Mark Wade Writes


Learning vent and honing your act is very important, but not as important as taking that first big step...doing your first actual performance in front of an audience. You can practice, and practice in your basement or family room, but the real proof that you are going in the right direction is to audience test it with a group of people.

My first big piece of advice is to have fun. That's right, have fun trying out your new material with an audience. Don't beat yourself up if a joke doesn't go well...maybe it's your delivery, maybe it's your timing, maybe the joke just isn't funny. But you won't find out until you TRY IT OUT with a group of people who can react to your show. Sometimes good comedy is not an exact science, it's working through a piece of material over and over. You smooth out the bumps by
trying it out, replacing a joke or line that isn't working, or modifying it in some way. My suggestion is to video your act or record it and watch and listen to the audience and yourself. Maybe it's just one little thing you are doing that's keeping your act at an "average" level when it could be flying high with a bit of polish.

During that first showing of your new act you must tell yourself that this is a work in progress and if it doesn't go well it is not the end of the world (although you feel like it is at the time). Go back to the proverbial "drawing board" and take a look at your new act or show and examine why some of it isn't working. I try not to change the new act much until I audience test the show at least three times. If a bit isn't working after that, then it's time to either rewrite the bit, or toss it out completely and replace it with something you feel is better.

The more you perform a show or act, the more confident you become with it. You get the feel of what is going to work and that's your safety net, so to speak. Use these familiar, "safe" bits as the skeleton of the act and flesh it out with new material around these bits. The tried and true bits that always get a laugh are your anchors...use them to hold your act together. Remember, the turtle never makes any progress unless he sticks his neck out. Neither will you.
Stretch and go forward!

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