So You Want To Try Stand Up?

Updated: Jan 19

Well that's great to hear! Stand up comedy is a fun, creative outlet that is so unique and personal to each person. The opportunity to make a crowd of people laugh and think you're funny, certainly is an attractive prospect. Comedy styles are so unique to each person and so are the topics and content you choose.

What's your style?

There are 7 main types of comedy.

  1. Observational Comedy- Finding humor in every day life.

  2. Character Comedy – pretty self explanatory but we'll break it down anyway: the comedian will perform in part or through their entire routine in character or multiple characters.

  3. Surreal Humor- The telling a story or situation that has no logical basis and the humor is derived from the ridiculousness of the situation.

  4. Comedy Music- The set focusing on comedy through music either by song, instrument or both. (Enter Shazza the Ukelady )

  5. Insult Comedy- Usually based on finding a common enemy and ridiculing. This works particular well in Roast Battles.

  6. Political Satire- The subject matter being political figure or ideologies.

  7. Improvised Comedy- The comedy will improvise material on the spot often based on audience feedback.

Sharon "Shazza" Solomon performing with her Ukulele

It's important to remember that you can try as many different types of these as you want until you find one that works for you. Different occasions may call for different styles. You may not even know what your style is and that's ok! It's all trial and error baby!

Creating your set

Your set will vary depending on your style of comedy so there really is no particular way to structure a set. Most open mics will give you a 5 minute slot, so your aim is about 4.5 minutes of content. If your set gets laughs, this will increase your stage time as your pause will be longer (to allow for laughs of course!) so it's best to undershoot however, if you're killing it, the organizer won't mind if you've gone overtime by a minute. They will often have a signal to let you know when to wrap it up if you have gone on for too long so just have a chat to them beforehand.

It's best to start strong and then finish strong, leaving your weaker material for the middle part of your set. Starting strong gives the audience confidence in you straight off the bat. If you can secure some laughs in the beginning, the audience will be more likely to stay attentive to you. Likewise, ending on a laugh is an excellent way to wrap up your set so try to leave your best punchline for the end. There's nothing more awkward then walking off stage in silence and you want your audience to remember you for the right reasons.

To Rehearse or not to Rehearse?

Some comedians will tell you that they don't need to rehearse but rehearsing can be make or break for your set. As a brand new comedian, it may help put your mind at ease to practice your set out loud.

Practising out loud either in a mirror or to friends, is a great way to pick up things that may not sound quite right or don't flow as well as you'd thought. You may also find yourself coming up with improved or improvised lines when practising. You might say something funny that you think is too good not keep! It's also a great way to help you remember your set.

Just remember, there is such thing as over-rehearsing and you don't want your set to sound too


Where do I sign Up?

There are open mics in most places. Google is your best friend. Just type in “open mics near me” and see what you get. Otherwise, you can search on Facebook for open mics. Sign ups often happen on the night so all you have to do is show up a bit early. You can miss out on a spot if the event is popular so coming that little bit earlier will help you secure a position. Some open mics might give you the opportunity to sign up before the night. Just follow the organisers instructions on how to do this.

(Check out our “What's On” page for event in the Townsville region.)

What to wear

Whatever you want. Well, not whatever you want but your outfit can help set the tone for your performance. You can dress smart casual, in costume, formal or whatever you think you'll feel comfortable in and that helps support your act and represents your personality or the personality you're portraying on stage.

Sarah Bonanno dressed for Women's Week 2020

That's a Wrap! You did it! You signed up to your first open mic. Great work. It takes guts kiddo.

If you are still unsure, check out our article “What's the Worst that can Happen.” This will take you through your first time a little more. Don't worry, we've all been there.

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