Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®

Setting the Comedy Stage

Yes, Comedy needs more than

a microphone and a stool, though you really have to have that! I’ve had to do comedy behind a podium and it is not pretty (or successful – do you see podiums on Comedy Central? No? Well, there’s a reason).

But there are other things

you can do before the comedian gets on stage, to set him/her up for success. Some of the things are no-brainers and you would do them for any speaker. . . but some are really unique to comedians. Here’s the list:

–Don’t do something un-comedy-like

before they go on. Long, awful speeches aren’t great, but at least the comic can make fun of those. I’m talking about reading off the list of people who died. . and then introducing the comedian. This has happened to me on a couple occasions, and while I’ve recovered, it’s not a pretty start.

–Stop clearing dishes and/or other activities. It doesn’t matter if it’s a comedian or someone announcing the cure for Cancer. . .if dishes are being clanked around, or if you’ve got other moving parts going on, it won’t work. I once had to perform my comedy while they rolled in a 6 foot high chocolate fondue fountain. . .. guess who won? And don’t let the banquet manager decide when the show will start! You’re paying them, so you tell them to stop clearing dishes. I know they want to go home. . . but they shouldn’t be the one running the show.

–Keep the stage close to the audience. If there’s a moat between us comedians and the crowd, then the comedy show loses it’s intimacy. Comedy clubs will squish people next to each other because they understand this intimacy thing. . . oh, and it helps prevent people from running on the tab! Okay that may not be an issue at your corporate event, keeping the intimacy is an issue. Plus many times the comedian asks the audience questions. . .and it’s easier to hear and see if they’re close by.

Click here for Setting the Stage for Comedy – Part 2