Music & Entertainment
Lesson time 9:31 min
No talent? No problem. Steve shares some ways that anyone can jumpstart their comedic journey. He didn't let a lack of talent slow him down and thinks you shouldn't either.
Topics include: What About Comedy Speaks to You? • Go Where the Action Is • Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You • Talk About Comedy • Think About Comedy…All. The. Time.
You may think I don't have any talent. I guarantee you I had no talent. None. I couldn't sing, I couldn't dance, I couldn't act. I didn't know how to think of jokes or tell jokes or do anything. I just started doing it because I liked it. And I can remember, I accidentally got a job writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. I know that sounds crazy. But I was just a student doing my little comedy act, and I'd written some creative writing nonsense stories. And I submitted them through a friend, and I got hired. And I remember-- because they wanted young people. That was the mantra, you know. Never trust anyone over 30. So they wanted young writers, and I just got lucky. Lucky. And I remember the first day. You know, Mason Williams, the head writer, came over and he was looking at something. He said, OK, now here. Here's your punch line, and I'll just get you to circle it. And then, you draw this line over here, and you just put it at the end. Oh, so that punch line goes at the end. All right. Got it. So don't be intimidated starting with nothing. In fact, if you start with nothing, the work-around can lead you to originality. So the fact that I didn't dance didn't stop me, because I could fake dancing. I could fake dancing and make it funny. And I could fake singing and make it funny. If I had been a real singer or a real dancer, I'd be a real singer or a real dancer. Now, I realize a lot of you people are sitting out there, saying to yourselves, Steve, how can you be so fucking funny? [VIDEO PLAYBACK] There's a gimmick. There's a gimmick to it. I'm being honest with you, there's a gimmick. Before I come on stage, I put a slice of Bologna in each one of my shoes. So when I'm on stage, I feel funny. You know what I mean? People come to me and they say, Steve, is there some way I could be funny, too? [END PLAYBACK] I was thinking, what are the qualities that qualify someone for show business? And I thought, one of them was, when I was starting out-- when you see someone on stage or you see a show, do you think, I wish I was up there? Or if you're a writer and you watch a movie, and you say, I could have written that. That's one thing. Another thing is, are you an introvert? Because many comedians I've talked to, with exceptions-- Martin Short, certainly-- start out as introverts, and this is a way to become something onstage and to get attention. And it just means that there's this well of subconscious that you're suppressing, because you're shy. But on stage, you get to bring that out. What is it? That's the big challenge. What is that mysterious well inside you that you can let out? A friend of mine wrote me, that I went to high school with. He said, I want to be a comedy writer. And I said, well....
One of Steve’s first gigs was at the drive-in movies. When the audience liked a joke, they honked. In this comedy class, Steve shares insights from performing for cars and humans over a 50-year career spanning sold-out arenas and blockbuster films. Learn how to find your voice, gather material, develop an act, and take your comedy writing to the next level.
Steve Martin is thoughtful and inspiring. He shares his insights in a deeply humble and encouraging manner. I believe he genuinely wants his students to take the lessons he offers, use them, and do well. There is room for everyone willing to put in the practice and work to be a success!
We live in amazing times where learning from the best is so accessible. There’s nothing better than being inspired all while learning. So grateful.
Many different things. I'm starting to write a comedy. "Starting" is the hardest part and hearing great writers like Steve inspires me....closer to the computer. :)
Great insight! The only thing that could have made it better is if you were to ship Steve Martin to my home, but sadly social distancing has made that impossible. That darn COVID!