Anybody can be considered funny. I mean, even the class clown in your fifth-grade class was only ten. Telling jokes in a class among your peers isn’t the same as being able to tell jokes in a stadium of nearly 1,000 people. There’s a significant difference when considering why just telling jokes, isn’t the same as being a standup comedian. Choosing a career as a standup comedian is an art. And most standup comedians are offended and belittled by the idea of people considering their art as easy or something that anybody can do. Most professional standup comedians train, practice, and sometimes get denied for shows before becoming popular. It takes skill.
Understand this: when comedians go on stage, in most cases they have material they’ve written up and practiced for a show. In a lot of cases though, things in the audience, unpredictable things, can throw off that script, causing the comedian to have to improvise on stage. Sometimes, a standup comedian may experience that they must modify their original script to get a different reaction from their audience. A writer for example has the time and tools (e.g. writing prompts) available to perfect his/her art. For a standup comedian the game is unpredictable. Anything can happen on that stage. The standup comedian must be prepared.
The biggest point though, is that just being on stage, telling jokes to a crowd, is an art. It is an act of courage where a comedian shares his/her raw talent and takes a chance on being entertaining to an audience. A comedian is a performer, with a duty to bring about uncontrollable laughter and a good time.
Famous comedian Kevin Hart said “Standup comedy is me; it’s my entity; it’s my brand. I own it.”
He and most comedians realize that this is bigger than just telling jokes and creating a few laughs. It’s an art of acting and creating a moment. And a comedic moment can truly last a lifetime. So, many of the famous standup comedians we know like Tim Allen, Dave Chapelle, Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy all have their own branding of funny. That, and their jokes, are what we remember for generations.
“Regardless of what I do, whether I write a book, or I act, or I host, I’ll always do standup comedy because those moments, that’s what I crave,” said famous comedian Howie Mandel. “If I do something funny and I hear a crowd laugh, in that moment we are sharing the exact same experience and the exact same feeling.”