Comedians use different types of humor and wit to entertain a crowd. And they often use anecdotes in their act.
- Anecdotal comedy is when a comedian uses exaggeration and humor to tell stories
- An important part of using anecdotes as a comedian is to build the story and occasionally use self-deprecating humor
- Other types of comedy include improv comedy and observational comedy
Here’s everything you need to know about anecdotal comedy.
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#1. What Is Anecdotal Comedy?
Many people see comedy as an art form. There are different approaches and styles, and even the end goal can vary greatly from time to time.
But when it comes down to it, all an entertainer wants to do is leave their listeners laughing!
A comedian has different tools in their tool kit. When they step on stage, they carefully pick and choose which ones will be the most effective.
One of the reasons why comedy is so popular is that there’s not just one type. There are many different subtypes of comedy that allow people to truly enjoy hilarious content that’s right for them!
The Right Time And The Right Place
Take, for example, the team at Clean Comedians®. We use clean and comfortable humor to ensure everyone in the audience feels included.
For any type of professional function, whether it be a corporate event or an employee get-together, it’s only smart to get a speaker that won’t resort to crude or inappropriate humor. Unfortunately, traditional comedians often utilize content that has no place in a professional setting.
This is why Clean Comedians® focuses on providing clean content for your team to enjoy wholeheartedly!
When you book a speaker with Clean Comedians®, you can rest easy knowing your upcoming event won’t have any profanity, prejudice, or politics. Just pure, genuine humor!
Why Is Anecdotal Comedy So Important?
As we said, comedy is so popular because it has something for everyone. With so many different types of genres, you can find any form of comedy that will suit your personal taste.
If you’re interested in comedy, you should understand how anecdotes are used on stage. Simply put, anecdotal comedy is a type of stand-up comedy that focuses on telling humorous and entertaining stories or personal anecdotes.
Even in our personal lives, the hilarious things we encounter are the stories of others. So it can be enlightening and enjoyable to share a hilarious tale with a friend. But, of course, we always know our friend is exaggerating a little bit!
And that’s actually a key component of anecdotes.
Using exaggeration is a great way to make any tale a bit more shocking. And strange, wild tales are perfect for entertaining an audience.
But using anecdotes is all about amazing real-life stories. It’s important to keep in mind that anecdotes are a mixture of art and science.
You need to make the anecdote real and believable enough for the listeners to be intrigued. Then you need to add a dash of exaggeration, humor, and entertainment to keep it interesting!
#2. Using Anecdotes In Stand-Up Comedy
A big part of using anecdotes as a comedian is knowing how to deliver them. There are many notable comedians out there that have successfully utilized anecdotes to keep their listeners entertained. And you can do it too!
There are many different approaches to this. People have discovered and developed countless ways to be funny as a comedian. And if you’re looking to improve your stand-up, you should brush up on how to deliver anecdotes.
Who, What, Where, When
As humans, we’ve utilized storytelling over the years as a great way to communicate with those around us. And when it comes down to it, comedy is just a hilarious way of communicating with an audience!
Telling stories on stage can be daunting at times. If it’s truly personal, you might be nervous about giving away an insight into your life. Plus, there’s always that underlying fear that your joke will just fall flat.
When delivering an anecdote, don’t forget to include the who, what, where, and when. This information is critical in building the storyline and creating a great joke’s foundation. You can’t create humor without this fundamental aspect!
Don’t Be Afraid To Self-Deprecate
If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t expect anyone to laugh with you! Self-deprecating humor is one of the most common types of comedy. Don’t be afraid of it.
The only thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it. There’s a difference between self-deprecation and totally destroying your image. Find that balance.
Self-deprecating humor is easy to use in anecdotes. Since you’re usually telling personal stories, it’s easy to structure the punch line around yourself.
The key to using anecdotal comedy is to be authentic, relatable, and funny. And self-deprecating humor is a personable way to poke fun at the star of the show!
Bonus: 4 Ways To Balance Fun And Productivity At Work
#3. Understanding The Different Types Of Comedy
As we said earlier, comedy is an art form. Each comedian likes to utilize a different medium, and many listeners even consider comedy to be rather subjective.
There’s more than just one type of comedy. A strong entertainer knows how to use various types of humor to leave their listeners laughing and wanting more.
If you only rely on anecdotes in your act, chances are you’ll leave your listeners yawning. It’s important to change it to keep people interested!
You don’t need to only recount stories in order to score points with your audience. You can do more than that!
Observational comedy is a simple yet effective way to add some spice to your stand-up act. Observational comedy merely makes observations about life around us and the humor embedded in it.
After all, life isn’t inherently boring. There is plenty of wit all around us! Comedians use observational comedy to point out the absurdities or quirks of the world around us.
What we often overlook can have hidden humor, making it even more hilarious when an entertainer points it out!
Not all comedy is like traditional stand-up comedy. And improv comedy is an interesting and uncertain take on comedy.
Improv comedy, or improv, is where performers create humor on the spot. Instead of using a script, comedians will rely on suggestions or prompts from the audience. Then, they use this knowledge to create their content.
Because of its reliant nature, improv comedians usually perform in groups. This group of comedians will then rely on cues from each other in order to keep the ball rolling. It often includes techniques known as “yes, and.”
Improv is all about teamwork and spontaneous comedy!
Not all comedy is about sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, comedians use more aggressive approaches to comedy.
To get people laughing, sometimes comedians will throw insults at the audience members themselves. If you’ve ever seen a roast, then you’ve seen this type of comedy firsthand!
In insult comedy, the comic will typically target a specific person or group of people. They’ll use anything from sarcasm to ridicule in order to make fun of someone in a mean-spirited or derogatory way.
Though some people may find this type of satire interesting, it’s also an easy way to leave people offended. It’s rare for listeners to wholeheartedly enjoy being put down! It’s also important to note that there’s a difference between playful teasing and hurtful insults.
Topical comedy, otherwise known as social commentary, is a type of comedy that seeks to criticize or tease things like recent news stories, political events, or pop culture trends. It’s often targeted at recent or timely issues.
It’s easy to incorporate topical comedy into other types of comedy. For example, you can simultaneously deliver topical comedy in an anecdote.
While topical comedy can be entertaining and informative, it can also be polarizing and controversial. When comedians seek to make fun of a specific issue, it can easily alienate a large portion of their listeners, especially if they are caught off-guard.
If you’re looking to utilize topical comedy, you should also be prepared for a large amount of pushback and criticism. It’s a good idea only to use this type of comedy if your audience knows what they’ll be in for.
Knowing how to use anecdotes is only a small part of being an entertainer. But as long as you understand the power of storytelling, you’re on track to becoming one of the best!
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.