“Comedy is a distortion of what is happening, and there will always be something happening.”  - Steve Martin

Comedians are performing artists who are funny and their main aim is to make people laugh. They try to entertain the audience to the best of their abilities. They use their wit and humor to observe, write and perform in front of an audience. The length of their performances can vary depending upon a variety of factors including audience reaction. They spend most of their lives writing jokes and turning instances into funny stories as well as practicing their craft of performing. They are involved in amusing the audience by performing material created by using their observation. Each Comedian has a different specialization. He/she might focus on satire, physical comedy, situational comedy, word – play etc.

Choosing this profession as a career choice is a highly adventurous and beneficial choice. Comedians are hired by various kinds of establishments including radio channels, T.V. channels, restaurants, event management companies etc. Some Comedians even work as writers for magazines and tabloid newspapers. A lot of comedians work independently as Freelancers and work on an assignment basis. It has the potential of becoming a well paying career, but only if you are a hit with the audience. The pay in the initial years is very less, and you might have to deal with massive competition. The growing awareness in the country about this art and the presence of social media has boosted employment opportunities for comedians and the future of this profession is bright.

What do they do?

Comedians use a variety of techniques to entertain the audience. The main aim of a Comedian is to make the audience laugh. The more the audience laughs, the better the performance. Comedians narrate stories, tell jokes, act, sing and imitate. Some even use puppets to entertain the audience.

One of the main aspects of the job of a Comedian is to observe people, events, surroundings and everything else. Comedians use their insight and unusual way of looking at things to find humor in the most mundane activities. They use real people around them to create fictional characters and jokes. This power of observation helps them create fresh humor.

Developing ideas is another important task that Comedians perform. This includes working on story ideas, conceptualizing characters and situations. Comedians use everyday instances and figure out ways to make them funny. They develop characters and add humor into their behaviors. It is a step ahead of observation and involves adapting the observations so as to suit the medium of Comedy.

One of the most important jobs of a Comedian is to write scripts and acts. This includes writing character details, dialogues, actions and everything else. As they write, direct and perform the act themselves, they usually add directions and performance notes in the script itself. The Comedians who work in Television and movies add their inputs into the scripts to make their characters funnier and performances more impactful.

Rehearsing is a very important part of the job of a Comedian. Like any other performer, Comedians spend a majority of their lives practicing their craft and rehearsing for their performances. Most of what they do on stage is pre – planned. But they need to rehearse in order to make it look natural. Rehearsing is vital for Comedians who work in T.V shows and movies as well so as to perform their parts more convincingly and add value to the overall story.

The most important job of a Comedian is to perform. This is their primary task. Comedians have to perform in front of live audiences as well as perform on the radio or in front of the camera. It is the final impact of their performance that determines the quality of the Comedian. It is a part of their job to improvise their performances on the spot as per the medium and audience reaction. As comedy is a genre that gets an instant feedback, if you perform badly, the audience will not laugh and the show will not succeed.

A lot of Comedians are involved in promoting and producing their own shows, be it live, on the radio or on the television. This includes informing the audience about the details of the show as well as marketing it in a way that the audience tunes in at the right time to watch it or buys the tickets to watch the performance. A lot of Comedians use the social media to promote their shows.

Comedians like all other performers are involved in giving auditions. They prepare before auditions and try to impress the judges by incorporating the things they think the judges want in the performance. These auditions can be for various assignments, including radio/television shows or stand up gigs etc.

How to become a Comedian?

There are no necessary educational qualifications you need in order to become a Comedian. However, you would need some sort of educational qualification as a backup, in case you don’t make it in big in this profession. Due to the massive competition in the entertainment industry, having a backup becomes very important.

Focus on all subjects in your school life including English and Social Studies. You can choose any stream after your class 10th, but choosing Arts over Science and Commerce will be more beneficial for your career as a Comedian. Please keep in mind that you should follow your interests be it in any stream as a Comedian can find humor in anything, even chemicals and numbers.

Once you complete your schooling, you should ideally pursue a graduate degree in your subject of choice. If you want to choose a subject related to your profession, then subjects like Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy can prove to be of some help. Pursuing a Post Graduate degree in a related field can also help serve as a backup as well as give you a stronger base of knowledge which can be used by you to write your content.

Co – curricular activities are very, very important if you want to become a Comedian. Participate in as many debates, plays and public speaking competitions as possible. The more you perform and learn to face the audience, the more confident you will get and the more you will improve as a performer. Keep performing as much as you can throughout your education period. It need not be comedy, but performance of any kind including theater and debates will make contribute in your success as a Comedian.

Writing and observing is a very important part of a Comedian’s life. To become one, you need to train your mind to observe people, surroundings, art, situations and everything else. You need to keep writing content and scripting humorous acts on the basis of these observations as well as other ideas. These writings can also be compiled as your portfolio which you can show to potential recruiters as a proof of your talent.

Working as a Trainee or an Intern under a Comedian or in an Event Management company can be very helpful if you’re an aspiring Comedian. You will be able to learn the nuances of performing and how professional Comedians interact with the audience and the camera. Such experiences will help you diversify your style of comedy and improve your jokes.

Research is important for any aspiring Comedian. You need to research about everything that interests you. The more information and knowledge you have, the broader can be the range of your jokes. Also, you should research about Comedy as an art and try to learn more about legendary comedians.

Promotion and Marketing is very necessary in order to become a Comedian. The audience should not only recognize you, but also recognize your style of comedy. The social media provides an amazing opportunity for aspiring Comedians to not only share jokes but also promote their shows.

The most important thing you need to do in order to become a Comedian is to perform. You should be ready and prepared to perform everywhere and all the time. Try to arrange performances at parties, events and at restaurants. Perform if you have to do it for free in the beginning. If you’re good, you will build a reputation through such performances and will get chances to perform at bigger places and on bigger platforms for bigger amounts of money.

What are the skills required to become a Comedian?

Comedians are highly witty and humorous performers. They are very intelligent and extremely confident. Comedians are required to have exceptional observational skills as they use these observations to create humor. They should be excellent performers and should possess the ability to improvise and make changes to their performances based on the mood of the audience. Comedians need to have a good memory and an excellent sense of ‘timing’, i.e. when and how to narrate the joke. They should have amazing communication and social skills as the whole profession is based on human interaction and connection. Comedians need to be innovative and creative as well. They should be highly motivated people so that they get the necessary determination to continuously move forward and keep trying to become successful. No matter what a Comedian does on stage or in front of the camera, at the end of the day, he/she needs to be entertaining. As long as you’re entertaining, people will love you. Most importantly, Comedians should have the genuine desire to spread smiles and laughs in people’s lives through their jokes and show them a ‘lighter’ way of looking at things.

Is this the right career for me?

Comedians spend most of their lives observing, writing and developing content for their performances. It is a profession that does not offer much job security and there are absolutely no fixed work hours. The job can be well paying if you become famous and successful, but the initial payments are very low and you might even have to work for free. It is a career that involves regular rehearsals. Comedians have to deal with a lot of competition and a lot of criticism. On the other hand, it is a fun career that is glamorous and you will be loved by audiences and paid very well if you’re a good performer.

For people who are looking for regular timings and a regular income from their jobs, and for people who are not okay with staying in the spotlight and dealing with constant criticism, this is not the right career. But if you’re genuinely interested in the world of comedy, if you actually believe you have the talent to make people laugh and if you’re willing to put in a lot of hard work, then this might be your ideal career.

To know more about what it is like to work in the Film and TV Industry, click here.

To know more about what it is like to work in the Events Industry, click here.

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.