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Free, Laughter-Guaranteed, Comedy Routines, Advice, For Insecure Comedians

Updated on March 26, 2016
This comedian is "dying a slow death" on stage due to his material not being funny.
This comedian is "dying a slow death" on stage due to his material not being funny. | Source
Brian Regan
Brian Regan | Source

What about comedians?

The photos you see on this hub are mostly of famous comedians. Some are still with us and some are not. But even the ones who have gone on to their reward have left us with some infallible legacies of "those who brought us needed-laughter and helped to lighten our loads."

It can be easily thought that truly gifted comedians are special. If you stop right now, sit down, relax, and think about my statement, you will agree. I could have used "amazing," "thrilling," or "fantastic," to describe comedians, a needed group of individuals in our society, but the word "special," sufficed.

Besides my long-time dream of working at an FM radio station on the night shift playing "real" rock music, I have also dreamed of being a comedian. Not just a so, so funny comedian, but a comedian in the league of Jerry Lewis, Red Skelton, and my favorite, Brian Regan.

Lucille Ball  July 22 1934.
Lucille Ball July 22 1934. | Source
 Super-funny, Phyllis Diller  Sept 7 1961.
Super-funny, Phyllis Diller Sept 7 1961. | Source
I loved Rodney Dangerfield. This photo was shot  June 18, 1972.
I loved Rodney Dangerfield. This photo was shot June 18, 1972. | Source

Which of the ABOVE comedians is the funniest?

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Being a comedian is a lot to consider

But I know within my heart that not everyone can be a comedian. My theory is this: Two people who are seeking a career as a comedian can tell the same joke, but only one will get the laughs. Why? Here are some reasons that I think only a select-few ever succeed as comedians.

  • Gifted comedians seldom resort to using their eyes, hands, or body movements to get laughs.
  • Gifted comedians can calmly tell a funny story or joke and have the gift of timing down so good, that even if they do not get an uproar of laughter, that pause is often funny. (e.g. the late Johnny Carson).
  • Gifted comedians have the ability to hide their personal problems and even if they are physically ill, you will never know it while they are performing.
  • Gifted comedians knew going in that being a successful comedian is tough work. Not a few minutes to relax on stage and get a check. Comedians who love comedy know that being a gifted comedian takes time to hone their craft and with patience and preserverance, they will make it big one day.

Now with these reasons in mind, I want to do something for those comedians who start out good, but falter by the wayside due to a rough crowd or maybe a loud-mouth heckler who ruined their act. If you have never stood up there in the spotlight talking to a packed house, it can be a very frightening experience.

So to help these faltering comedians, I am presenting these . . .

Free, Laughter-Guaranteed, Comedy Routines, Advice, For Insecure Comedians

Superstar comedians, Ben Stiller and  Janeane Garofalo.
Superstar comedians, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo. | Source

Who is Ben Stiller's dad?

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Before we go, read this free information

Before I begin, here are my "A, B, C's" of being a good stand-up comedian:

A. Places to Perform - - the market is wide-open, and mostly free. A comedian with a promising career can perform in shopping malls, flea markets, public gatherings, political rallies, to test their material and fine-tune their act. Even if you do not cause people to roll in the aisles, you will get your name out there and that is half the work--being known by the public.

B. Materials To Use - - remember, it's your career, so make the material yours from your own creative inspiration. Do not steal or copy some other comedian's material. It is not only low, but highly-unethical. You do not want to offend those comedians in the business who have climbed the ladder of success and are now producing, promoting, and directing other comedians' careers as well as the films they are producing.

  1. Slap-stick, fruits and vegetables and the such are not required. Besides, Vaudeville is only a fond memory and the likes of Gallager are nowhere to be found.
  2. Do not fall into that "Social Trap" by allowing someone who has tasted a few good rounds of laughter tell you that you NEED to include profanities and stories to downgrade women to be a successful comedian. (e.g. Andy Andrews, once a clean comedian went on to author several best-selling books and have a speaking tour that went nationwide plus being on PBS for many months).

C. Tools at Your Disposal - - so what if you are not a comedy writer. You can jot down casual observances you have in your daily life. And that area is wide and long also. A funny routine may be birthed from some directions on a tube of Preparation H. (this product is not to be taken orally). That is funny. But you have to present your material at your own pace. No one is asking you to set a new land record at being funny.

Eddie Murphy in one of his stand-up routines, April 1, 1985.
Eddie Murphy in one of his stand-up routines, April 1, 1985. | Source
This lovely girl is comedian, Caroline Rhea.
This lovely girl is comedian, Caroline Rhea. | Source

Young comics, this is for your good

Things That New Comics Should Never Do . . .

  • "Rambling Fever" - - is not just a Country Music standard written and performed by Merle Haggard, but a solid piece of advice for upcoming comedians. The rule is: Never ramble on and on about common subjects--home, job, wife, kids, "if" you are not receiving any laughs. Have a "Plan B," in case this happens. Just "pull the plug" on the rambling and move on. "Ramblin' Fever" had happened to the best. So do not let it happen to you.

  • "What's Your Sign?" - - this tip is for semi-famous comedians. Never openly-flirt with a pretty girl close to your stage. Wait until you "hit it big," and have your own HBO special or Comedy Central mini-concert. Then you can flirt as much as you like.
  • "Race and Comedy" - - talk about a verbal "landmine," racial terms are just that. Landmines that if you step on one, your career is fractured and no promoter will sign you. (e.g. Michael "Kramer" Richards).
  • "Love Me Some Suds" - - do not try to emulate comedy star, Ron White, who insists on having a Scotch on ice and either a cigar or cigarette with him as he performs. White has practiced this so much that he can somehow get away with it, but you are NOT Ron White. Just be you and do your own material.

Warning: this video contains racial slurs along with profanities. Watch with discretion.

Robin Williams circa 1981.
Robin Williams circa 1981. | Source
Comedians and Saturday Night Live Royalty, Gilda Radner  and John Belushi  shot in 1978.
Comedians and Saturday Night Live Royalty, Gilda Radner and John Belushi shot in 1978. | Source
Richard Pryor performing  in .1982
Richard Pryor performing in .1982 | Source
Stand up  is even popular in China.
Stand up is even popular in China. | Source
 Goldie Hawn, started out on "Laugh In," in 1969. Now look at her in 1980.
Goldie Hawn, started out on "Laugh In," in 1969. Now look at her in 1980. | Source
Comedian, Gabriel Iglesias performing in  Nov 7, 2014.
Comedian, Gabriel Iglesias performing in Nov 7, 2014. | Source
The super-star comedian, George Carlin does a stand-up concert in 1976.
The super-star comedian, George Carlin does a stand-up concert in 1976. | Source

Now for the free comedy routines . . .

  • Dress in a tuxedo and head to the mall. Walk briskly into a posh, stuffy men's clothing store with a stern look on your face. When a clerk offers to help you, you reply, "You bet you can! Where is the wedding?" "Uhh, sir, wedding?" the clerk stutters. "Yes, a wedding. You know. When a man and a woman vow to make each other's life miserable." The clerk and other employees and customers will laugh. So now you need to get out while you are not in trouble.
  • Bring your black and white make-up in an overnight bag to the mall. Enter the men's or ladies' room and head for the nearest stall. Sit on the toilet seat (on toilet tissue to be healthy) and apply your mime make-up. Head back to the mall and start in the center of the mall. Do not interrupt the flow of customers. Practice your mime work at home so you will not laugh while working. Speaking of practicing at home. By all means, if you are going the verbal route to a successful comedy routine, practice the routine in front of a full-length mirror and time it to be sure that if the comedy promoter gives you three minutes, your act will not go past that time. Being respectful goes a long way with comedy club managers.
  • The "Free Lunch Gag": pick out a pretty girl or handsome guy and say to them, "I will race you by seeing who can walk faster to that statue near the fountain over there. The loser gets a free lunch from the winner." You will be shocked at those who will walk fast as possible to beat you, but you are the one who is eating free and giving you some free time to talk to your new friend about your comedy career and your plans.
  • The "Famous Deceased Americans Gag": Stand up from the bench where you are sitting and announce, "I want to do my impression of the notorious outlaw Jesse James for you right now." Then intentionally act as if you are having to get into character, stare at them, and fall to the floor. Your crowd should laugh loudly.
  • "Abstract Thought in Action": People love abstract thought. Just ask legendary comic, author, actor and musician, Steve Martin. Use this thought: "I was tossed out of my favorite strip club last night. Yeah. Sadly this is true. And all I did was pay my ticket price, sit down and then after two minutes, got up and pulled off my clothes. They said it was a "Strip" club!" See the abstract thinking?
  • Or you can use this one, but keep it clean. "Yeah, when I was single, I slept with a lot of women. A whole lot, let me tell you. I never had sex with any of them, but got a lot of good sleep." But keep a stoic look on your face while telling this story.
  • Visit any (trick or gag) store and you can buy this light bulb that when pressed at a certain spot, the light will come on. Take this with you for this routine. Be sitting on a bench in a busy mall. Then, at the right moment, stand up and with a moderately-loud voice say, "Hey, I have just gotten a terrific idea!" Then hold the lighted bulb directly over your head. Now enjoy the sounds of pure laughter and let Carrot Top eat his heart out.
  • And not to leave Gallagher (Tony Anthony, his real name) hanging, I urge you to do a version of his bursting watermelons with a sledge hammer, but you take the sledge hammer and act like you are going to smash these tasty items, but you lay the sledge down and pick up a knife and begin to cut the melons into many servings for your audiences which will make you look very creative and very sensitive to the ones who may be hungry.
  • And in closing, this one should work for you: "I was talking to my best buddy last week about being so depressed and having to see a doctor. The doctor said for me to head home and make mad, passionate love to my wife at least five times that week. And it helped. I said to my buddy who was also depressed, 'you need to try this too to get rid of your depression.' He quickly replied, "What nights is your wife at home?"

Now go out there and "break a leg." Or is it, "break the ice?" And keep this hub of nugget of comedy wisdom with you always: "It's now how funny your material may be, but how funny YOU can be at telling it.

Do not be THIS guy. A studied comedian stands a greater chance of success than those who just make-up things on the spot.


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, JG Hemlock,

      Thank you so much for the interesting and educational comment. I did learn some things from you.

      I know that there is a comedy shop, as it were, in Birmingham, Alabama, about an hour and a half from where I live and the "green" comics get paid $200.00 a gig. Not bad.

      Now you asked, am I funny?

      Only when I am stressed or really fired-up on a rant. I would love to be like Dennis Miller mixed with Brian Regan.

      I did help form a community theater with three of my friends in 1993. We did stage performances, plays, and gave our monies to charity.

      It was a lot of fun and very gratifying.

      I want you to write me anytime. And consider me a friend.

      Your Friend for Life,


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Jennifer,

      Now I agree with you for agreeing that I cannot compare Carol and Lucy. I did appreciate their clean images on-screen.

      I just sit back many times and wonder "what if" I had just left my hometown when I was 18 and fresh out of high school?

      Probably not be here talking to you.

      Now I am thankful that I stayed.

      Blessings and Love to You,


    • JG Hemlock profile image

      JG Hemlock 

      2 years ago from VISIONS AND DREAMS

      I did open mikes - never got paid. 5 minutes to stand up there and go for it and tell jokes...They would fill in with open mikes before the headliners. The first time was the strangest. I had my jokes down and when I was called out to the microphone...ummmm I completely froze. I forgot everything. Ha! I don't know why I froze because I am normally an outgoing person in crowds....but I did.

      As I stood there I looked around totally blank and panicking and none of my material came to me.....oh my gosh....hahahaa I said "Oh I don't have any jokes...I just stand up here for 5 minutes and look good." (I fluffed my hair and people actually laughed. They thought it was part of the show.hahah NOT.) I am a tiny bit attractive so I got away with it.

      After that joke...It all came back to me and I was fine.

      That 5 minutes felt like 5 days though. A few of my friends were there. I had asked one of my friends to tape it for me while she sat in the audience so I could listen back to see 'timing' audience reaction to specific jokes, etc. If you ever get a job as a headliner you have to have 45 minutes of jokes. You can live off the same 45 minutes of jokes for years of shows. Some headliners get paid 500 or up depending how popular you are.

      Do 5 minute open mikes and try all different jokes each time. Working toward 45 minutes of good and funny material. You have to have at least 45 minutes of material. If people want you and they are willing to pay are kind of screwed if you say yes and you only have 5-10 minutes of jokes. You know what I mean?

      I was blessed that first night because I was outside as people were leaving after the headliner. She was really bad. People were laughing and coming up to me and saying "We wished you were up there...that lady sucked!" So that was a good review for a first time. :)

      I had two small children and single....How does one pursue that type of traveling life? You don't but it was fun. This was over 25 years ago. Someone in the past year who manages a comedy place wanted me to come do some open mikes. My husband was not to thrilled with it. :*(

      I was actually thinking of doing it You-Tube viral and then I could skip the open mikes and jump into headlining if someone liked my stuff. I lived out in Las Vegas and how funny... still did it unexpectedly. Kareoke places are the best. One of my girlfriend is a professional singer and entertainer where I used to work. We went out one night to sing. I go up on stage real serious and sing "New York State of Mind by Billy Joel" but I sing it like Fran Dresher The Nannny. LOL When a few people started laughing at me...I stop the singing and say "excuse me...why are you laughing?" hahaha you should have seen their faces. I go up the second time to sing and sing normal. Then they realize they have been duped.

      You should go for it. It is funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Are you funny?

      Peace! God bless anybody who keeps their sense of humor at this time. It will help. :) JG

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio


      I agree it's futile to compare. Comedy is so individual that it's like apples & oranges.



    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      JG Hemlock,

      Thanks for your nice comment. I appreciate it so much.

      I have had TWO life-long dreams:

      1. To work the night shift on an All Rock FM station either playing MY choices of Classic Rock or running my own talk show.

      2. To be a stand-up comic.

      You have accomplished the 2nd dream of mine. Would you tell me what that feels like? To stand before many people and make them laugh.

      The closest thing to doing stand-up is being a member of a community theater company three friends and I formed in 1993, but that was rehearsing and memorizing scripts.

      Not like what YOU have done.

      I envy you.

      Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Jennifer,

      I give you these ((((HUGS)))) for the Regan remark. I would pay $50 per ticket to attend one of his concerts.

      And Carol Burnette too.

      She, in my opinion, was a bit funnier than Lucy, but comparing the two is foolish I guess.

      Write me anytime.

      Love, Kenneth

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I like Brian Regan too. And don't forget Jim Gaffigan! And the amazing Carol Burnett.

    • JG Hemlock profile image

      JG Hemlock 

      2 years ago from VISIONS AND DREAMS

      I used to do standup open mike at the comedy trap in NY. It was a blast. If your good you can sidestep stand up and You-Tube it viral...till you get a following. Then they will pay you up front to show up at the club and do your routine. Good Article!


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