You have to take risks.”For Instance: When he’s testing new material, Louie C. says he expects “about 30 seconds” of good will from an audience before the jokes are forced to live, or die, on their own merits.“The odd thing about comedy is that the more personal you are, the larger the audience,” Steinberg says.
“It’s the opposite of the television formula which is to get as wide an audience by being as general as you possible can.”For Instance: Keenen Ivory Wayans heeded the advice of a comedy club manager to be “more specific.” When he quit doing generic pop culture jokes and started telling stories about a tough dad and school bullies, Wayans’ career took off.“Once you succeed at something it’s hard to keep it fresh and exciting so you have to keep challenging yourself,” says Steinberg, whose own evolution from stand-up comedian to TV director illustrates the point.
You can’t try to be the kitten that the audience wants to pat.
You have to make the audience come to you and do it on your own terms. also distrusts adulation when testing new material.
“You have to be a moving target or it won’t work.” writer.
Steinberg says, “I asked Tina how she sees herself now and it’s mostly as a writer, but she’ll probably end up directing.”“Know where you came from, thats the rule,” says Steinberg who notes that a few names–Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Saturday Night Live, SCTV, Steve Martin–keep popping as key influences.
“Robert talked about his cancer and how he’s taken this tragic life that he was living even then, and turned it into comedy material,” Steinberg recalls.Tina Fey falls into that category.”Citing improvisational comedy troupes that have spawned several truck loads of comedy stars, Steinberg observes, “The most important thing to get from Second City and then the Groundlings, and now Upright Citizens Brigade is that you work from the top of your intelligence.Get your laughs from being smart, not by being dumb.But while I'd reel off the tales, inside I would be cringing and judging myself. We were asked to do different tasks leading up to writing a five-minute set that we would perform on stage.I stuck to what I knew: the trials and tribulations of being a single girl in her 30s.“Buy a Lenny Bruce record, watch Richie Pryor, take a look at Bill Cosby in concert and see how he uses the space and creates his brothers just by making the sound of a door slamming.Don’t steal any of it, but study how they did it.”Steinberg adds, “In comedy, looking back is more important than looking around at your contemporaries because they are too much influenced by the same time period as you are.K., Judd Apatow, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Steve Martin, Bob Newhart and Will Ferrell. Steinberg and his professionally warped colleagues share nine rules for how to succeed in the funny business, and life, by really really really trying.“There is no way to get better in stand up comedy than by failing,” says Steinberg.“Even if you’re as successful as you can be, like Jerry Seinfeld, when you try that new piece of material, you will fail again.So how did I go from sad singleton to comedy wannabe? I had wanted to do a comedy course for a long time and it dawned on me that my perennial search for love could provide perfect material for my routine.Dating may seem like fun but emotionally it can be really hard work.