Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth
Friday (8/22/14) 5:38pm - ... wherein Peter attends a stand-up workshop.
My notes from Brently's "Stand-Up for Improvisors" workshop (8/14/14):
- As an improvisor, think of your audience as your (mostly) silent scene partner.
- You're all in it together.
- Try to keep that feeling alive -- that you and them are in the same experience.
- If something weird happens during your act, acknowledge it.
- The audience wants a context for your act.
- If you clearly know your own voice, they clearly know what they're watching.
- Accept that the audience is living their lives.
- Giving anybody your undivided focus for a long time is difficult.
- So they'll shift in their seats, or talk among themselves, or cough.
- Heckling is actually fairly uncommon.
- A loud, belligerent drunkard is going to get thrown out of the club.
- Typically, they just want to be heard, and then they'll shut up.
- Stupefying silence is more common than heckling.
- Focus on having fun onstage.
- If you're not having fun, then your happiness starts to depend on the audience.
- In time, this will make you hate audiences.
- Audiences often fail to detect anxiety.
- Or if you own up to it, often they don't care.
- They can *smell* desperation though.
- Being desperate for their approval = pretty much the only way to "lose" at stand-up.
- To a large extent, they are paying to see somebody give no fucks onstage.
- They cede control of the evening to you at the start of your act.
- They only want control back if you panic.
Discovering Your Voice
- This amounts to answering the question "Who are you?"
- (Or perhaps "Who are you when you're doing stand-up?")
- Your persona is what is memorable.
- Even if you can't remember a single Steven Wright joke, you remember Steven Wright.
- This can be a wellspring of written material, as well.
- "You'll never run out of you."
- Remember that improvising as a clear character is easier than improvising as nobody.
- Discovering your voice means you create a clear character for yourself.
- This means, when you forget your material, it's much easier to improvise material.
- "Facts" versus "Truth"
- Louis CK gives facts.He tells what is happening in his life with painful accuracy.
- Stephen Colbert gives truth.His character is an affectation, but still gets at something real.
- This is a spectrum -- you can choose where you want to be in your performance.
- Try practicing your material while taking a walk, or exercising, or preparing food
- Any context where you'll have to adjust your timing as things happen around you.
- Your mic options:
- Stand behind the mic on the mic stand: YES.
- Hold the mic, go in front of the stand: YES.
- Hold the mic, stay *behind* the stand: NO.
- Stand-up has lots of arbitrary rules.
- Stand-up comedians do not have to be bitter or combative.
- That's a cliché that needs to die.
- Austin has a supportive stand-up community.
contemplative · Music: