is no time requirement. I would say at least 10 minutes, but it's not like I am over your shoulder or anything. All I ask is that you try. Explore your topic. Make a list of everything about it. Maybe do a mind map. Why is it a fact? How did it end up becoming a fact about you? How do you feel about it being a fact about you?
Optional Rambling: I did this exercise last year. One of the facts I wrote down was that I volunteered at an observatory. Now, some of you know that turned into a pretty great chunk. It's a chunk that, even a year later, I am still working on. So, the point is not to get the perfect chunk of material today. Today, and this week really, is about going into the premise mine and finding that rough stone.
Gosh, this year has sucked. For many reasons. It can be hard to feel motivated. The truth is Stand up comedy will come back. Take this time to think about what you want and start setting yourself up for success now. Don't forget to set goals you have control over.
New Year New Jokes Writing Intensive - Facebook Group
Jan. 4th - Jan. 10th
Season 2 will start in 2021! I am so excited to continue this journey with you all. I am looking forward to more interviews and advice for all us on the journey ahead.
Maybe it's everything going on, but I am fired THE F*CK up right now. This inter-generational abuse among comics has got to stop. Laughter is not a limited resource. New comics are not a threat. Just because someone was an asshole to you doesn't mean you have to be an asshole to be a "Gatekeeper of Comedy." Seriously.
Hey all you cool cats and kittens,
I did my first full hour on stage last weekend, and learned some value lessons I wanted to pass along. Seriously, setting yourself up for success will help you tremendously.
There are two different kinds of performers who explore this artform of ours. Artists and Entertainers. It's okay to be an artist. Don't let anyone pressure you into commercializing your comedy if you aren't interested in making it a career.
But, if you want to get booked you're gunna have to sell out.
Today I sat down (via video conferencing, obviously) with Cali Comic David Eubanks. We talk about Hecklers, general advice, and what our first open mics were like. We also talk about his podcast The "Naturally Dave Podcast." Check out his website for all the deets on this great comic!
You can tell David is the real professional because he sounds like one! (Maybe it's time for Comedy Mom to get a better mic, eh?)
Need advice about something? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd say keep it comedy related, but Comedy Mom is happy to answer any questions about life you have really. Mom is hear for you.
I am spilling some Tea, and I have no doubt some people are going to be pissed.
If you working a small scene like I do, you will probably recognize one of these toxic booking styles. Hell, I have recognized myself in a couple of them.
You don't control how bookers make decisions as a comic. You are stuck having to work with people like this. So, I break down what I think the common toxic booking styles are and good strategies to get passed by them if you don't have a choice. (Or, they work a room you REALLY want to perform in.)
Send all your hate mail to email@example.com.
I was talking to a couple comics from the scene recently. They felt like they had to "perfect" at open mic. There seems to be this idea that open mics are like mini showcases and you have to have to have a perfectly polished five minutes.
This is completely, and utterly, false. Disagree with me? @me about it.
So, I rant about why for 25 minutes.
There is only one part of your "Open Mic Trajectory" that you should feel pressure whatsoever when performing at an open mic. Listen to find out when that is. So you know when you can just do a shot or two and enjoy hanging with your teammates.
As always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on social media. (Let's be honest, if you're reading this or listening to the podcast you probably know how to reach me.)
Yes! I am trying to get back into the swing of things! Like any parental unit, I constantly think about how to keep the comedians and audience safe when producing live shows right now. I've been lucky enough to partially reopen my production company with an open mic and showcases. So, let's talk about what steps you can take to help keep yourself safe when performing in this dystopian world of viruses and wildfires.
Oh! And one thing I forgot to mention. Hand sanitizer. I know. Duh.
Follow the Comedy Mom Podcast on Instagram at @comedymompodcast. E-mail me at email@example.com. Let me know you are listening and any topic you want to talk about! Also, I am thinking of putting together a 10 day (or 5 or 7 day) writing workshop. If you might be interested in that, let me know!
Yes, I am back and trying to get in the podcast swing again. It has been a weird time for everyone. And, I am serious that THIS SONG has become my theme song.
I did this interview with Niko Lukoff a few days ago as part of a training for local comedians who work with my production company, Ipockolyptic Productions. Niko created the breakout hit facebook group Displaced Comedians. We listen to Niko's orgin story and learn the basics of virtual/steam/zoom shows:
- What equipment you might need
- How a zoom show compares to live
- Ways to adjust to a virtual performance environment
- What opportunities you might find out in the digital scene
Got a question for your comedy mom! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
When people think about getting into stand up comedy, they think about the glory. The crowds, the attention, the IG fans. Everyone thinks about being the next Joe Rogan, Dan Stanhope and Amy Schumer. In order to get that glory, you have to go all in. Comedy is going to take over you life. It is going to demand every second of free time you have.
Got a question for your comedy mom? email us at email@example.com. You can find us on instagram at @comedymompodcast
It is competition season for my comedy scene, which always flares up everyone's competitive nature. Here's the thing: The idea that Stand Up Comedy is somehow a competitive thing, is absolutely bullshit. You aren't competing against your fellow comics. You are only competing against yourself. You are competing against your last set, your own work ethic, and your own fears. Be resilient.
I also go on a rant about comedy competitions, and tell the hard truth about them. As a producer of a competition, I understand their true nature and purpose. Other producers are going to hate my honesty. But, someone needs to be honest with you about it. It's not about competing against each other, it's about competing against yourself. Plus, there's an easy way to hack almost any competition.
Want some advice from your Comedy Mom? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Also, follow us on Instagram at @comedymompodcast! Send us a DM!
Athletes will do a different sport or exercise to help their main sport. This is cross training. Dancers will strength train. Football players will do yoga and swimming. Cyclists will cross country ski. This cross training theory can help you as a stand up comedian, too! There are definitely activities you can do that will help you grow your skills as a stand up. Here is my list:
Dancing (Maybe just me)
There is some other random advice in here, too! I also included a little bonus clip of my husband stumbling in on my mic check.
Do you have a question for your Comedy Mom? E-mail us at email@example.com! You can also find us on instagram at @comedymompodcast! Your question might end up the next episode!
This Episode is a little adversarial. It might hurt some feelings.
Being A Big Fish In A Small Pond Doesn't Mean Sh*t.
There. I said it. It's so easy in a small scene to feel like a big deal. Comics with big heads and big egos make big mistakes. Bookers don't need you. You are replaceable.
So, don't lose your hustle. Still go to open mics. Still write. Still work on getting better. Being a big fish in a small pond won't really open doors for you in the next big scene. But your work ethic will.
"Pouring salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter
Pissing in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener"
Kacey Musgraves, Biscuits
It's easy to get distracted in comedy. This episode is all about my mantra, "Stay On Target." Put your blinders on and focus on what you have control over. Don't get stuck in a mindset of scarcity. Laughter is not a limited resource. There's enough for everyone. I promise!
It's that time of year! If you have "Try Stand Up Comedy" on your list of resolutions like I did in 2015 this episode is for you. Your first open mic is like an amusement park ride. Go into it ready to see what it feels like to tell jokes in front of an audience. Keep your expectations reasonable and remember not to confuse edgy with funny!
Also, listen to Episode 1: How To Get Started In Stand Up. This Episode gets into the nitty gritty of what your very first open mic will (hopefully) be like!
Got a question for your Comedy Mom? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Or find me on instagram under @comedymompodcast! I'd love to answer your question!
I honestly thought about calling this episode "Why All Bookers Are Assholes."
Don't even stress about whether you are getting booked if you are less than two years in. Some Bookers have rules about "time served." It won't matter how well you land with an audience at an open mic. Your stats could be amazing and they still won't book you until you have a couple years under your belt. Especially in bigger cities.
I refer you to previous episodes:
E2 - Basic Rules of Stand Up Comedy
E3 - What the F To Wear
E4 - What Makes A Good Set
E6 - What I Look For As A Booker.
If you listen to these four episodes and are confident you are hitting all of these marks then it's time to talk to the Booker. Any Booker should be happy to honestly communicate with you about what you can do better. Take this feedback openly and without being defensive. This feedback is important.
I recorded this episode on December 4th. The time of year I sit down and start thinking about my goals for the upcoming year. This episode is all about how to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. In the end, as comics, the trajectory of our career is dependent on the decisions of others. Avoid making goals that depend on someone else's permission or approval. Focus what you can control. They will help you grow as an artist!
If you have a question for Comedy Mom you can e-mail her at email@example.com. Or just slide into our DM's at @comedymompodcast on Instagram!
I sat down with my MoM after Thanksgiving to talk about her perspective on the whole thing. The parents of comics have an interesting vantage point on our material. Plus, if you pay enough attention, you can learn what the "Boomers" are looking for comedy and why clean comedy can help you with that generation.
This interview was recorded in their home, on my phone. You may hear my step-father and husband chatting in the background. Maybe some noises from my kiddo, too. It's an honest, kitchen table, conversation between mother and daughter. Enjoy!
Jessica is a staple in the Bend comedy scene! We talk about her first open mic, advice for new comics and dating life! We were going to record this live, but the weather took a sh*t on Central Oregon. So, we are both cozy in our own homes!
You can find Jessica on Instagram at @therealjesstaylor!
Got a question for your comedy mom? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
It's easy to start dismissing open mics when you start getting "paid gigs." Some people see open mics as only auditions for bookers. I am making a passionate case for why this is not true. All stage time is good stage time. Get all the stage time you can! Besides, you need to go see your Comedy Mom at least once a week. She misses you.
We are talking all about self deprecating humor. What it is, how it helps, and how to keep it from going too far. Using examples from her own material, Katy Ipock helps demystify writing jokes about yourself. Plus, Comedy Mom gets a little passionate at the end talking about the true purpose in the world as stand up comedians.
Got a question for your comedy mom? E-mail us at email@example.com. Or Send us a message on instagram at @comedymompodcast.
When sports teams want to get better the coach sits them down and makes them watch game footage. Watching yourself play is the best way to see what your doing and where you can improve. Comedy is exactly the same way. The best way to see where you can get better as a performer is to watch (or listen) to your sets. Truly and honestly analyzing your sets will help you grow your talent and skills. Seriously. Record every set.
This episode could also be titled "How To Stay On A Booker's Good Side." Acting professionally isn't dependent on your talent and/or skill level. Whether you are an open micer or on the road, you can follow this guidelines and behave like a true professional. You are probably an open micer if you are listening to this, so definitely get into these habits now. "Practice How You Play" is great advice for sports teams, but also great advice for comedy.
Joke Theft is the only hard, fast rule in Stand Up Comedy. There are no "covers" in stand up. This episode is all about joke theft, parallel thinking and hack jokes. We talk about why it's important, how to avoid it, and how to handle being called out on it.
We delve into what it's like to be married to a comic. Kris Ipock is Katy's amazing husband and co-owner of their production company, Ipockolyptic Productions. They talk about what it's like to be married to a comic, and Kris's role in helping to book shows. (Hint: Katy is not the only booker you have to impress in Central Oregon.)
It doesn't take long for any "open micer" to ask, How do I get booked for a paid show? This episode is all about what I look for when booking someone and how to get yourself on a show. Keep in mind, it can take YEARS before you get your first paid gig. Comedy is a long game, and there is no reason to be in a hurry. You are an artist, so focus on your art. The $20 gigs will come when they come. This episode will help you understand the initial goal of going from open mics to paid gigs. But, again, there is literally no hurry.
Everyone wants to know how to write a joke. After every show there is usually one person who asks where I get my material. This episode isn't about the actual technique of writing, but how to generate material to write about. This is great comedy mom advice for those just starting out and for any comic who has come up against writer's block.
Comedy is an art form. It's hard to tell, in a concrete way, how well a set lands. Over my 5 years of performing I have found a way to analyze my sets that gives me actual numbers to look at. Not everyone will want to do it this way, but it helps me make my sets stronger. These are also the factors I am thinking about when I'm considering booking someone for a show.
Laugh Ratio: The percentage of time the audience spends laughing versus your total time on stage. The goal at this level should be 15%. ( I got this from The Comedian, a documentary about Jerry Seinfeld.)
Hit Rate: How many punchlines you throw out versus how many of them land. The goal is 100%
Hit Strength: The average strength of all our punchlines. Your average should be around 3. (If you are assigning strength on the same scale I do. Obviously, whatever scale you want to use is up to you.)
I get asked often what a new comic should wear on stage. This is a nebulous, difficult thing to explain. I give my best motherly advice on the subject. Also, I am not only a comedy mom and I am an actual mom. Today is laundry day. You'll probably hear my washer.
Today, Mom gets preachy! I'm going over the basic rules of open mic comedy, and touch on the semi-pro side as well. We all know rules suck. If you are performing stand up comedy, you are likely a rebel. I get it. This episode will help you get a leg up and keep you out of trouble. At least with me.
As always: Take your vitamins, take care of yourself, and don't be a dick on stage.
Episode 1! We are tackling the question everyone asks. How do you get started in stand up? This is how your first open mic (should) go. Learn everything you need to know before hitting the stage for the first time!
If you are looking for an open mic in Bend, Oregon just go to www.ipockpro.com! The open mics I run are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Craft Kitchen & Brewery.
Want advice from your Comedy Mom? Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!