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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can I be a comedian with no college experience?

Getting started with your comedy career can be difficult at times. Where do I go?, who do I talk to?, what If I am not good at selling myself? "I just want to do what I love and have fun doing it".

We understand this business well. Comedy West was founded by Pat Wilson in 1986. We have had the opportunity of working with thousands of great comedians such as George Carlin, Tammy Pescatelli, Dave Attell, Dave Mordal, Carlos Mencia and Lewis Black. We also work with up and coming comedians every day.

A common thought that most people have is that you have to be a college graduate from a comedy school to become a stand up comedian. This is simply not true. "I have always found myself to be the life of the party, the one who makes everyone laugh". Does this sound like you? What it really comes down to is.... are you funny, can you handle standing up in front of an audience for at least thirty minutes without freezing up and do you know what is socially acceptable or things to avoid saying that people may find offensive? The most important thing is putting your self to the test. Find "open mic" nights at comedy clubs. This way you can get a feel for what it's like to perform in front of a live audience. You may not get your name out there because during an open mic night, you might find several people who are there for the same thing. It's much different when an audience shows up specifically for a big named comedian but these times will be the most important time to you. People who show up to an open mic night often expect anything so do your best and make each performance a memorable one. If the audience is loving your performances, you might think about moving on to the next level and putting together a "press kit".

As I always say, stand up comedy is an art. You may have been born with the gift of being a stand up comedian. You might not ever need comedy school or training. It's rare, but it is possible. So you want to find out if an agency will book you right? Here are some good steps to follow. A press kit can include:

1) A video of yourself doing your skit
2) Have a resume ready (If possible)
3) A video (http://youtube.com) of your self performing.
3) A voice over recording in mp3 format (the most commonly used format)
4) last but not least, a bio about yourself.

The more things you have, the more of a chance you have at getting booked. If you are an artist, a voice over recording may help you get other jobs for comedy radio commercials, etc.

If you are not familiar with writing a bio and you would like some ideas, you can always check out a couple that our comedians have written about themselves. Remember, this is about you, so copying someone else's wouldn't be a good thing but at least you can get an idea of what a bio should look like.

Download Andy Peters Bio

View Peter Kelamis's Bio

After you have your press kit put together, you are ready to send it away to agents. I personally would try a couple agencies especially if one is not interested. As you know, there are a good hand full of famous actors, actresses and comedians who were denied several times by agencies before they were discovered. Of course, because we are a comedy agency, I would recommend you try sending your press kit to us first. If we don't find you as a match for Comedy West, keep trying. I hope this was somewhat helpful.

Please let me know how things are going. Have a nice day!!