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Who Doesn't Love Stand Up Comedy

Jan 23 '14

Using props in your stand up routine

As you begin to develop your stand up comedy routine, you may consider whether to use props or not.  There is no right or wrong and your decision should depend on whether you feel more comfortable using props than not.  Though there is a perception that comedians won’t be taken seriously if they use props, this is not always the case and if they give you more confidence, you shouldn’t be put off.  Remember, it’s the audience you need to impress, not other comics, so their opinion on this subject shouldn’t deter you.

So when it comes to selecting your prop, you will need to consider your own stage persona and your act.  You could even choose a musical instrument.  Guitars and pianos are used by many current big names in comedy and musical instruments are not frowned upon and are more acceptable than standard comedy props. 

If you choose a musical instrument, you do not necessarily need to play it well.  Just a few basic strums on a guitar can help add a little musicality and rhythm to a particular part of your routine and in some cases, the more poorly you play, the funnier you can sometimes be.  So don’t be deterred because you never were quite good enough for the school orchestra and your guitar at the back of the wardrobe gathering dust.

If you have been doing your research and learning from other stand up comedians, you may have some favourites who use instruments occasionally in their routine.  For example, one of the big names of the moment, Zach Galifianakis, uses a piano on stage.  However, to be different, you will notice he rarely plays the piano during his jokes, instead he plays the piano briefly between jokes as a way of connecting his performance. 

Whilst guitar acts are always very popular and guaranteed to get laughs, remember the key is to try and be different.  Do not replicate other performers, try to work in something a little bit unique that will help set you apart from other similar performers.