Myths About Stand-Up Comedy That Just Aren’t True (Or Are They?)

Does it really take 10 years to get good?
Myths About Stand-Up Comedy That Just Aren’t True (Or Are They?)

“I’ve had several experiences lately of realizing acorns I took as fact from more experienced comics early on were kinda maybe bullshit,” admits u/Leiden_Lekker in a thread on r/Standup. Or perhaps those wisdom nuggets “were true once but aren’t anymore.” Curious about the experience of other comedians, u/Leiden_Lekker asked the group, “What ideas have you heard confidently repeated in comedy that don't square with your experiences?” 

Here are some of the myths that comics felt needed debunking, even though some Redditors still swear the acorns are true… (Original Reddit post spelling and punctuation are kept intact below for flava.)

Myth: It Takes Years of Grinding to Be Great

It’s just not true “that you need to be hitting 3-4 mics every night, 7 days a week,” said u/jcdoco. "At some point you have to go out and actually live life to mine material. Take a breather sometimes.”

A bunch of Redditors disagreed with the notion that it takes 10 years of experience to master stand-up. “Pretending you need a brain surgeon's education worth of time to get to that level is, in my opinion, absolute bullshit,” said u/Leather-Strength2448.

Others, of course, disagreed. “Everyone should still go in expecting a 10 year buy-in,” warns u/Comedyfight. “If shit pops off sooner, that's a bonus.”

Myth: Posting Clips on Social Media Burns Up Your Material

u/iamgarron doesn’t buy saving your material for live shows. “The burning material thing was so dumb unless you live in a small scene. It’s so unlikely people at the show have seen that clip, and if so, who cares.”

On the other hand, “jokes aren't like songs. Songs hit emotions a joke cannot. the average person can listen to a song on repeat or at-least have a favorite song for months at a time,” says u/Dripn_Snowflakes. “You can hear a good joke once, a great joke a few times, and a incredible joke people wouldn't mind coming back to every once in a while. Unless you don’t plan on headlining ever with that material then do not post it.”

Myth: Comedians Are Usually Depressed

“Honestly the level of mental illness is probably the same as regular population,” opines u/iamgarron. “Only difference is comics talk about it in public.”

Really? Some comics on r/Standup disagreed, including OP u/Leiden_Lekker. “I’m guilty of generalizing about most to literally all comedians being neurodivergent in some way, which is obviously tied up in a lot of big cultural shifts around awareness/delineation of those brain differences,” they write. “I know I can’t SAY it's true, but damn if it doesn’t feel true.”

Myth: The Audience Isn’t Laughing Because They’re Too Woke

Not a lot of disagreement on this one. u/cheekkyy has had enough of comedian podcasts that constantly “complain about the woke agenda ruining comedy and IT IS SO TEDIOUS.”

Redditors are even tired of the big names bellyaching. “Jerry Seinfeld complaining about not being able to do material at colleges because of snowflakes, when he is the most Elks Lodge mainstream comic of his generation, has always been a trip,” says u/jedrekk.


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