The scintillating life of Creative Director/ Variety Entertainer, Christian Fitzharris, and his never ending voyage to do everything in the world. ( at a respectful pace... of course)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Here's a simple exercise if you're a comedian...

Here's a simple exercise if you're a comedian. In addition to preparing your material for your upcoming Open Mic or other performance. Ask yourself how you want to be seen on stage. Not just as being funny, but what impression do you want your physical appearance and your onstage habits want to leave with the audience members? Before I went onstage for my last comedy club performance I asked myself,"What do I want to look like onstage?" Do I want to be the comedian who stands solid at the mic? Do I want to pointedly wander connecting with the audience? Most performers know to try to make eye contact with every member of the audience, but some do not know this. This builds rapport and helps bring the audience members into your world. In my early twenties I wanted to come off as chaotic and brilliant like an early Robin Williams. But being chaotic and "brilliant" and being just chaotic is a super slim line barely visible to the human eye. After doing 9 to 10 two and a half hour shows per week with two thousand people per show for a diverse audience with Cirque du Soleil, I realized that CONSISTENCY IS A MOTHER. And more than "freshness" or "edgy improvisation" consistency will win every time. You can still improvise and make it fresh, but hitting the dependable jokes you improvised a year ago and honed razor sharp will kill every time. What did I say to myself before going to do regular topical stand up after fifteen years? I said, "Christian, don't say, "um","huh","I forgot what was next" or read off a piece of paper. Any statement that should be internal monologue comes off as insecurity and is projecting to the audience that you are an AMATEUR! I also reminded myself not to pace back and forth, wander aimlessly, or do any of those old personal "eccentricities" which project to an audience you are out of control of your material. I am happy to say (after reviewing the video I shot of myself) that I did not do any of these things, and I was credited for being funny AND professional. These are not secrets! They are obvious choices that we must look at and adapt to if we want to be considered "professional" and "practiced" as comedians. I didn't over rehearse my act. I outlined the first 3 minutes and hoped the energy from the crowd would lead me. And it did! (True, I'm an improvisor)but...these are time honored techniques and observations that I will measure myself against again and again. Have at it!