Class 4: Stand Up Habits.

I’ve been teaching Stand Up since 1995. I’ve been performing Stand Up since 1985. Here are some of the habits that can make a difference in your Stand Up Comedy/ Writing/ and creativity.

  1. Theme: what are the stories in your life, the big stories that have stuck with you over the years? These stories carry your “MITACOMEDY-DNA. The big stories in your life is your market brand, the stories that make your stand up unique! I’ve always been driven to be creative. In the core of this need: Stand Up, Play Writing, Writing Novels, the habits that I’ve found are most paramount are the ones that make us unique. Remember, what we might find as weaknesses within us, are actually our strengths!
  2. OUR SECRETS: Mine your secrets! The things you’re afraid to share, the failures, heartbreaks, addictions, fears; all these things and more, are filled with the ingredients that connect us to our audience. My dad called me “IDIOT.” It took me years to even say this word. ( I used to avoid this premise and it’s this fear where the material was, the truth.) Now it’s my theme. All my material is based on the one word I was afraid to even speak. I have other kinks in my armor, I used to have low self esteem, I was a slob! “My mother was a hoarder. When she went into assisted living, Scientists cleaned out her house and found the hoarding gene!” I picked up some of her hoarding habits. Like most comics, I’ve learned to throw garbage in the back of a rental. After a couple of weeks, the car would be packed ceiling high with wrappers, pizza boxes and papers. This was a habit that I had to learn to undo, just as I learned to undo my fear of speaking, organizing my ideas, and low self esteem!
  3. Framing! The ability to amplify (TAG/ write) one of our theme inspired stories, into a set; is a Comedy Gold mine! In my class we will work on the mechanics of joke writing and story. And we accomplish this by moving into the classic fears most comedians have: doubt, frustration, procrastination and cultivating NEW habits aligned with OUR strengths. (This is a true story. Why wouldn’t I tag this/ build into a set?) What would Sveen do? I decided I wanted to break my habit of having a messy vehicle. I wasn’t prepared emotionally to actually clean the vehicle all at once. I decided to be proactive and grab one large fist full of garbage and throw it out every time I got out of my car. I had a corporate show out of town so I went to the bank to get some cash. As I left the car I shoved a fist full of garbage¬†into a pocket to toss into a recycle bin. There was a line up of a hundred people and they were pissed! Apparently the main frame computer had crashed and NO- ONE was able to get any money! I finally get to the front of the line. The customer in front of me at the teller was losing his mind, shouting something about opening the account! He stomps out, I step to the teller and ask for 300$. She says: “unless I have the letter that I was given when I opened the account I wasn’t able to withdraw any funds.” I wanted to say, what idiot carries that #!+* letter around? Then, I remembered the fist full of garbage in my pocket! I dig it out and place the pile on the counter. The teller looks at me and digs into the mess with a pencil and screams: “OH MY GOD!” The letter was in the pile! I get my 300 large and walk out of the bank and someone asks how I was able to get some cash! I looked at the guy and said” because I’m an idiot!: ¬†(This is all absolutely true and I told this story at a bank corporate recently filled with tags and it killed!)
  4. BE PREPARED: Have your set rehearsed and memorized. Know the Story/Frame and the opening, tags and closing jokes. Also be aware of your energy; allow yourself to be centered and positive. Being stressed means you’re not having fun. Admit it to the audience and or write jokes about being stressed so you can use them on stage.
  5. Always approach joke writing from as many premises as possible, three to five at the least. Remember, take your premise and place it in a circle. Split the circle into five pies and in the center write the premise. In each pie write the premise that pie comes from. Five pies, five different perspectives: you, spouse, neighbor, cousin, pet. . .Fill each pie with ingredients of each perspective, add to the premise, Q and A and answer. Keep inserting jokes from this exercise into your set and tape them. Listen and find other ways to write/tag your jokes.
  6. This is the link to my novel. Please check it out and share with others. Remember, you can book me for your event. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/the-angels-claw-1 E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca