Becoming an Underground Comedian

Practically anyone can become an underground comedian if they work hard enough. People do not need an agent to start out in comedy. All they have to do is participate in an open mic night. However, in order to succeed and be embraced by both peers and audiences, there are several factors to bear in mind. Knowing these will increase a person’s chances of making it in indie comedy.

Finding a Venue

Performing at the right venue is important. If it is too small, then this will affect the number of audience members able to see the act. Choosing a well-known venue is useful because it will attract people from the comedy community. It is best to find one that is relatively close to home as this will reduce travel times.

Perfecting Material

Undoubtedly the most important tool in a comedian’s arsenal is their material. It should constantly be evolving. When comedians start a new routine, they can gauge the audience to see what jokes work and which ones fall short. It is best to ditch the weaker jokes and focus on ones that get the biggest reactions. Copying the work of others should be avoided as it can lead to trouble. Once the material has been used enough times, the comedian needs to come up with new stuff and start the cycle all over again.


The underground comedy community is a tight-knit group. It will be difficult to succeed without having strong ties with other comedians. Often troupes are formed this way. This increases the chances of getting noticed by talent scouts and producers. It is not uncommon for popular indie comedy troupes to achieve mainstream fame. Doing so solo will be a struggle.

Finding a Voice

In order to gain an audience, comedians have to come up with their own unique persona. Sometimes it can be really difficult to make your mind up about which direction to go at first. A fair amount of trial and error will be required. Doing some research by viewing older comedy box sets may help to give inspiration. When a comedian is aware of their strengths, this can help too. Having a clear voice will allow them to stand out from their peers.

Creating Characters

This is not essential as many comedians prefer to stick with standard jokes in their stand up. However, creating characters will show off acting skills. Several indie acts who have focused on characters have gone on to have successful careers. For instance, Steve Coogan created Alan Partridge in the early 1990s. He has continued to play him ever since. If a character resonates with the public, then it may catapult a comedian to stardom.

Going Mainstream

The main goal of most underground comedians is to rise to fame and become a well-known performer. Before this can happen, they need to have made a name for themselves in the underground community. Some of them prefer to stay here rather than go mainstream. Methods of attaining fame can include performing at bigger venues, touring and transitioning to television.