Comedy contest advice from Myq Kaplan

Me to Myq Kaplan:

Hey man. I'm entered in a comedy competition for the first time next week. Since you're the master at winning these things, I wonder if you have any advice. Five minute set in the first round. Should I hit 'em with quicker jokes and one-liners only? Or ok to do longer bits (like that mom/weed one)? Any other advice?

Myq's reply:

well, since i'm also in that competition i think (NY comedy contest),
my answer depends on whether you're in my first round
jk lol

but to answer your question seriously and sincerely (or sneakily and deceptively, who can tell?),

the general advice i would give to anyone in general is to be yourself, the comic that you are at your best, doing the stuff that hopefully both you enjoy and that an audience will enjoy the most

more specifically though, to actually give more of an answer...

it's a good question, and a relevant one to someone like you who has access to material of both sorts...

i wouldn't say absolutely that you should only hit them with quicker jokes, but i will say that some people with only longer storyish bits sometimes do find themselves less fortunate in situations like this--the guy who won the seattle competition the year i did it was damonde tschritter, a strong story-teller, who did consistently very very well in the semis and finals, which were rounds of 10-12 minutes and 15-20 minutes, respectively
but i believe he Almost didn't make it out of the first round, which was 5-minute sets

in my experience, as someone who Does have mainly shorter jokes, or longer bits that are made of shorter frequent laugh lines, i've found some measure of success in contests

but it's certainly not only this type of comic or act that Can succeed in contests

baron vaughn did make it to the finals of the boston comedy festival his first year in it, and his jokes are quite elaborate and lengthy, i would say
and he did it because he was himself, and his self is Hilarious

back to specifics of your question for You--because you've got the power to hit people hard and fast, and that can be advantageous with such a short time limit, i'd say it could be a benefit to take advantage of, but again, your whole five minutes needn't be that...

you could open with two minutes of it, and then some longer stuff
or whatever other mathematical combination you like

plus a hilarious, poignant, and relevant conclusion

hope that was helpful, but not helpful enough to beat me if we end up facing each other

art fight!

Check out Myq's blog Godzillionaire.


1 Comment(s)

Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

That was the most long-winded sabotage I've ever seen.

Consider the greats:
Ellen DeGeneres won a contest for eating a hamburger on stage and never talking.

Dat Phan won LCS by rehearsing in front of a swimming pool and talking to lawn chairs.

SO...picture everyone as a plastic, reclining chair, and get an appetite for ground beef. I don't know how much more obvious it can be.

6/9/09, 10:49 AM