Refining your Set - How to Become a Stand Up Comedian
Updated: Sep 7
4 tips on editing down your material - the next step on how to become a Stand Up Comedian!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to make sure your comedy set is tight and concise. They say to really progress in the early stages, you need a "Tight Five" It's not just about reducing the amount of time you take, but also how you can refine it to get the maximum impact out of every joke. Here are a few tips to help you refine your set and keep it short, sweet and effective:
1. Structure your set
Before writing or practicing your jokes, start by outlining the structure of your set. Think about what topics you want to cover, what kind of order they should be in, and any other points you want to make along the way. This will help you stay focused as you write, instead of going off on tangents that don't contribute to the overall set.
2. Cut out the Fluff
When you're writing, it's easy to get carried away with long-winded stories or descriptions that don't actually add anything to the joke. Try reading your material aloud and cutting out any words that don't contribute to the joke. This will help make each joke shorter and more direct, allowing you to fit more laughs into a short time frame.
3. Practice Little and Often
Once you have an outline for your set, practice telling jokes one at a time in smaller chunks instead of trying to tell them all at once. This will help you determine which parts are essential for each joke, so you can focus on those instead of wasting time on non-essential parts.
4. Get feedback from friends:
Don't be afraid to ask your friends or family to listen to a few of your jokes and give you some honest feedback. This can help you identify which jokes are working and which ones need more work. It's also a great way to get an outside opinion on how well the set is flowing, which can help you refine it further. Do you see them switching off at one point? Then it needs to be reduced!
Following these tips should help you trim down your comedy set so that it's tight and effective. Remember, less can often be more when it comes to comedy — so make sure each joke counts!
Here is an example of a set when the comedian really makes every word count - Rhod Gilbert Loses His Luggage
Want to see how it's done before you venture onto the circuit? We've been touted as one of the best comedy clubs in London, so if you're keen to see the pros in action, slide on down to one of our shows! Buy tickets for Comedy in Your Eye on our main page here!
If you want to learn more about how to become a Stand Up Comedian, check out our other articles here.