Make ‘em say LOL!: Yvonne Orji’s Tips for Newbie Comediennes Friday 24 February, 2012

Yvonne Orji

You don’t need to be dirty, you don’t need to embarrass yourself, you don’t need to be like anyone else. Here, Yvonne Orji, host of New York’s Limmerick House “Momma I Made It!” open mic, breaks down these and other secrets to a great comic performance. But you don’t have to be a comedienne to […]

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You don’t need to be dirty, you don’t need to embarrass yourself, you don’t need to be like anyone else. Here, Yvonne Orji, host of New York’s Limmerick House “Momma I Made It!” open mic, breaks down these and other secrets to a great comic performance. But you don’t have to be a comedienne to appreciate these funny words of wisdom…

As a female, I run the ONLY clean open mic in the city, and each week, I get a group of return and new comics that come to perform because they’ve heard that my mic is supportive and professionally run. I give comics an opportunity to exercise a much needed muscle to have longevity in this biz: clean jokes. The room is called “Momma I Made It!” because as a comic, landing a spot on Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon or a primetime sitcom, usually means you’ve made it. And to do so, you have to perform clean material. This is preparation for the big time!


1. Don’t believe the hype!
You don’t have to succumb to the same ‘ol explicit sex jokes to be funny. A LOT more happens in your day and around the world that provides humor than what random position your boyfriend had you in last night. Just be FUNNY. Trust me, that will get you noticed and it will get you respect.

2. Understand, this is a highly male-dominated industry. You have to be prepared to hold your own. When I arrive at events, I still get asked if I am there to do poetry or sing, NOT perform comedy…even if it’s a COMEDY show! You take it with a grain of salt, because after your set, the same folks who doubted your talents, will be the same ones scrambling to book you on their next event…JUST BE GOOD!

3. Don’t feel like you have to find the hottest comic out right now, and then imitate them in your set. Listen, the world already knows and loves Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Dane Cook, Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman, so they don’t need the next them. They need the first you!

4. Write at least one joke daily. Write EVERYTHING down! Don’t trust your memory. I GUARANTEE you, you will forget the AWESOME joke that came to you while in traffic!

5. Know that comedy is not just fun and games. It’s an art. A craft. Treat it as such. Be professional. Take the jokes seriously. Study the greats. Find out what made them great. And lastly, go to see other comics perform live.

Stay tuned next week for a full interview with Yvonne on her creative journey and exciting new projects. In the meantime be sure to check out some of her comedy on YouTube and follow her on Twitter.

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