On becoming a stand-up comedian

As a stand-up comedian, people often ask me, “What happened to your face?” After I tell them all about The Incident, they go on to ask me what it takes to be a stand-up comedian.

First, you’re going to need a microphone. I bought my first microphone when I was 9 years old. It was a Sony condenser that ran on AA batteries that I whittled myself. Microphone stands are optional, but they are very useful if you are (1) self conscious about how others view your body and (2) thinner than a microphone stand.

Then you’ll need a stage. I build my own stages and travel with them as I find the stages at comedy clubs to be subpar in height and surface area. I like to be at least five feet above my audience, so it doesn’t just seem like I’m talking down to them–I actually am. Having enough room to wander around and stretch out for a nap if I get bored is also important.

Always carry a registered handgun, and display it openly, in case there are hecklers. You can never be too safe. The same does not apply to your audience.

You’re also going to need lighting. Rookie standup mistake: you forget to bring your lights and have to perform in the dark. The audience will be frightened by the disembodied voices emerging from the shadows, and they may turn on you. This can result in you being heckled or slain. Nothing is worse for a young comedian’s psyche than being heckled.

Remember to have a CD of the jokes you just told to sell after the show as you wait outside the club in the snow and people awkwardly shuffle past you while trying to avoid eye contact like you were some homeless schizophrenic crackhead trying to sell them a Right Said Fred album you found in the sewer. The CD should have nice cover art.

Finally, you’ll need some jokes.


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