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Image of brain lifting weights.
The physical brain prefers concrete over abstract activities

How to Easily Memorize Your Jokes

Today's tip was written in response to a LinkedIn.com discussion group post
in which an actress who had learned a script 2 months before rehearsals
seemed to think that her process would be helpful for stand-up comics.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!

8-)

There is a fundamental difference between:
•memorizing the fragments of a stand-up comedy act
•and learning that type of pre-written "solo performance" theatre piece.

From the get-go, the creation process for stand-up comedy is done in public.
The memorizing process such theatre folks describe would drive a stand-up comic to distraction.

Reason: there is no two-month lead time.
Rather, there is your first open mic where you do a 5-minute "set"
having never tested this set out much
before you jump into the deep end of the pool.

A) There is a workaround to make this process much less painful.
Using this approach, the lines will memorize themselves.

B) However, for those who insist on trying out jokes for the first time in front of an open mic audience,
here is an approach that will save you a lot wasted effort:

Poster for Tuesday night open mic at non-comedy club.
This is what you want: an open mic at a non-comedy club.
Reason: open mics at full time comedy clubs are often unofficial
auditions for work. Avoid same until you are good enough
to successfully audition. Here is the criteria to meet.

1) Try jokes at your local open mics several times,
without memorizing them by
•simply working off hidden cue cards.

2) Throw out what doesn't work.

3) Edit down what you have kept.

Try the new edited version again several more times
at different open mics
. . . to avoid folks who may have already heard these particular jokes before.
Monday open mic at Schubas, a non-comedy club.
A different open mic at another non-comedy club.

Rehearsing, staging and memorization techniques

The first secret is:
There is no point in rehearsing the act.
. . . Not until you know where the laughs are.

Why memorize something you are still editing?
Reason:
Re-memorizing is literally 10 times as hard
as memorizing in the first place.
Why?
Because discarded fragments of jokes
Man dragging two large bags full of joke fragments.
will involuntarily force themselves back into your brain,
making it impossible to remember anything consistently.
. . . Ugly to watch a confused comic
trying to remember their fragmented act!
Signs at at intersection of imaginary street names denoting various states of confusion.

Once you have the jokes tested, edited and set to the point that you anticipate making very few changes,
. . . it is still too soon to start memorizing
"by rote."

Instead, experiment.
How?
So simple a child could do it.
You've done all the hard work.
Now, it's time to play:
Woman dancer playing with abandon.
. . . Seriously!

;-)

Start improvising different gestures, movements and stage crosses that fit your words.

Soon you will know which versions of your set "stage business" and "blocked" crosses works best,
•and can set all your movements to synch
•with both your words and pauses.

Now, you are finally ready to actually rehearse

Rehearsing independent of your movements is old school, and wastes time.
It is abstract.
Theatre is concrete.
•Go with concrete.

Rule-of-thumb:
It is way easier to memorize movements than words.

So, concentrate on that first.
Guess what?
By the time you have the final movements down,
. . . the jokes will have memorize themselves!

For examples of what a solo performer can do to greatly improve his performance
on a small comedy club stage or restricted speaker's platform,
watch my 42 minute video preview of my 8-12 hour:
“Professional Stage Movement Workshops: setting a bit”

Q: How do you smoothly remember a forgotten line during a performance
While not . . . giving away . . . that you forgot something?
Kate Holmes forgetting line and freaking out!
A: For the answer, click here.

Questions?
Get in touch:
415-877-4424
jim@Stand-UpComedyWorkshop.com

Snail mail:
Jim Richardson
Organized Comedy
PO Box 992
Mill Valley, California 94942-0992
USA


Page last updated: Sunday, December 29, 2013, 9:35 am PST and Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 11:17 am PST
Copyright © 1997-2014
Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Hecklers