Our guide to comedy

Our guide to comedy

First published date January 29 2014 Amended date January 31 2014

Do you dream of performing in front of a large audience? Do your friends think you’re the funny one? Or perhaps you want to throw yourself into the deep end and try something completely new. Whether you want to establish a career in comedy or you simply want to become the Lee Mack of your friends, enrolling on one of our comedy courses can help you reach your dreams of becoming the next comedy superstar.


Behind the scenes

Ok so you’ve decided you want to try your hand at comedy, but what will a comedy course teach you? You may be full of jokes but don’t have the confidence to deliver them, or maybe you are confident on stage but struggle to write new jokes, either way a comedy course will teach you the techniques behind the scenes that will help build all aspects of your comedic character. Throughout the course you will learn everything it takes to build your very own set, from writing comedy material to performing on stage. Most importantly you will learn how to start building your career in comedy, you will be taught how to get started and find work, you will learn about the different clubs and bookers that you can perform at and you will learn how to develop as a comedian and progress your career.


Facing the unknown

For any comedy course the aim is simple, for you to end up on centre stage.  As an aspiring comedian you’re bound to have nightmares, what could be worse than reeling off your list of gags to an expressionless audience? While even the best of comedians have been heckled in their local pub on an open mic night, comedy courses aim to prepare you for this initial failure whilst also giving you a platform to test those joke which you may be a little hesitant about.

One thing that many students take comedy courses for is to build their confidence. Many aspiring comedians find that they’re able to write funny material yet their jokes often fall flat because of their confidence or delivery. Standing up on stage and attempting to make a large audience laugh is certainly a daunting prospect but with a little bit of guidance you will be able develop the flair to get them rolling off their seats.


What to expect...

Comedy courses can run from any length, from one off, day time courses to weekend courses, and evening courses that can last as long as 12 weeks, you are bound to find a course that fits around your schedule. Depending on which type of course you take, prices can vary from as cheap as £60 to £400 for more in depth courses. Longer courses will involve a mixture of lectures, group/pair work, visiting comedy clubs and demonstrations.

This heavy focus on the practical will help you to build on your performing skills by learning and performing in front of your fellow peers.  Comedy courses are full of friendly people who are all willing to pitch in and help each other out, not only will you get plenty of feedback from your tutor but also from your class mates. All this practice will prove to be vital to your progress as you work your way up to perform with some of your comedy idols.


Some tips for breaking into stand-up comedy

  • Educate yourself by going to as many different comedy gigs as you can. This doesn’t just mean watching the professionals; watching how people succeed, and fail, at open mic nights and free comedy shows can give you a sense of where you can improve.
  • Never steal or take from other people’s ideas. Doing this will always come back to bite you, and anyway, to have a career in comedy you need to make a name for yourself and be different to what’s already out there.
  • Record yourself. Recording yourself will allow you to watch back your material and see how you deliver it. This will enable you to analyse and reflect on what you thought you did well and what you could improve on.
  • Write write write. Never stop writing material and never throw old material away, most material can be good and you may find that material that flopped can be told in a different way to make it funny.
  • Always keep a notepad with you so you can write material down as soon as it comes to you.
  • Practice makes perfect. Practice at open mic nights and in front of peers at every possible opportunity. You will improve before you know it.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. All of the best comedians failed in their first attempts at comedy, you’ll need thick skin but with practice you will get better.