Finding Your Voice Before Finding the Funny

22 Feb

I bombed the hardest I have ever bombed at an open mic yesterday. Even the crickets were silent. This was the sequence of my set:

My opening joke.

Silence.

Next joke.

Silence.

Next joke.

Silence.

I said this: “I don’t like when comedians say that’s a new joke or i’m still working on that one. That’s a cop out. Be a man. Accept the Silence. “

Silence.

More of the same.

Ending line: “Well fuck me. I’m Harris Alterman and I’m on Pinterest.”

Here’s my point. I got no laughs, but I was talking about things I cared about. Not things I’m interested in. Things I really do care about. Sure I could probably tell some jokey jokes and get a few laughs, but how does that help me grow? I don’t want to tell jokes that sound like they could be told by 1,000 different comics. I want to tell jokes that only sound right coming out of my mouth. Even if they suck for now.

I believe it’s a faster track in comedy to focus on finding your voice before you focus on being funny. You can be pretty funny for 15 years and then find your voice or you can be horrendous for 7 years and then find your voice. I’m planning on doing the latter. Find your voice first and the funny will follow. I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, but I’m sticking to it.

harrisstandup1

8 Responses to “Finding Your Voice Before Finding the Funny”

  1. FreeTheMom February 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Dude, you look like my brother! But I think everybody looks like my brother.

    Good luck. Keep pluggin’.

  2. R (@rupikaur_) February 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    this was entertaining and enlightening. They musta laughed at the pinterest one…no?!

  3. Neil Young February 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Keep on rocking in the free world

  4. Patrick F February 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    They didn’t laugh when you told them you were on pinterest?

  5. cody greenlee February 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Ive listened to alot of these On Comedy specials with titans of the industry and they say your pretty much doing it backwards. http://laughstore.stores.yahoo.net/oncomedy.html focus on being funny and your voice will come naturally.

    • harrisalterman February 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

      This is what I love about comedy. There is never ONE way to do it. Yes many of the giants in the industry do it the way you mentioned, My way may be wrong. My way made lead to my demise. But I’m going to try it anyway. Try something different ya know?

  6. Jon February 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Remember what Louis CK did, he spend 15 years doing shit before he turned to life-driven content. I’m not saying you should do that but is it possible what your saying truly isn’t that funny? You may be doing what feels right but have yet to hone your skills at working the crowd or working the wording/timing/delivery. Any good comedian will tell you all of those things play a roll in the final product. Its also possible the crowd sucked too. Do me a favor, post your set or just forward me your jokes from that night and if you want my advice I’d be happy to give it. Keep being stronger than your fear.

    giannischlong@gmail.com

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