From the time I was a kid I’ve enjoyed so many great, stand-up geniuses.
I recall watching Bill Cosby’s ‘Himself.’ I could recite word for word his bit about chocolate cake for breakfast. I’d use that on my mom when I wanted to eat junk food to start my day. I even think it worked sometimes..
I loved his story about Noah’s Arc and can still hear in my mind how he’d say “…Right…” as he described Noah responding to God. So funny.
My most prominent comedic memory as a teenage was getting my hands on the Sam Kinison album “Have You Seen Me Lately?”
In all of it’s glorious vulgarity; I laughed my ass off.
Then there was Eddie Murphy’s ‘Delirious’ which opened the door to one of the greats of all time; Andrew “Dice” Clay.
“Hickory, dickory, dock.. This bitch was su…”
That album is SO politically incorrect. I love it.
About a year ago I was able to see Christopher Titus live at WiseGuys Comedy Club in Salt Lake.
It was such a different experience. The energy of seeing that type of performance up close is surreal. If you haven’t frequented a comedy club and seen the craft on display in person; DO IT. It will change your life.
After Titus, we got a lead on seeing the Incorrigible Chris D’elia at the same venue (see what I did there?).
It. Was. AWESOME.
I have been a D’elia fan since I first saw his special ‘White Male Black Comic’ on Comedy Central.
Dude is just funny. Period. *Eight shots equals too many..* Ha!
We got another lead thanks for a friend of mine, Elliot Dole, that Bryan Callen was coming to town at the new WiseGuys venue in downtown Salt Lake.
I knew Bryan Callen from his parts in both The Hangover and The Hangover 2.
I had seen him be berated by Ari Gold on Entourage.
But I had become most familiar from listening to his HIT podcast The Fighter and The Kid.
We jumped at the chance. We got there early and got the closest seats possible.
Row 1, right in front of the stage and within an arm’s reach of him. Ready to see the master share his talent. The picture that I used for this post was taken from our seat.
When he came out I knew we were in for something special. And I was right.
He torn up the stage.
Was so energetic.
He told such great stories that highlighted the uniqueness of his life, his family and his perspective. He has a very physical style of comedy and moves around a lot; accentuating his body and movements.
It’s awesome. Go check out Bryan Callen’s stand-up if you have the chance. It doesn’t disappoint.
After the show Amie and I went up and got pictures with him and talked for a bit. He seemed like a very normal guy with an extraordinary talent to make people laugh. He was friendly and engaging; completely different that his onstage persona.
It got me thinking about the roots of stand-up. I’ve come to this simple conclusion.
Stand-up is basically being good at telling a story while highlighting the funny parts.
Think about it; every great stand up punch line is born from the telling of a story with the *BAM* punchline delivered perfectly.
The best comedians have several, perfectly timed punches delivered throughout their story.
Sarcasm. Wit. Timing. BOOM. Crowd in stitches.
Since I started Rules of Success I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. I have realized that a good podcaster is akin to a good comedian. If you can tell a good story and keep people interested in what your are talking about you are winning the game. That’s why so many comedians have started their own podcasts; it’s a natural fit to their skill set of story telling.
As a guy who is constantly honing my craft as a podcaster, I see that the gap between myself and the greats is something that I have the capacity to bridge.
It’s also why I’ve been so intrigued by stand-up, and there is a part of me that would like to try it.
Here’s my rationale.
I don’t script hardly anything when it comes to my show Rules of Success.
For my guests, I send them an outline that has what I can ‘fence posts’ for where I would like to take the conversation with possible questions. As for the pre-interview monologue; NONE of it is scripted. I look at the Bio of the guest, and then I riff about what the listener will hear when they listen. I do this after having listened to the first segment AND after I have chosen a small clip to use as an intro for the episode.
Same for the mid-roll before the second segment. My point is that I consider myself strong in the arena of improvisation from this experience. I plan out the raw info that i need to know to be able to craft the story and then I get to it.
In stand-up; it seems similar. They don’t have notes. They have a predetermined script in their mind, but each word is not memorized. It’s a perfect combo of planning and improvisation.
I think I am pretty good at that part.
At least I could learn to be sufficient enough to tell a story in front of a crowd to the point I could make them laugh.
(Side Note: I am listening to Nick Swardson’s ‘Taste It’ while I am writing this and his bit about Jack Daniels is KILLING it. Water of Life LOLOL..)
Back to my writing.
I think it’s time to try my had at an open mic night.
Podcasting has wet my palette.
Seeing it live has ignited the desire.
Exposure to the greats has motivated me.
Now, I just have to write bits, create a set and do it. You know; THE HARD PART.
WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING?!?!?
Thanks to Bryan Callen. Chris D’elia, Christopher Titus, Dane Cook and every other stand-up comic that inspired me to make a fool of myself.
Time to shine!