Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Tao of Comedy by Bobbie Oliver

Bobbie Oliver. The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause, CreateSpace, 2013.

This book explores, according to the author, how comedy comes from inside oneself. It also comes with responsibility. For instance, comedy should not be used to bully someone.

Comedy often involves moving deep inner emotions into a presentations that thrills an audience.

Many comics need to overcome their fear of public speaking. Comics are advised to accept this rear and go ahead and perform anyway without finding ways to overcome fear By performing is how ones learns to perform, fear and all.

Comics will fail. It happens, Oliver writers. Comics will learn life goes on. Those comics that continue doing what they what, even after failing, learn there are more opportunities to continue working at a craft. One gets better and should find more success. Experience is important.

The author urges comics to face the world they have to live within it. One learns to adjust for fears and obstacles. Oliver recommends meditating before performing.

Always carry a pen or a device that should work if technological devices fails. The author encourages writing down ideas for jokes, acts, etc.

The author advises comics should write from their lives and observation. Comics should collect knowledge and develop material for what one knows.

The author recommends video recording oneself and watching how one performs.

The author advices having notes onstage when performing standup comedy. The brain relaxes knowing the notes are available in case of forgetfulness, which allows he brain to not focus on this worry, which makes it less likely one will forget. If one needs to look at the notes, that is usually fine. Audiences will generally prefer that to someone standing silently.

Don’t ever steal jokes.

One should discover one’s persona to learn one’’s true self. Comics develop their own comedic voices. Avoid relying on showing oneself as a stereotype. A persona may change over time.

To overcome writers; block, the author advises just writing anything, then meditate, and then stimulate one’s nid which can be searching for news and information. The author states “creativity is tied to the spiritual being underneath our human shell/” It can be encouraged but not foreseen. Edit what is written. Consider how it sound to an audience.

The author makes an important observation that humor often comes frpom presenting something that is counter to how others normally perceive it.

If a joke doesn’t work, check it is may still work with a difference delivery or if rewritten.                            

The author believes “comedy is felt”. It is difficult to explain A common type of joke involves creating a “set up” followed by a “punch”. Some jokes follow the punch with a “second punch” or “first tag”.

A one liner joke is really a joke with two lines.

A story does not have specific requirements yet should be edited to hold one’s interest and should concentrate on getting as many laughs as quickly as possible. How the story is delivered is crucial.

Comedy often uses surprise which usually first requires a misdirection.

There is a “rule of threes” hat any jokes list things should have three things on the list. The item’s should be about the same length.

Comedy sometimes involves juxtaposition of things that usually aren’t compatible

Do not continue talking, if a comic, after delivering the punch line.

A comic should use a specific reference instead of a pronoun so audience clearly understand who is being referred.

A reference to a previous joke can create a pattern of recognition that creates humor.

Comics are advised to not add unnecessary words to a joke.

The introduction of something interest in a joke should lead to some payoff. Otherwise, don’t bring it up.

In a joke, the set up equals the punch so there should be a related to balance to each.

A joke should provide enough information so it is understood, Yet unnecessary words should not be used. Sometimes, though, an extra work can improve a joke’s rhythm.

A callback is when a joke refers to a previous joke. The device should not be overused.

A comic should not tipoff in advance that a punch is coming. It is much more effective to use the element of surprise.

It is recommended that usually a comic could end a set with the best joke. The final joke should last about 30 to 40 seconds. This is because comedy clubs flash a one minute warning light. When the light comes on, a comic is often in the midst of a joke. The comic should finish that joke and close with the best joke.

It is often advised for a comic to start an act with the second best joke.

A comic must appear to be in charge and keep control of an audience. Stand up comedy is a dialogue between the comic and the audience. If a comic is nervous, the comic should fake being confident. Comics are advised to look up towards the audience, speak in order to be heard, and to not fidget. A comic should stand in a powerful pose, as this helps build confidence.

The author recommends a trick for comics to immediately win an audience: The comic should ask the audience to clap for the master of ceremonies. This places the audience into the mindset of following what the comic advises, especially since it is something the audience agrees to do.

A comic should appear likable to an audience by smiling at them and exuding energy.

A comic is advised to speak in a conversational mode, to enunciate, and use appropriate expressions and body movements. The delivery should not be in a monotone. A comic should not speak too rapidly. The voice should be differentiated to add to jokes. Humor can be amplified with proper vocal infections, by down inflecting on the joke. After a joke, the comic should pause.

The author advises comics to “embrace the pause”. The pause is the audience’s time to laugh and that time belongs to the audience. It gives the audience time to process the joke and react to it and gives them time to laugh. A comic should not take this time away from the audience.

When heckled, it may be best to first let the heckler gain the audience’s disrespect. Attacking a heckler too soon may make the comic appear mean. This could make the audience lose respect for the comic.

A booker is a person who hires comics for clubs.

Some Los Angeles clubs do not pay and may require a comic to bring at least five audience members who pay the admission price and purchase the drink minimum.

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