Standup Comedy Devices: The Biggest Traps in Writing & Performing Standup Comedy

trapsI love pieces that break things down. Whenever I have an actor or a comedian or a psychologist or a philosopher on my podcast, I like the guest to be my Wikipedia entry for the topic that s/he knows. For example, when I had a psychologist on, I asked her to demystify the field for me. If I want to understand the lay of the land, where do I begin? What are the different types, the categories, the approaches? I feel like I can do that in standup comedy.

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14 thoughts on “Standup Comedy Devices: The Biggest Traps in Writing & Performing Standup Comedy

  1. Holy Cow! And I am not saying that because you are Indian.

    I started to read this post and about a third of the way in I was like “Wow, I wonder how much longer this post will be?” Little did I know (and coincidentally I have a 24″ portrait flatscreen monitor that usually displays the whole page (BTW: get one. scrolling downward all the time sucks)).

    Maybe do these posts with some breaks or in chapters. Or edit yourself. Or stop put the meth-pipe down every once in while. Just a thought.

    Best, B

  2. Rajiv,

    As one of your favorite comedians you listed yourself. Was this accidental?

    No worries, easy enough mistake to make. I follow your site and Indian comedians in general and sometimes even I get you and Aziz Ansari mixed-up.

    Best, B

  3. Great article. Just considering getting into comedy and this is one of the few really thought out sites that are not just procedurals by bitter comics for scared beginners. I will follow this site and its author, Rajiv. I hope you make an appearance in the low country (Charleston, SC to Savannah, GA.) so we can see you soon.

  4. I teach a class on comedy at the college-level and I found this posting very helpful. thanks for the reference to the Steve Martin book, too.

  5. Thanks for this. Its refreshing to read advice for an aspiring comic that doesn’t teach you to be a hack.

  6. Not only do you list yourself among your favorite comics, but you also list Woody Allen — who you specifically call out as being one whom you are not well versed on. Sorry, but what!?

    Not to mention your acts largely crutch on the ‘foreigner’ hitch — or even worse, my parents-are-foreigners crutch. So there is that as well. You’re riding an awfully high horse.

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