If you are a stand-up comic, you know that you always have to refresh your routine. You need to make tweaks or sometimes complete overhauls to take into account current events, as well as changing audience tastes. You also just need to change things up so that your fans aren’t seeing the same show over and over.
However, if you have been feeling like your routine is a little stale, or some old favorite jokes are falling flat at shows, you may be overdue for a fine-tune to your routine. If you are looking for some inspiration to reinvigorate your routine, consider the following tips:
Tailor Your Routine to Each Specific Audience
If you feel like some of your jokes have gotten old or that you are repeating the same routine over and over, try to think about your different audiences at each show and tailor your routine to each audience. If you have a Friday night show at a bar with young adults relaxing after work, incorporate the type of humor they expect into your routine.
A show at a hotel lounge midweek for retirees might look completely different, and that is great. Once you have an idea of your different audiences and their tastes, you might actually end up with several different versions of your routine. Taking the time and attention to tweaking your routine based on the audience will help elicit the most laughs. You might even find so much success that repeat audience members think of you when they are looking to hire a comedian for an event.
Study Others’ Routines
If you are really in a rut and can’t seem to make any adjustments, consider attending some comedy shows yourself. Choose a few comedians you admire, and see what works for them. Obviously, don’t copy their routines or jokes directly, but see if you can mimic their techniques or use some of their general ideas for inspiration for your own jokes.
Simply being on the other side of the stage may give you the motivation to try something new the next time you are on stage or to seek to improve your routine as much as possible. Seeing other perspectives and techniques will give your brain a chance to think creatively and escape the rut you are stuck in.
Another technique to try is to keep performing as much as possible and revise your jokes one by one as you gauge audience reaction. If you are finding that a specific joke or section of your routine is continually falling flat, focus on that joke or section specifically instead of trying to do a complete overhaul.
Continue this method until you have rewritten every stale joke, and your routine should be a hit from start to finish. If you are completely stuck and feel that your whole routine needs a rewrite, focus first on your opening. A strong opening will draw your audience in and give you a chance to test other jokes throughout the routine and revise those as needed.
All comedians need to continuously update their routines, or they wouldn’t be able to keep performing without audiences becoming bored. Don’t think of fine-tuning your routine as a burden, but as a creative opportunity.