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Welcome to the “How To Do Comedy” Podcast And Blog page for the School Of Laughs! This is a great resource for the aspiring comedian or part time pro, as well as any speaker who wants to get FUNNIER. It can be a lonely, cutthroat world trying to learn how to do comedy on your own. This podcast is your “digital green room.”

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Enjoy and please subscribe to podcast in i-Tunes , or STITCHER , leave a ranking and review. Also now on iHeart Radio!

Send an e-mail to SchoolOfLaughs@gmail.com with topics, questions or comments for the podcast. As of August 1, 2017 the podcasts will release on the 1st and 15th of the month. Each one is designed to help you learn how the comedy business works, how to get the work, and how to be funny enough to get better work.

So check back often for fresh new ideas on how to take your comedy career further, faster.

HOT BREATH WITH JOEL BYARS [EP. 154]

Joel Byars Show Notes Today’s episode with Joel Byars is brought to you by Patreon supporter Tim Grable. To learn how you can support the podcast visit www.SchoolOFLaughs.com/Patreon. I’m joined by Joel Byars of the popular HOT BREATH podcast. Joel started comedy about seven years ago in Knoxville. He lives in Atlanta and hosts a…

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HAVE A SEAT ON THE COUCH [EP. 153]

Are you starting comedy later in life? Trying to find a way to get more stage time? Looking for realistic goals? Then this episode is for you! Today I talk with former student Bo Shuster, about all things comedy. This episode is brought to you by Patreon supporter Dwight McCormick and by the Clean Comedy…

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BUILD A COMEDY CLUB FROM THE GROUND UP [EP. 152]

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to build a comedy club from the ground up? Do you wonder what the best set up for an Improvisational Comedy club would be? Curious how you even go about finding a pace and raising the money? Then today’s interview with the founders of Third Coast…

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KAREN KNOTTS - A DEPUTY'S DAUGHTER [EP. 151]

Today I get to talk with the wonderfully talented and super sweet Karen Knotts. Does that last name sound familiar? Yes, her father was the one and only Don Knotts! Karen grew up in Glendale, CA and was interested in becoming a child actor. But her father wanted her to wait. Show business can be…

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THE BUSINESS OF CREATIVITY WITH DAMIAN MASON [EP. 150]

Today I sit down with my friend and fellow speaker Damian Mason. Damian quit his sales job in 1994 to become a Bill Clinton Impersonator. I met him in the mid-2000’s when he and I were both impersonators performing for a meeting in the Agriculture niche.  Most recently, he has also become a top speaker…

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SUMMIT COMEDY INC., [EP. 149]

On today’s show I catch up with Chuck Johnson, CEO of Summit Comedy Inc., in Charlotte, NC. I first net Chuck in the late nineties when he left Comedy Zone and started his own comedy agency. At that time he was doing a little bit of everything from booking one nighters and clubs to managing a…

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JEANNE ROBERTSON COMEDY WITH CLASS [EP. 148]

JEANNE ROBERTSON COMEDY WITH CLASS [EP. 148] Jeanne Robertson – one of my comedy favorites joins us today! We discuss a career that started in late 60’s and has carried her into her mid seventies! You don’t last that 54 years in show business unless you are jaw dropping funny. Jeanne Robertson absolutely is! Jeanne…

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TAMMY PESCATELLI FINDING THE FUNNY [EP. 147]

Tammy Pescatelli joins me today to talk all things comedy. I met Tammy Pescatelli way, way back in 1994 when I was working at the Davenport Funny Bone and she was co host of a morning show there.  Since then, Tammy has gone on to many great things including multiple appearances on the Tonight Show,…

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MANAGING A COMEDY CLUB [EP. 146]

On this episode I sit down with Lucy Sinsheimer,  Zanies Comedy Showplace in Nashville, TN to talk about managing a comedy club. This week’s episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Brian Bates and the Clean Comedy Challenge! MANAGING A COMEDY CLUB SHOW NOTES We cover a lot of ground about managing a comedy club in this episode, including: The first comedy…

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ANDY BENINGO TALKS FATHERHOOD AND COMEDY [EP. 145]

On this episode I sit down with Andy Beningo from Live at Gotham. Andy started comedy 12 years ago while attending Central Michigan University. The last 10 of those years he has been performing full time. Splitting his time equally between clubs, corporates and churches, Andy is a clean comic who is not afraid to hustle. This week’s…

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STAND UP COMEDY FIRST STEPS [EP. 144]

On this episode I sit down with two of my current writing class students to discuss their Stand Up Comedy First Steps. Beginning stand up comedy can definitely be confusing. I try to help guide them in directions that will result in quick wins and momentum. This week’s episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Greg Smrdel and the Clean Comedy…

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Six Kids, A Full Time Job & No Excuses [EP. 143]

This week I sit down with Shawn Reynolds to discuss how you have to find a way to perform no matter what. He knows, with a house full of kids and running his own retail store – time is precious. No excuses, just jokes and persistence will get the job done. Thanks to this week’s Patreon Sponsor Al…

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THE FUNNY BUSINESS AGENCY [EP. 142]

Today I talk with Jamison Yoder of the Funny Business Agency in Grand Rapids, MI. Funny Business Agency books comedians in clubs, at colleges and for corporate events. They also coordinate and book all the comedians for the annual LaughFest comedy festival created by Gilda’s Club in Grand Rapids, MI every March. Thanks to this week’s Patreon Sponsor…

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SETTING UP YOUR FIRST FUNDRAISER SHOW [EP. 141]

Today I talk with CLUB 52 member and PATREON supporter Susan Sussman about setting up your first fundraiser show. Susan is a comedienne from Norfolk, VA who I met through the podcast. She followed through on some of the suggestions I made in THIS BLOG about setting up a show. Then we talked live about…

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CHARLIE WEINER FIFTY YEARS IN THE BIZ [EP. 140]

Charlie Weiner started performing as a singer and guitar player in 1966. Occasionally, someone would break a string and he would fill in the silence with improvised ramblings. Funny ones. He loved the response and would find opportunities to be comedic throughout other gigs. Soon he started comedy in Ohio at the Cleveland Comedy Club…

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STEVE MARTIN MARTIN SHORT CONCERT REVIEW [EP. 139]

STEVE MARTIN MARTIN SHORT  Every once in awhile a concert comes along you just can’t pass up. When I saw the Steve Martin Martin Short concert was headed for Nashville, I jumped at the chance to see these two funny legends. To top it off, the show was at the historic Grand Ole Opry. Done! In full…

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AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL [EP. 138]

Today’s “After School Special” podcast is brought to you by Patreon supporter John Hill. To learn how you can support podcast through a small, monthly donation, visit Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs  After School Special I am joined today by a group of School of Laughs students after a recent comedy writing class. We had a fun bunch this last round…

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GRINDING IT OUT WHILE STILL AT A JOB [EP. 137]

Today’s podcast “Grinding It Out While Still At A Job” is brought to you by Patreon supporter John Schuster. To learn how you can support podcast through a small, monthly donation, visit Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs  Also, we are proud to welcome Kevin Hackenberg and his team over at FunnyAndAmen.com as a sponsor to the podcast. The team at Funny&Amen recently filmed me…

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FACEBOOK FAN PAGE STRATEGIES [EP. 136]

This week’s episode “FACEBOOK FAN PAGE STRATEGIES” is brought to you by Patreon supporter Doc Kennedy. To learn how you can support podcast through a small, monthly donation, visit Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs  Also, we are proud to welcome Kevin Hackenberg and his team over at FunnyAndAmen.com as a sponsor to the podcast. The team at Funny&Amen recently filmed me in 4k high def…

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9 STAND UP COMEDY LESSONS LEARNED [EP. 135]

This week’s episode “9 stand up comedy lessons learned in 2016” is brought to you by Patreon supporter Kay Dodd Stokes. To learn how you can support podcast through a small, monthly donation, visit Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs Also, we are proud to welcome Kevin Hackenberg and his team over at FunnyAndAmen.com as a sponsor to the podcast. The team…

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CROWD WORK, SCREENWRITING TIPS [EP. 134]

Are you interested in screenwriting? Do you want to learn a few tactics on making crowd work, er, work? Then today you are in great luck! Comedian, screenwriter and former crowd warm-up Robert G. Lee joins us for a deep dive in both topics. Robert G. Lee started dabbling in comedy in college. Afraid to go…

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FINANCIAL GOAL SETTING [EP. 133]

As a comedian, entertainer, or speaker your income is directly tied to how much quality content you develop, perfect and deliver. Are you ready for some financial goal setting? Looking back at what brought you income (or didn’t) in 2016 is essential in making pans for the new year. It doesn’t happen automatically. You’ve got to focus…

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CREATIVE GOAL SETTING [EP. 132]

As a comedian, entertainer, or speaker your business is directly tied to how much quality content you develop, perfect and deliver. Are you ready for some creative goal setting? Setting aside time to hone your craft is absolutely imperative to your success. But it doesn’t happen automatically. As the new year begins, take some time to…

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STAR SEARCH, DISNEY AND LESLIE NORRIS TOWNSEND [EP. 131]

Leslie Norris Townsend lost her parents when she was in her teens. In order to support her three siblings, she started entering beauty pageants in hopes of bringing home a check. The awards also helped pay for college. The contests required her to do a “talent” which helped her develop her singing and innate ability to improvise….

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ADDING CHARACTERS TO A STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW [EP. 130]

Have you ever wondered about adding characters to a stand-up comedy show? That and a whole lot more is discussed during this “after school special” episode. After wrapping up the third writing class here in Nashville, several students hung around and fired off questions. They asked … How do you survive your first open mic night?…

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HOW TO ADD HUMOR TO A SPEECH [EP. 129]

Have you ever wondered how to add humor to a speech? For many, this is terrifying territory. But, if you don’t know how to add humor to a speech it doesn’t have to scare you. It is just one more skill you need to develop. Lucky for you, I an joined this week by two experts…

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NICK ARNETTE DENVER, SEATTLE & L.A. [EP. 128]

Today I sit down with comedian and keynote speaker Nick Arnette. Nick has lived and performed comedy in Denver Seattle and L.A.  I met Nick, however,  this summer in Des Moines, IA while doing a Speakers Bureau Showcase. Nick had a great set and I wanted to make sure to follow up and get his…

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STAND UP COMEDY HOW TO START [EP. 127]

Today we celebrate our 100,000th download with a special episode stand up comedy how to start from scratch. This is a great episode if you have yet to get started because you just feel it’s all overwhelming. I bring in my co-host Gavin Miller to walk through a few “first steps” I recommend to new…

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GREG WARREN - TRUST YOUR GUT [EP. 126]

Greg Warren (most recently seen on Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Late Show and Comedy Central Presents) has built a strong fan base with an act inspired by his Midwestern upbringing. His CDs, Running Out of Time (Sept 2013) and One Star Wonder (June 2009) hit #3 and #6 respectively in iTunes Top Comedy Albums. An honest mix of self-deprecation, frustration and…

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BE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITY W/ KERRI POMAROLLI [EP. 125]

Kerri Pomarolli has a diverse background in comedy. With experience in Sketch, TV, Stand-UP and Speaking, she stays open to opportunities in a variety of areas of show business. After moving to L.A. in her early twenties, she soon started to find work in all kinds of areas. Now a mother of two, she continues to bring…

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR COMEDIANS [EP. 124]

Travel tips from our road dog listeners will have you traveling in good company and avoiding major stresses and hassles. Following this list of travel tips and I guarantee you will enjoy the road a little more! I’ve been on the road since 1991. “Back in the day” I had no cell phone, GPS or satellite…

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NINE MONTHS INTO STAND-UP COMEDY [EP. 123]

Today I am joined by one of my students “Straussie”. Straussie took the Stand-Up Comedy Level One: Writing class back in February. Then he followed through with the Level Two: Performance Class and the Business of Comedy Class. I could tell right away this guy doesn’t mess around. He is serious about things and is…

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BEING VULNERABLE ONSTAGE [EP. 122]

Today I meet up with clean comedian and radio show host Daren Streblow. I’ve known Daren for awhile and he has always been super funny and extremely gracious. Today we talk a lot about the inner mind workings of a stand-up comedian. And we talk in depth about being vulnerable onstage. Specifically we talk about:…

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DUSTIN NICKERSON - MR. PATIENT [EP. 121]

Today’s episode with Dustin Nickerson is brought to you by our Patreon Sponsors. And also by AUDIBLE.COM, where you can download a free audio book and enjoy a free 30 day trial by going to www.AudibleTrial.com/SchoolOfLaughs. Dustin Nickerson is a San Diego based comedian. He’s clean, clever and committed to the journey and wherever it may lead. At 31…

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LINKEDIN STRATEGIES WITH DAVE DELANEY [EP. 120]

This episode is brought to you by all of our Patreon sponsors and Audible.com! Today I talk with digital marketing consultant Dave Delaney (FutureForth.com) about the power of LinkedIn strategies for comedians and speakers. The Nashville Business Journal calls him a “power leader of technology in Nashville”. He is the recipient of the prestigious Digital Media…

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STAND-UP COMEDY EXAMINED [EP. 119]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Al Smith. It’s time to analyze stand-up comedy! Today we dig knee deep into how to turn a funny thought into a full blown comedy bit. I am interviewed by Rick Altizer on his radio show which airs here in Nashville Saturday mornings at 9:30 on…

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VOICE TO A VISION WITH SANDI JOY CHADWICK [EP. 118]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Jeff Roberts. To learn how you can support the podcast, visit www.SchoolOfLaughs.com/Patreon. Sandi Joy Chadwick turned what could have been a major disappointment (loss of her singing voice) into a victory when she switched her focus to comedy. It took a little encouragement from others to take that initial…

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3 NEW JOKES [EP. 117]

This “3 NEW JOKES” episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Jeana Medlin. To learn how you can support the podcast, visit www.SchoolOfLaughs.com/Patreon. We follow up last week’s premise session with Jonnie W. and Brian Bates. They both pop back by the headquarters with audio clips. Last week’s premises are now jokes. But, how…

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PREMISE, PREMISE, PREMISE [EP. 116]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Kevin Hardy! Today I am joined by former students (and now full-time comedians) Jonnie W. and Brian Bates. We frequently hangout and run jokes and ideas past each other. I thought we should record this and let you in on the process. It’s not rocket science….

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AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL - COMEDY QUESTIONS [EP. 115]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Allen Smith. To find our how you can support the podcast with a small monthly donation, visit www.Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs. Today I am joined by several recent writing students to answer their comedy questions. Specifically, we talk about: What is a good way to know that you should…

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SHOWCASE YOUR TALENTS WITH BROOKLYN DICENT [EP. 114]

Brooklyn Dicent joins me today thanks in part to Patreon supporter Mike James. To find out how you can support the podcast with a small monthly donation visit www.Patreon.com/SchoolOfLaughs . Brooklyn Dicent talks about her dual careers as a professional leadership trainer and … Comedienne.  We cover a lot of ground and dig into social media this week…

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SOCIAL MEDIA PRO TIPS - PART TWO [EP. 113]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Paul Swann and the Clean Comedy Conference. Social Media ninja Kate Dore joins us today for PART TWO of our “Social Media Pro Tips” conversation. We talk about the digital tools available to independent artists. Kate is a social media consultant, and she also blogs at http://cashvilleskyline.com where she talks about becoming financially independent. Here is…

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SOCIAL MEDIA PRO TIPS WITH KATE DORE [EP. 112]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor John Peters and the Clean Comedy Conference. Social Media ninja Kate Dore joins us today to talk about the digital tools available to independent artists. Kate is a social media consultant, and she also blogs at http://cashvilleskyline.com where she talks about becoming financially independent. Here is just a snapshot…

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TAYLOR MASON CAN'T BE STOPPED [EP. 111]

This is episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Colin Street and the Clean Comedy Conference. Taylor Mason is a juggernaut of comedic activity. His shows are accessible to EVERYONE. He connects in a sly and subtle way with his audiences that have them coming back time and time again. I first worked with…

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DON'T WEAR SHORTS ON STAGE [EP. 110]

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Brina Morgan and the Clean Comedy Conference. Rob Durham, author of “Don’t Wear Shorts On Stage” joins us to day to discuss what to expect as you explore your first open mic nights and road gigs. I first met Rob when I lived in Columbus, OH. He…

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SUBMITTING TO COMEDY FESTIVALS [EP. 109]

Have you ever wondered about submitting to comedy festivals? Curious as to what your video should look like? How long it should be? What kind of website you should have to support the festival bookers search for more information? This episode is brought to you by Patreon Sponsor Greg Adams and the Clean Comedy Conference (CleanComedyConference.com). Matt Ward,…

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STARTING COMEDY LATE IN LIFE [EP. 108]

Today’s episode is brought to you by Patreon supporter Susan Sussman. Leaving a job as lawyer for State Farm Insurance would be unthinkable. For most people anyway. Fortunately for us, Rex Havens side-hustled as a comedian on weekends and nights for seven years until he was ready to make the jump. He started comedy late…

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LISTENER EMAIL QUESTIONS [EP. 107]

This week’s episode features answers to recently submitted listener email questions. And this episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Brent Allen. Among the listener email questions we tackle are: HOW CAN I BEST MANAGE AN EMAIL LIST? I hate to bother ya. But do you remember what episode you talked about email lists?…

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RESULTS FROM NEW BIT COMEDY CHALLENGE [EP. 106]

In episode 105,  NEW BIT COMEDY CHALLENGE John Branyan and I were both headed to the same conference (Christian Comedy Association). We were both slated to perform at the same showcase. So I challenged us both to try new material. At first, I thought we would just hold each other accountable to do the bits. Then, I upped…

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NEW BIT COMEDY CHALLENGE [EP. 105]

Last week you met John Branyan. He is the comic with an affinity for Shakespeare and the Three Little Pigs. After I hung up, I thought about a comedy challenge. John and I were both headed to the same conference that weekend (Christian Comedy Association). We were both slated to perform at the same showcase….

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JOHN BRANYAN - PIGS, KITES & COMEDY (EP. 104)

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Ray Price! Today I catch up with comedian, writer, blogger and illustrator John Branyan. John started comedy in 1990. He just wanted to go to a club and try it and move on. Kind of an early bucket list goal. However, the set went better than…

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NEW COMEDIAN QUESTIONS (EP. 103)

This episode is brought to you by Patreon sponsor Greg Smrdel. Aspiring comedians huddle up after a stand-up comedy writing class to ask a variety of questions about pursuing stand-up. From writing and performing to horrible road gigs – we cover a lot of ground! Questions include: Is there a line that you cannot cross in…

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TOUGH DECISIONS COMICS HAVE TO MAKE (EP. 102)

As you move along the path of becoming a professional comedian will encounter many crossroads. Places where decisions must be made. Points where you have to make a careful choice on how to proceed. These tough decisions comics have to make can go either way. Hopefully, they go in a way where you can sleep good at…

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SHOULD YOU QUIT COMEDY? (Ep. 101)

This podcast is brought to you by Patreon sponsors Ed Wiley  Bo Schuster and Peppi Garrett Should you quit comedy? Do you ever have the feeling that this thing is going nowhere? Do you feel like you are pouring time and resources into a bottomless pit? Does it seem like everything and everyone is working against you? Maybe…

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100 EPISODES OF THE SCHOOL OF LAUGHS PODCAST

We did it. You did it. I did it. It was done. What is IT? 100 episodes! Woo hoo! This episode of The School Of Laughs Podcast is brought to you by Chelle Baxter, Peter Margaritas, Sandi Joy Chadwick and John Charlton – thanks! It is crazy to think that a couple of years ago…

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099 DERRICK TENNANT (podcast)

At age 14, Derrick Tennant, was pursuing his dream for a career in sports when one evening in 1985 he laid down and did not wake up for three days. He had undergone what doctors would later term “random bleeding from point ‘x’ for an unknown reason”.  Paralyzed and in a coma, Derrick underwent brain surgery from…

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Patreon - A Way For You To Support The Podcast

Smell that cake baking? See those candles? Better call the fire department this party is about to get out of control! The podcast is about to hit 100 episodes and it’s time to celebrate! Over the past two years we have had the chance to hear the behind the scenes scoop from comics who have appeared…

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098 BILL FOLEY - LOVE ALWAYS WINS

Bill Foley is a walking miracle. I don’t know how else to put it. Earlier this year on February 11, 6 p.m. 30-year-old Mohamed Barry came into the Nazareth Restaurant in Columbus, OH while Bill was preparing to perform. Barry started swinging a machete and quickly had injured a couple seated near the door. Bill Foley sacrificed…

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097 MIKE HICKMAN - DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE AUDIENCE (podcast)

Christian comedian Mike Hickman joins me on the show today to discuss his comedy journey. Mike is a versatile performer who can entertain at a retirement home one day and a youth group the next. HIs comedy goes beyond just the stage. As an ambassador for Compassion International, he uses his platform to help children…

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096 JEFFREY JENA - 38 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE (podcast)

Jeffrey Jena started comedy in … 1978! Were you even born? Ha. I was just 10 years old eating fruit loops in my jammies when Jeffrey Jena first hit the stage. Thirteen years later I worked with him for the first time.  And now, some 18 years later, we catch up. Jeffrey is still performing at…

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095 LUIS RAMEY - DO WHAT WORKS (podcast)

With three Comedy Central specials, appearances on Live at Gotham, The Tonight Show, The View, VH1, MTV and becoming a finalist in Last Comic Standing, Louis Ramey has now set his sights on the globe. He performed on a 40 country world tour that took him to Mumbai, Hong Kong, London, Dubai and Johannesburg. His…

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094 MIKE JAMES #3rdPickComedy (podcast)

Former student Mike James drops by today to catch up. I met Mike James back in 2005 or so and he was starting to get his set together. Writing, tweaking and performing his material constantly has improved his consistency. Now, he is a full time funnyman traveling across the country doing the job he loves. We…

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093 STEPHEN BARGATZE - I HATE KIDS (podcast)

Stephen Bargatze joins us today. If that name sounds familiar it may be because you saw him in Las Vegas, caught him at Opryland, perhaps he visited your school or maybe because he is the father of Nate Bargatze. Regardless of whether you knew him before or not, you will love his generous and insightful interview….

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092 DAN SWARTWOUT - LET YOUR STYLE DEVELOP

Are you trying to emulate your favorite comedians? Have you already determined your comedic style before your third open mic? If so, you may be limiting yourself and shortchanging your potential. In this episode, Dan Swartwout (or “Swarty” as his friends call him) and I discuss how our influences are like training wheels. They help at…

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091 MAIL BAG & FIX-A-JOKE BONANZA (podcast)

This episode is all about YOU. That’s right. I opened the mail bag and found a bunch of great questions and some jokes that … well, you wanted fixed. Join me as we answer the following questions … Do you have any tips on writing every day? Specifically, is there a place or web site…

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090 MONTY MITCHELL, SNAKES, RED BULL AND ROAD TRIPS (podcast)

Monty Mitchell Wrangled Snakes Have you ever driven 6 hours (one way) to an open mic for a quick 5 minute set and then headed home as the sun was coming up? Do you chip away at your vacation benefits one hour a a time so you can pursue your calling? Monty Mitchell has! Monty…

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089 OVERCOMING ALCOHOL AND ANGER (podcast)

Have you ever struggled with alcohol, depression or meaningfulness in your pursuit of a comedy career? You’re  alone. Numerous comedians and entertainers get sidetracked by self-destructive behavior. Fortunately for us audiences everywhere, Jeff Allen was able to get his act together on and off the stage. This veteran comedian started in 1978 and weathered many…

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088 BEGINNING COMEDY QUESTIONS (podcast)

NEW AT COMEDY? YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING … Do you have beginning comedy questions about stand-up? Are you just dipping your toes in the waters of writing and performing? Today I am joined by three current writing students in this “after school special”. They each bring forth a slew of excellent questions. I am willing…

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087 ANTHONY MAZE MAGIC, MARINES & MORE (podcast)

Have you performed for birthday parties, marines, comedy club audiences and judges for America’s Got Talent? Have you ever swallowed a balloon (well, not during a border crossing)? Our guest today has, too! I talk with Anthony Maze about his magic/comedy combo performances and the opportunities he has taken advantage of lately. Based in San…

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086 TURN YOUR STAND-UP COMEDY INTO A SPEECH (podcast)

Have you ever thought that you have more to offer an audience than laughter? Being a comedian is perfectly admirable all by itself. No doubt. But do you have more to offer? Feel like you are missing out on your calling? Today, as I was catching up with former student Chris Cherry, one random question…

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085 GOING FULL TIME INTO STAND-UP COMEDY (podcast)

Have you ever dismissed the idea of going full time into stand-up comedy? Did you get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all? Today, Paulina Combow joins us to discuss how she broke down the full time goal into bite size pieces. With an outline, a plan and a deadline in place she is targeting…

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084 COMEDY PREMISE WRITING SESSION (podcast)

Have you ever had a few joke ideas collecting dust in your notebook? Former student and YouTube star Kate Spellman and Gavin Miller join me at the writing table to pitch a couple of joke ideas that need to see daylight. We all offer up two potential premises and decide on one each. Then we brainstorm on…

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083 LETS BREAK THE COMEDY RECORD - AGAIN!

Would you like to be part of a record setting group of comedians? Did you miss your chance last year? Now is the time to make plans for being part of the “greatest, dumbest thing” Chad Riden and D. J. Buckley have ever done – AGAIN. That’s right last year the “Broken Record Comedy Show”…

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BRIAN BATES - FIRST FULL YEAR OF COMEDY [EP. 082]

Want to hear how a first full year as a professional stand-up comedian unfolds? This is the podcast for you! Brian Bates visits to share what he learned. Brian, a former School Of Laughs student, left his full time job at a TV station where he worked for 20 years to pursue his dream. Among…

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081 2015 GOALS CHECK IN - SUCCESS? (podcast)

Have you thought about your goals for the upcoming year? Have you reflected on the past year and what you did (and didn’t) accomplish? Gavin Miller and I reflect on our past goals and goals for the future. Gavin’s plans were altered when he found out he will be a father in February 2016. This has…

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The Gift of Laughter

The year is winding down and thoughts begin to revolve around GIFTS. The ones you received and the ones you have returned. But have you thought about the one ultimate gift you can give others? Your gift as a performer (and it is a gift) can be so much more than an hour of trivial…

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080 IMPROV IS NO JOKE (podcast)

Peter Margaritas joins me today to talk about his journey from the business world into Improv comedy. The “Accidental Accountant” worked his way in (and out) of a few jobs before finding his way with improvisation. His first book, Improv Is No Joke, shares what he has learned when it comes to Improv and business. In the…

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079 JOHN CRIST HAS QUESTIONS (podcast)

John Crist started off as the announcement guy at his church. That eventually led to his first open mic night in 2009. It wasn’t long before Crist emerged onto the national comedy scene winning The Denver Improv’s Got Laughs Competition, The Loonees Comedy Competition, and also by appearing in the finals of the Comedy Works New Faces Contest. In this episode we talk about: Being home schooled The…

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078 BOOKING AGENCY INSIGHTS (podcast)

Tim Grable of “The Grable Group” generously allows me to pick his brain in this episode. I wanted to know how comedians and speakers can make it EASY for a booking agency to hire them. Tim’s background as a talent booker stretches back to his days at Taylor University, where he turned around their live…

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077 GARY JENKINS BRINGS THE LOVE (podcast)

This week I get to share with you a true entertainer. Comedy – check. Musician – Check. Customized programs – Check. Hosting and Emceeing – Check. Fat Elvis suit … double check. When I first got to Nashville in 2000, it seemed everywhere I went people were mentioning Gary. I was either the comedian they…

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076 MARKETING - A MUSIC BUSINESS TAKE (podcast)

David Hooper joins us to day to share ways comedians might market themselves based on what he know from the music business. In 2013 David released his book, “Six-Figure Musician – How to Sell More Music, Get More People to Your Shows, and Make More Money in the Music Business”. Hooper hosts Music Business Radio, a syndicated,…

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075 KEITH ALBERSTADT (podcast)

Ever wondered … “should I move to a bigger city for comedy?” Ever struggled with, “Should I go full time?” Keith Alberstadt joins us this week to discuss how he made the jump from an office job to a 24/7 comedy career. Keith makes his comedy relatable and approachable while delivering it in a confident…

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074 NATE BARGATZE (podcast)

Stand-Up Comedian Nate Bargatze is a busy man. His Comedy Central one hour special “Full Time Magic” was a huge success. And the CD went to number one on the Billboard Comedy charts – topping his first CD “Yelled At By A clown” which made it to number two. He makes time to join us…

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073 TOM MABE, COMEDY AND YOUTUBE (podcast)

Tom Mabe talks about his evolution from jingle writer to prankster, comedian to Youtube master. Tom has covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. The key? Drive. Relentless drive. We talk about: First realizing you can tell the same joke twice Hustling the road just to get stage time How hard…

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072 MIDWEST CLEAN COMEDY (podcast)

Have you ever thought about creating your own tour from the ground up? That’s exactly what Tim McClendon of MIDWEST CLEAN COMEDY has done. Starting out with a just a website, he now books clean comedy shows at multiple comedy clubs in the midwest … on a Saturday none the less! Along side of Tim…

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071 TRYING OUT NEW JOKES (podcast)

Have you had a hard time working in new material into your set? Do you fully intend to before the show and then either chicken out or get sidetracked and forget? You’ll never grow as a performer until you get comfortable trying out new jokes. You have to expect some of it to work and…

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070 PICKING A PRODUCER FOR YOUR CD (podcast)

Recording a studio CD for a musical comedian takes a lot of work. Transferring the energy of a live performance into a recorded track is just part of the battle. In this episode I interview Nashville Music Producer Nathan Meckel. Nathan is a bit of Renaissance man when it comes to recording. He can arrange,…

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069 FUNDING YOUR OWN DVD TAPING (podcast)

Are you planning on shooting a DVD of your show any time soon? Wonder what steps you’ll need to take to make it happen? How much to budget? Where to have it shot? This episode is an inside look into that process. Comedian Jonnie W. is gearing up for a taping on November 14th in…

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What’s Your Comedy About? (Guest Post)

(Pictured: Author of this post Paulina Combow and Cam after his first open mic) I’m a comedian. I’m also the oldest sister to a 9-year-old boy with Down syndrome. In comedy, we talk about our lives. We have a platform, no matter how tiny, to use as we please. You can use it to talk about your…

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068 BRIAN REGAN LIVE WAS AWESOME (podcast)

Comedy Central’s first ever LIVE stand-up comedy broadcast was a huge success. WHY? Because they turned the keys over to master comedian Brian Regan and he took us on a fun drive. Some of us he left off at “the next exit”, but for those who stayed on board it was awesome. CLICK TO LISTEN…

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067 WAYNE MANIGO - D.C. COMEDY WRITER’S GROUP (podcast)

Does your city or town have a weekly writer’s meeting. A place where everyone can freely offer up ideas for feedback? A group that exceeds 1600 members? Wayne Manigo joins us to discuss how he and Mandy Dalton created the Washington D.C. Comedy Writers Group. CLICK TO LISTEN Specifically, we talk about: Writing exercises to get…

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066 CROWD WORK TIPS and TRICKS (podcast)

CROWD WORK Watching a masterful comedian navigate crowd work is a beautiful thing. Like a hunter, they are one step ahead of their prey. Leading them here, baiting them there. The stand-up comedian is artfully creating a theatre in which the audience is keenly aware of the risks. When done competently, crowd work is a…

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065 CD, DVD or DIGITAL DOWNLOAD? (podcast)

Your stand-up comedy show is getting tight and you are ready to release a live product. Should you go with a CD, DVD, or DIGITAL DOWNLOAD? Creating a product can be overwhelming, especially the first one. But it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of options. Which is best for you? In this…

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064 ANDREW TARVIN (podcast)

Andrew Tarvin – Columbus to Norway Andrew Tarvin LOVES Improvisational Comedy. He started the 8th Floor Improv Group while attending THE Ohio State University in 2004. That group started in Stradley Hall is still together 11 years later. The names and faces may change, but the shows go on. After college, he took a calculated risk…

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063 TOP MISTAKES NEW COMEDIANS MAKE (podcast)

CLICK TO LISTEN When starting your comedy journey, there are hundreds of “first time” occurrences. Some you’ll breeze through and others will blow you away. No sweat. You learn as you go. Just don’t shoot yourself in the foot so many times that people see you hobbling towards them to make the same mistake again. No one…

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062 BOMBING ON COMEDY STAGE (podcast)

Have you ever bombed so bad that you would have preferred to have been stabbed? Have you ever been stabbed while bombing? Ok, not getting laughs is not the end of the world. But how do you deal with the bruised ego and lingering self-doubt? Today we talk specifically about WHY we bomb, and how to…

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061 LAST COMIC STANDING (podcast)

Last Comic Standing, the premier stand-up showcase contest, is back! The comics are as strong as ever. Now in it’s 9th season, the show had finally found it’s rhythm. No longer confined by the restaints of “living in a house” based reality tv, the show delivers more stand-up in prime time than ever before. CLICK…

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060 COMEDY & CONFIDENCE w/KAREN EDDINGTON

Our guest today will prove that you can either make excuses or make adjustments. You think it’s hard to find stage time where you live? Try getting up in northern Utah. You can’t find a place to do a show? Start your own comedy night. You bomb horribly at your first attempt? Walk it off and…

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059 TIMING OUT YOUR JOKES (podcast)

As comedians we can get pretty focused on how many Laughs Per Minute (LPM) our jokes are getting. But are you aware of how many words per minute (WPM) you speak? In this episode, we dig into a few ways you can eliminate 90% of the guesswork when estimating the time for a joke. CLICK…

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058 JIM GAFFIGAN - MORE THAN BACON (podcast)

The new Jim Gaffigan show on TV Land is off to a great start. The scenes are fast paced, jokes land with solid laughs, and the casting is great. And he is holding a snack in just about every scene. Based on his life as a stand-up comedian with a lot of kids … a…

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057 COMEDY GOALS CHECK UP (podcast)

We are just past the mid-year point and thought it would be a great time to take inventory of our goals from January first. What goals did you set for this year? Are you on track? If not, what changes are you making to get them back in line? CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW I…

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Feel Like An Outcast In Your Own Scene?

Feel Like An Outcast In Your Own Scene? Many aspiring comedians don’t feel welcomed in their own town. The most common complaints are: “I can’t get any spots.” “It’s like a good ol’ boys club.” “They ain’t letting nobody else in.” I hear ya. We’ve covered this topic a little bit in the past. (See:…

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056 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (podcast)

Going to your first comedy open mic? Welcome to the jungle, baby! In this episode we offer up 11 song titles that perfectly describe a comedy open mic night. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t all bad. But man, you do see a common thread unravelling if you attend a dozen or so. CLICK TO…

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055 SHOWCASE SET RESULTS (podcast)

In episode 052 we discussed strategies for picking your material for different types of showcase sets. The funniest? The most unique? The most jam packed set of jokes? Everyone approaches it differently. In this episode, we listen back to a showcase set and analyze what went right, wrong and what changes were made on the…

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054 OVERCOMING STAGE FRIGHT (podcast)

It’s been said the number one fear is public speaking. If that’s true, then speaking and being expected to be funny must take that notion and multiply it by 1000x. For some it’s simply a fear of looking stupid or saying something dumb. Hey, guess what – that’s comedy! For others, though, it’s an actual…

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053 WEB SITE TIPS FOR COMEDIANS (podcast)

Your website is the only online presence you totally control. As Michael Hyatt describes so accurately, it is your EMBASSY. Everything else, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., are outposts you should be using to drive people to your site. Are you? And when they arrive to your site … are you doing all you can to…

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052 SHOWCASE SET STRATEGY (podcast)

Nothing is more serious in standup comedy than a showcase night. Whether your showcase set is at a festival, for TV or simply to get booked by a club – you’ve got to be prepared. Putting together your set can drive you crazy. This podcast is all about picking the right material for the showcase set….

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051 GAVIN’S JOKE ON STAGE (podcast)

In episode 036 “Live Comedy Writing Session – Idea to Premise” I asked Gavin Miller (brand new aspiring comedian and our excellent producer) to bring in a few joke ideas to the School Of Laughs headquarters. He did. We took three joke ideas and selected one for him to write. The premise, in essence, is…

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050 WRITE NOW - RIGHT NOW (podcast)

Coming up with new material can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be. When writer’s block rears its ugly head, you need to have a plan in place and keep moving forward. No doubt, the pressure to be funny can sometimes prevent you from even writing down an idea. That is a mistake. Write…

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049 PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT INSIGHT (podcast)

Knowing how to approach different people based on their personality type can be a HUGE factor in whether you get your message across. Randy Miller of MOVE ON TODAY 2 specializes in identifying personality traits and how to interact with people based on them. Check out this episode! When it comes to being a comedian,…

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048 SOUNDEXCHANGE MAY HAVE MONEY FOR YOU! (podcast)

A former student of mine, and the executive director of the Nashville Film Institute Ted Crockett contacted me about appearing on a panel at the Nashville Film Institute’s “Film Festival”. I was interested. When he told me the panel was to discuss royalties and rights ownerships for comedians and performers – I was invested. When he…

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047 BOB HOPE AND BEYOND (podcast)

Martha Bolton is a joke-writing machine! As a staff writer for Bob Hope for over fifteen years, Martha developed the comedic muscles to crank out an incredible amount of comedy material. Many others including Phyllis Diller, have hired Martha to produce comedy gold. Check out this episode! In this interview, Martha walks us through the…

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3 Tips For Becoming a Stronger Comedian

by Rik Roberts | SchoolOfLaughs.com Have you got your act nice and tight and “down to the breath” rehearsed? Are you getting the laughs exactly where you expect to get them? Great. Record the set, release a DVD and get over it. Whether you are a full time comedian or a true beginner, you must…

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046 SALES STRATEGIES FOR COMICS (podcast)

Like it or not, part of the job of a comedian is “sales”. You are constantly selling your act, selling your professionalism, selling yourself to bookers, owners, managers, agents and audiences. If you can’t spend some time to develop that skill, you will struggle. It’s plain, and simple. Check out this episode! Whether you represent…

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Do That New Joke Already!

By Rik Roberts | www.SchoolOfLaughs.com How many jokes have you written but not got around to performing? Be honest. Is it more than you would like to admit? What are you waiting for? You can’t make something better until you make it first. In other words, the new and improved version will always be on…

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045 COMEDIANS & PRESIDENTS (podcast)

With the talk of presidential candidates in the air here in the United States, I got to thinking about what I want in a leader. Oddly enough, many traits we identified are also traits of great comedians. Candidates are definitely characters. Comedians are as well. But what are the common links that cross over from…

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044 S.T.R.E.T.C.H. PUSH YOURSELF (podcast)

You may feel like you are making huge strides in your comedy career, but are you? Most performers find a comfortable little comedy “safe place” and never wander beyond it. We all know comics who could be SO MUCH BETTER. Maybe, that comic is yourself. This episode gives more than 23 actionable tips you can…

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043 COMEDY CONTESTS - GOOD, BAD & UGLY (podcast)

No doubt about it, at some point in your comedy journey you will be invited to – or thrown in the middle of – a comedy contest. In response to a listener question (thanks Brent!) we spend this episode weighing the pros and cons of participating in comedy competitions. Check out this episode! My first…

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042 COMEDY WRITING SESSION FOLLOW UP (podcast)

Check out this episode! In episode 36 “Live Comedy Writing Session” our producer (and aspiring comedian) Gavin Miller brought in a few concepts to brainstorm. After he pitched a few ideas we decided to work on one that was inspired by a friend of his. In a nutshell, the friend wanted to give homeless people…

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041 PRODUCING YOUR OWN SHOWS - PAULINA COMBOW (podcast)

Former student Paulina Combow stops by the studios to inspire and inform us of her progress. Paulina attended college in a small town in Western, KY where she learned Mass Communications. After graduating, she felt a “comedy internal clock” ticking and decided to berth that comedy baby. She started in the Fall of 2011 and…

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040 KEEPING A COMEDY SCORECARD (podcast)

A common question I hear is “what do I do if I feel my comedy has leveled off, or plateaued?” Check out this episode! It’s a great, insightful question that infers both frustration and aspiration. To help relieve the first and achieve the second, we’ve put together a podcast and a “scorecard” to help you…

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039 PERFECT COMEDY CLUB SET-UP (podcast)

Okay, no doubt there is room to disagree on this topic. Everyone has the things they like in a club – and things they hate. This episode is chock full of what I would LOVE to see in a comedy club set-up. From the floors to the ceiling, the sound and lights, to the stage…

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038 LAUGHFEST - ROBERT MAC - INTERVIEW (podcast)

Check out this episode! This week, in honor of LaughFest you get two bonus interviews. Last year I was honored to perform in the clean comedy showcase during the festival. It was a blast and I got to work with several great comedians. You’ve already heard the interviews with Andy Hendrickson, Pat McGann, and James P. Connolly. This…

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037 LAUGHFEST - TONY DEYO - INTERVIEW (podcast)

Check out this episode! This week, in honor of LaughFest you get two bonus interviews. Last year I was honored to perform in the clean comedy showcase during the festival. It was a blast and I got to work with several great comedians. You’ve already heard the interviews with Andy Hendrickson, Pat McGann, and James…

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036 LIVE COMEDY WRITING SESSION - IDEA TO PREMISE (podcast)

You asked for it – you got it. One frequent request from listeners is to have an episode 100% focussed on writing. So, I challenged Gavin to come in with a handful of ideas he wanted to turn into jokes. Together, we go over his ideas, pick one and spend the episode exploring various angles…

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035 GOING FULL TIME INTO COMEDY - JONNIE W. (podcast)

Once in a generation, someone comes along with the power and eloquence to inspire us all. Former School Of Laughs student Jonnie W. will entertain us while we wait for that person. Check out this episode! We talk to Jonnie W. about: How he made the transition to comedy from his day job Adding shows…

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8 Tips For What To Wear On Stage

by Rik Roberts | www.SchoolOfLaughs.com You spend a lot of time working on your act, networking, and beefing up your web presence. Have you spent any time thinking about what you wear onstage? It is easy to forget that part of the equation. Don’t believe me? Attend any comedy show and most likely you’ll see one or more…

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034 SHOWS THAT MAKE YOU STRONGER (podcast)

It takes a lot of stand-up comedy shows – both good and bad – to help you become a true professional. How you handle odd circumstances will separate you from the amateurs. You will have to experience these firsthand in order to learn from them. So enjoy them and be ready to learn on the fly…

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033 MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH STAND-UP COMEDY (podcast)

Why do I love stand-up comedy? Let me count the ways! Check out this episode! If you enjoy this PODCAST please subscribe in iTunes , or  STITCHER and leave a comment and ranking. In this episode we talk about nine attractive characteristics of stand-up. Not that the other art forms aren’t pretty in their own way. But if…

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Get Your Bookings Back On Track

What To Do When Your Calendar Is Wide Open by Rik Roberts | School Of Laughs This post is about taking action when there seems to be nothing going on in your career. Whether you are a full time or aspiring performer, I hope this gives you a few ideas to get your bookings back on track….

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032 WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT - JOIN US! (podcast)

The current Guinness World Record for “Longest Stand-Up Comedy Show – Multiple Comedians” is 80 hours and was achieved by comedians at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood December 6-9, 2010. That show included 170 different acts by 150 comedians. Would you like to be part of history?  Help us break this Guinness World record!   Check out this…

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Are You Suited for Stand-Up Comedy?

  You have been thinking about trying stand-up comedy for awhile. Your friends all say you should try it. In conversations with strangers you easily get laughs. People gravitate towards you at parties. You fire off comebacks and retorts like a Gatling gun. In short, you think you have what it takes. Maybe, you even…

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031 JOKE THIEVES - STOLEN LAUGHTER (podcast)

Joke thieves are everywhere. Just when you least expect it, your favorite routine that you’ve worked years to perfect is stolen. And it’s on TV nonetheless! What do you do? Drop the joke? Confront the thief? Check out this episode! As long as there have been stories, there have also been “raconteurs” who have borrowed…

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This Post is Not About The New England Patriots

This Post Is Not About The New England Patriots So, I really didn’t want to write anything related to the recent accusations against The New England Patriots. NFL investigators found 11 of 12 footballs were under-inflated in a 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in he AFC Championship game. The story seemed to have run…

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030 FINDING YOUR ULTIMATE AUDIENCE (podcast)

030 Finding Your Ultimate Audience (podcast) Check out this episode! At some point you will discover that your jokes appeal to a certain type of audience. Hopefully, that group will be full of people you enjoy performing for. When this happens, you have found your “Ultimate Audience”. Early on, I don’t want you to get…

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029 GOING FULL TIME INTO COMEDY - BRIAN BATES (podcast)

Going full time into comedy can be intimidating. Leaving the comfort of a job with benefits for a life on the road is a dream for some folks. For others, it is a nightmare. Former School Of Laughs student Brian Bates flipped the switch this past month after twenty years at a TV station job…

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Are you Being Yourself On Stage?

by Rik Roberts | SchoolOfLaugh.com It’s funny looking back at when I first started. I thought I knew exactly who I wanted to be on stage. From recent discussions, it turns out many other comics felt the same way. They thought they knew what style they wanted to have on stage, what type of material they would get into, etc.,…

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028 CREATING A STAND-UP COMEDY SET THAT FLOWS (podcast)

Check out this episode! There is a bit of a science to creating a stand-up comedy set that flows. It takes a little planning to put together a show that starts quick, builds momentum, and finishes with a closer that rocks the room. A pile of great jokes performed in a haphazard order will frustrate…

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Troubleshooting A Slow Start Onstage

By Rik Roberts | www.SchoolofLaughs.com At some point, every new comedian will have a show that just gets off to a sluggish start. The laughs aren’t coming, the crowd looks confused, and something seems amiss. The comedian can blame the crowd, shrug it off and forget about it. Or, if the set was recorded, they…

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027 YEAR IN REVIEW - 2015 PREVIEW (podcast)

We launched July 1st 2014 and it has been a tremendous journey. Getting to know the listeners and readers of the School Of Laughs podcast and blog has been a really, really cool thing. From connecting with folks in over 49 countries, to meeting many new comics through the site – Gavin and I have…

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What Is Holding You Back?

  What Is Holding You Back? by Rik Roberts (www.SchoolOfLaughs.com)   Is your comedy career better than it was one year ago? Are you where you thought you would be? Take a minute and think before you answer. Wait. One … more … second. Okay. If you immediately answered YES – congratulations! You are moving towards your goals and making…

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026 JEFF CALDWELL INTERVIEW (podcast)

Six time Letterman veteran Jeff Caldwell is a prime example of what a comedian should be. He’s smart, insightful, observational, opinionated, and clever. On top of that, he’s clean (unless a brawl is about to break out). We talk about: His take on David Letterman retiring Process for working in new material His comedy “mentors”…

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025 MUST HAVE TRAVEL APPS FOR COMEDIANS (podcast)

TRAVEL APPS FOR COMEDIANS Every road comic knows the frustration of leaving town with hours to spare only to find themselves stuck in traffic, construction or an airport for a rediculous amount of time. On the road, time is your enemy and technology is your friend. We discuss some of our favorite travel apps. We also…

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Should A Host Do Crowd Work?

by Rik Roberts (www.SchoolOfLaughs.com) This question was asked as a follow up to the post on hosting tips last week. As with nearly every comedy topic the short answer is, “find what works best for you by experimenting and see how it goes.” So that’s one answer. More specifically, I feel the host (or as…

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024 UNWRITTEN RULES OF COMEDY (podcast)

Be funny. That’s really the only rule in stand-up comedy, right? It is a biggie, and it trumps everything. The funnier you are the more you can get away with, no doubt. But there are countless unwritten rules of comedy. Most of these unspoken expectations are unsaid because only an idiot would have to be…

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How to Emcee a Comedy Show

HOW TO EMCEE A COMEDY SHOW by Rik Roberts (www.SchoolOfLaughs.com) Performing stand-up comedy is one of the most exhilarating jobs on the planet. However, the job of the emcee (or host, or as they say across the pond “compere”) is often overlooked. I am here to tell you that having a great host can make…

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023 TRAITS OF THE COMEDY GREATS (podcast)

Great comedians come in all shapes and sizes. And they all excel in one or more of these “traits of the comedy greats.” Some combine three or more traits, while others get by with just one or two. What traits are we talking about? Brilliant Material Ability to connect with an audience Perseverance Unique Delivery Sharp Comic…

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022 HOW MUCH SHOULD I CHARGE? (podcast)

Understanding your value is the only way to be confident in charging a “full fee” for your show. In the comedy clubs, you have very little (if any) leverage. You are told what they have to pay and you take it or leave it. Check out this episode! If you are pursuing corporate, fund raiser,…

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How To Start Your Own Comedy Show – For New Comics

How To Start Your Own Comedy Show – For New Comics by Rik Roberts (www.SchoolOfLaughs.com) Are you in the middle of nowhere? Are you miles from a city with a comedy night, let alone a comedy club? Do you want to start putting shows together to get some stage time? You are not alone, even though…

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021 WRITING COMEDY FOR TV & RADIO (podcast)

Have you ever wondered how to get into writing comedy for TV, Radio or other comedians? Comedy writer Scott Dunn has written for such television shows as Foxworthy’s Big Night Out, The CMT Music Awards, The Larry “The Cable Guy” Christmas Special, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and The Dove Awards. Scott is…

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Flipping A Tough Crowd

3 TIPS ON GETTING A SHOW BACK ON TRACK – Rik Roberts | www.SchoolOfLaughs.com Every performer will have to deal with a “tough” crowd from time to time. It’s part of the job, part of the learning curve, and part of the fun. Let’s dig into how you can dig out of a tough audience. I’m…

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020 DEFINING YOUR COMEDY GOALS (podcast)

Check out this episode! Defining your goals is extremely important in any self-driven profession. In stand-up comedy, defining your comedy goals will set you apart from a large mass of aimless souls. Goals in and of themselves won’t make you funnier than anyone else. But they should make you funnier than you are now if you…

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Working In New Comedy Material On Stage

How often should I be working in new comedy material on stage? by Rik Roberts (www.SchoolOfLaughs.com) This is a GREAT question that I received twice last week. It came from both an established feature act, and a brand new aspiring comedian. As you might expect, there is no “one size fits all” answer. Some will…

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019 MEMORIZING YOUR JOKES (podcast)

Do you struggle with memorizing your jokes? Have you ever had problems with your voice during a show? What are the pros and cons of using props or musical instruments on stage? In this “after school special” recorded with students from the writing class in Nashville, we discuss several techniques to help you tie your jokes…

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Comedian?

  It is extremely exciting to get on stage your first time. Your nerves are rattling. Your senses heighten. The unknown lies ahead. You take the mic … and hear the laughs. The wonderful laughs of a room full of strangers agreeing with what you find funny. It feels validating. Even more, it’s addicting. You can’t wait…

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018 TIME TO WRITE JOKES (podcast)

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Pursuing The Corporate Comedy Market - Part Two

Last week we identified a few questions to ask yourself before you think about pursuing the corporate comedy market. Including, Can I be dependable, professional and flexible? Can I put the needs of the client ahead of my desires for a laugh? Am I willing to dress sharp? Do I have a show that is not…

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017 PERFORMING IN NYC - JOHN GARRETT INTERVIEW (podcast)

  Comedian John Garrett had enough with his day job and saw an opportunity to pursue comedy full time. So, he took a few legal pads from the supply closet and started performing in NYC. Since his arrival, he’s sharpened his wit, broadened his options and become one exceptionally funny guy. Check out this episode! We talk…

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Pursuing The Corporate Comedy Market - Part One

So you’ve been in the comedy clubs for a while. But, you keep hearing about all the good money comics can make when they book a “corporate” gig. Pursuing the corporate comedy market is worthwhile. Being fed steak, treated professionally, and getting paid as much for one show as you do for a whole week…

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016 AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL (podcast)

This comedy campfire style episode was recorded after a live stand-up comedy class in Nashville, comedy students ask great questions including:  Where do you find up and coming comedians on the web? How do I come up with a stage name? What do you do when you have a “down day” to get into the…

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015 HOW DO I GET PAID TO DO COMEDY? (podcast)

Now that you rule the open mic scene, you may be wondering, “How do I get paid to do comedy?” Every club is a little different, but we discuss the most common process for getting bumped up from the open mic treadmill to a paid emcee week at the comedy club. Check out this episode!…

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014 PAID WORK AT A COMEDY CLUB - AM I READY? (podcast)

IN THIS EPISODE… Ever wonder how to get paid work at a comedy club? Before you burn your first impression, here are a few questions you should ask yourself. It’s far better to be over prepared than barely there. Listen and then answer these questions honestly: 1) Is there a market for my comedy? 2) How many minutes…

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How To Get Booked At A Comedy Club - Part Three

This week we will address how to get booked at a comedy club other than your hometown venue. If that out of town club is close enough, you should definitely make an effort to go through their open mics and repeat the process as if it was your hometown venue. (Last week, we talked about…

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013 COMEDY CAREER-HOME LIFE BALANCE, FORGET ABOUT IT!

Balancing a family and a developing comedy career can be tricky. No worries. A perfectly balanced life is pretty boring. In this episode, we talk about ways pursue your dreams and keep things relatively even keel. Specifically you’ll discover tips on: Aligning your priorities, batching your work, making sacrifices, getting the kids and spouse on board,…

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How To Get Booked At A Comedy Club - Part Two

This week, you’ll learn the most common approach clubs take when bumping a performer up from open mic to emcee. In essence, how to get booked at a comedy club. Last week, we talked about taking an inventory of your skills to see if you are ready to try to get PAID work at a…

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012 ASK THIS, NOT THIS. BETTER (NOT BITTER) QUESTIONS (podcast)

Check out this episode! Are you distracted and frustrated by the success of other comedians? In this episode we talk about how you can change your mindset from bitterness to betterment.  It all starts by reframing a few thoughts. You’ll find this podcast useful if you have ever asked any (or all) of the following questions:…

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How To Get Booked At A Comedy Club - Part One

Performing comedy for the sheer fun of it is great. Bringing laughter to any group is a noble cause. But after awhile, if you have an act that is dependable, consistent and marketable – it’s time to make a dime. The first step is an honest reality check to see where you are with your…

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011 ANDY HENDRICKSON INTERVIEW (podcast)

Check out this episode! Comedian Andy Hendrickson started out by taking a comedy class and kept the pedal to the metal all the way up to his appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman. Andy is a smart, clever comic with a laser focused delivery on stage. We discuss the sacrifices you make to…

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Kid Comedians? Yes ... You better get started!

Okay – if learning Stand-Up Comedy is on your bucket list … you better get started today! There is a fresh batch of kid comedians and they want your stage time! Below is a letter I recently received from a third grader. My reply is posted below the letter. I hope you enjoy … and…

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010 COMEDY CONTRACTS - NO JOKING AROUND (podcast)

Contracts for independent performers, comedians and bands are no joking matter. In this episode we address the key components of a performer-based contract for shows you book outside of the comedy club. Specifically, we talk about how to draft a contract that has YOUR best interest in mind. We cover: Refundable and non-refundable deposits, Who…

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A Comedian's Website Review

Updating A Comedian’s Website by Rik Roberts This week’s blog is a little different. Comedian Peter Wolf wondered if I could take a quick look at his web site and give him some ideas for updating it. I discovered: better ways to place Peter’s contact info a few video tweaks that should be made ASAP a…

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009 INTROS, CLOTHES & BIO NO-NO'S (podcast)

First impressions are key in any business. In show business, how you are introduced, what you look like, and how you promote yourself is crucial. Listener questions addressed in this episode include: What is your take on appearances, outfit, clothing, etc., How does it affect the audience perception of you in relation to your material? How do…

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Networking Through Associations Is A Necessity

I’ll be honest, my first few years of performing comedy full time was like an extended vacation. I had very few responsibilities. I got to travel and spend extended time sleeping in and chilling out by the pool. I was twenty-three and ecstatic that I wasn’t trapped in a cubicle and working for “The Man”….

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008 WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY (podcast)

Check out this episode! Rik gives a few tips on what to ask the people who book you for comedy shows. And he shares a couple of brief stories about working with Bobcat Goldthwait, Danny Bonnaducce and the Rainer Twins. Listener questions are answered, including: “What things would I have done differently early on? “What questions should…

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Cracking The Comedy Clique

CRACKING THE COMEDY CLIQUE Becoming Part Of Your Local Scene by Rik Roberts / www.SchoolOfLaughs.com Beginning a career in comedy can be pretty intimidating (to say the least). You head out to the local pub or club and find yourself a stranger in a strange land. It’s almost like trying to find your way around in…

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007 THREE BIG STAND-UP COMEDY LIES (podcast)

Check out this episode! Keep your stand-up comedy career on track by avoiding the three lies that many comics believe to be true. In this episode, Rik Roberts and Gavin Miller talk about a few myths that can become excuses for aspiring stand-up comedians. Rik also discusses in detail how to work S.M.A.R.T. by evaluating your…

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How to Write a Joke - Step Three

This is the third part of the series on how to write a joke. We know the first part of a joke is a set-up. And the second element is a punch line. The third element of a joke is a tag line. This is any laugh line after the original punch line. Tags are…

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006 JAMES P. CONNOLLY INTERVIEW (podcast)

Comedian JAMES P. CONNOLLY has appeared on Comedy Central & HBO, is a regular on the Bob & Tom Show and is one of the most played comics on Sirius XM radio. We talk about finding office space, creating writing habits and dominating the alpha male in the audience. James is a multi dimensional performer…

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How to Write a Joke: Step Two

This is the second in a three part series on how to write a joke. For part one click here. When constructing a joke the most crucial element is a punch line. This is the first line after the premise that generates a laugh. It’s not a joke if there is no punch line. The…

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005 GET PLAYED ON SIRIUS-XM & PANDORA (podcast)

Rik answers questions about SiriusXm, turning conversations into stage material and avoiding being a comedy clone. After a recent writing class in Nashville we gather around the microphone as if it were a campfire. In this episode Gavin (producer and aspiring comedian) discusses his first open mic appearance and what he learned from the experience….

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How to Write a Joke ... Step One

by RIK ROBERTS The most overlooked element of a joke is the premise. Way too often comics are in a hurry to get to the punch line and don’t spend enough time creating a great starting point. I believe there are FOUR key qualifiers to creating a great premise. Look at your jokes and see if…

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004 PAT McGANN INTERVIEW (podcast)

In this episode Rik sits down with Chicago comedian Pat McGann. Pat went from selling non-woven polypropylene two-color bags to selling himself as a comedian to clubs and corporate events.   Extended stretches as the house emcee for Zanies in Chicago taught him work the crowd and trust his gut. Now with a Letterman appearance…

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003 Increase Productivity and Relationships with Evernote (podcast)

http://schooloflaughs.libsyn.com/003-increase-productivity-and-relationships-with-evernote-podcast Are you keeping track of your jokes in a purposeful and consistent way? Do you remember the faces you meet at the gigs you play? Rik Roberts & producer Gavin Miller discuss the amazingly simple features inside this killer free app. Also on this episode we talk about comedy trends and how to make sure you…

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002 12 Proven Tips New Comedians Can't Afford To Ignore (podcast)

Producer Gavin Miller gathered questions from a club full of aspiring comics just like yourself. When the dust settled we came up with a bunch of really specific tips to help you understand and grow your comedy career. Below is a brief list of the topics developed just for you. Enjoy! The question you need…

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001 Welcome to the School Of Laughs (podcast)

Episode 1 – Let’s Get Started This podcast is 100% geared toward the  aspiring comedian, part time pro, or any speaker who wants to be funnier on the platform. Our mission is to provide honest, insightful information. I’ll share what has and hasn’t worked over my 23+ years in the comedy business. When I get…

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Ask This - Not This. Food For Thought For Hungry Comics

Any time I become frustrated in my comedy journey I find that I am asking myself the wrong questions. This in turn leads to wrong answers and more frustration. Below is a list of both questions and should help you in correcting the course anytime you find yourself adrift. Ask this: What makes that comic…

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Let Your Comedy Be Your Guide

As an aspiring comedian you have plenty of goals floating around your mind. Fame and fortune are typically the top two but I can tell you from my perspective the greatest job perks are just beyond the horizon. One of the absolute best perks of performing comedy is seeing our great country. When I first…

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