How To Become a Comedian: Your first 5 minute Stand Up Comedy Set
Updated: Sep 7
Building your first 5 minute Stand Up Comedy Set - the first step on how to be a Stand Up Comic
It’s no secret that stand-up comedy is an art form. To become a successful stand up comedian, you need the perfect blend of wit, timing and effort. But don’t be intimidated! Everyone starts somewhere.
In this guide, we’ll help you get started if you're wondering how to become a stand up comedian, giving you the tips you need to craft your very first stand-up comedy set.
After all, it’s never too late to give stand-up comedy a chance - especially if you think you have what it takes to make people laugh!
Keep scrolling for our guide on how to get started in stand up comedy...
1. Brainstorm your Ideas
The best way to start writing your first stand up comedy set is to brainstorm ideas for jokes and topics. This could include things like current events, pop culture references, personal stories or observations - anything that comes to mind! Don’t worry if they seem silly or irrelevant at this point, you can always refine them later on when you actually start writing your comedy set.
Also, don't pressure yourself at this stage if the ideas aren't coming right away; creativity often needs time and space to grow, so if you’re struggling, leave it for a bit and something might pop in your head when you least expect it!
That genius gag, or perfect one-liner may just pop into your mind when you're in the shower or walking to the train station.
Want to learn more about how to brainstorm your ideas? Read our Top 5 Tips on how to brainstorm new ideas by clicking here!
2. Write lots of punchlines!
One trap that many new comedians fall into is going up on stage and telling a funny story that their friends find funny. It's all well and good when you are in a safe space with mates but it's a whole different kettle fish when delivering material to strangers who want to be impressed!
You need to make sure you are constantly hitting your audience with good quality jokes and unexpected punch lines throughout, especially when you are new as the laughs will ward off the nerves. However, coming up with them is not easy and will take a lot of time and effort.
3. Find Your Voice
Once you have some ideas in mind, it’s time to find your voice as a comedian. What makes your jokes unique? How will they connect with your audience? What type of tone do you want to use? Thinking about these questions can help shape the way you write your jokes and deliver them during your set.
For example, do you want your humour to be more observational or sarcastic? Do you prefer puns or one-liners? Are there any particular topics that are off limits? Figuring out the answers to questions like these will ensure that your material resonates with both yourself and your audience alike.
4. Refine Your Set
Now it’s time to put all your ideas down on paper. Typically, your first few comedy performances will be five minutes in length so aim for this (between one and two pages of A4).
You will want to create a good structure and a theme to run throughout it. The most important thing is to keep it succinct and don’t leave your audience waiting too long until the next punchline!
5. Practice Your Delivery
The best way to prepare for stand-up comedy is through practicing your delivery - that means getting up on stage and trying out different versions of each joke until it feels natural coming out of your mouth! You should also record yourself while doing this so that you can go back over any awkward pauses or mistakes afterward and adjust accordingly; this is especially helpful when performing in front of a live audience since they won't necessarily catch every line as quickly as they would if they were watching a video replay online afterward (which many comedians do). That said, don't forget how important timing is here too; the punchline should always hit home at just the right moment!
Crafting a good stand-up routine takes lots of work but also lots of patience too; after all, success doesn't come overnight! But with dedication, practicing your delivery and finding ways to make sure that each joke resonates with both yourself and the audience alike, you'll be well on your way towards being able to deliver a killer performance every single time!
6. Find an Open-Mic to perform at!
Now you have your set, it's time to put it to the test. Unfortunately, you won't be able to go straight to Live at the Apollo and test out your comedy chops in front of the nation, you're going to have to work your way up to that!
Start by signing up to some Comedy Open-Mic's. Wherever you are, there will surely be at least one nearby, so use every tool at your advantage to sniff it out, whether it be Google, Facebook, asking around, the use of a homing pigeon, you are guaranteed to find one somewhere!
We will be delving into these ideas more thoroughly in future blog posts as well as guides on how to write killer jokes so stay tuned!
If you want to learn more but can’t wait then there are also comedy courses you can take, here are a few recommendations from the Eye!
Angel Comedy Course with Dec Munro - https://www.angelcomedy.co.uk/courses/
The Jeff Innocent Comedy Academy - https://www.innocentacademy.com/
Soho Theatre Comedy Lab - https://sohotheatre.com/project/comedy-lab-stand/
Or, if you want to see how it’s done, buy tickets to one of our next Comedy in Your Eye shows here – https://www.designmynight.com/london/pubs/camden/the-camden-eye/comedy-in-your-eye-stand-up-comedy-show?t=tickets
If you want to learn more about how to become a Stand Up Comedian, check out our other articles here.
Until next time!
The CIYE Team