From Steve Martin's MasterClass

Getting Started in Comedy

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.

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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.

Steve Martin

Teaches Comedy

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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. [CHUCKLE] Oh, so that punch line goes at the end. All right. Got it. [CHUCKLE] 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] [LAUGHTER] There's a gimmick. There's a gimmick to it. I'm being honest with you, there's a gimmick. [LAUGHTER] Before I come on stage, I put a slice of Bologna in each one of my shoes. [LAUGHTER] 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....

A comedian walks into a classroom...

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.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I need to go back thru it again. There is so much material here. First time thru , I'm only skratching the surface.

Very Good Especially about paying attention to conversations - my life is a comedy - except when its not - and its even then its a comedy.

Steve is an amazing instructor and I have gained so much knowledge from his teachings. I am ready to release the funny!!

I'm so blessed to have the chance to find this class. It helps me so much to welcome comedy in many aspects of my life. Thank you so much for sharing

Comments

Sue H.

What great inspiring presence Steve has! Feel like he’s right here with me. Original can-do content. I’m convinced! Yes I think I too can be funny. Great intro to the subject and useful real world examples. Loved the short video clip of a performance-made me laugh even tho I’ve seen it before. Thank you.

Conor M.

Great lesson, reinforcing common sense, easy to absorb, and drives focus. (I'm 53, and I'm not trying to be a comedian, at least not professionally, well, at least not where they pay me, OK, I'd be a comedian where they pay me if the situation presented itself, but for now, I just wanted to see what Steve had to say. Steve, let's have lunch! But with a 3rd guy, who talks a lot, where we can insert jokes while they're trying to tell a story. Cheers- Skip

A fellow student

I am watching this to improve my teaching. Humor is a great HOOK for any lesson.

Darrick N.

Great Lesson with many key points, Thanks. I am an Extrovert and 40+...Oh well. I do live in a area that allows me to hit Detroit, Chicago and Toronto. Because they were mentioned I’ll be placing those open mic locations higher on my list, camping in alleys waiting for a spot if needed...{maybe I’ll not dress so well and make some change while I wait}. Sadly I do think about comedy ALL THE TIME. “From tragedy comes Comedy” and this world is a messed up place, why not spin it and make em laugh. Best of luck....”Talent” to everyone in the class.

Paige T.

I watched this the first time over a year ago and thought I would review it again. But I paused it and now I can’t open it. Oh technology!!!

Petra

What a hopeful wonderful class. I loved Steve's opening comments; 'there is space for you' I am interested in writing fiction and am mostly concentrating on the authors, but I stumbled on Steve's class when it popped up as a suggested playlist. I wasn't too worried about Steve's comment about 'ageing out' like others have mentioned in the feed. I just took that to be Steve expressing his own sensitivities about his own age - ratherthan him meaning if you're not young don"t bother. Look at Steve Carrell - he really hit his stride as a mature comedian. A lot of the Masterclass teachers talk about 'youth'. For example Neil Gaimon mentions 'Young Writers' all the time. I just figured they mean that you're young in your skill rather than actually young. I think as a mature person you're at an advantage because you have developed perspective and experience that you don't have when you're sub 25. The over arching message is do it. Keep going. There is space for you in the world.

Jason S.

I had no idea there was a comment/discussion aspect. I paid the $$$, so I'm gonna leave at least one. Ka-I van Morblue mentioned below that think they aged out. Me, too. I'm in my mid 40s. A lot of this class so far seems like it's directed at younger people with more life ahead of them than I. We'll see if this changes as we get deep. Mr. Martin is pleasant to listen to, at least.

A fellow student

Outstanding intro. Funny as heck. I’m very inspired. I started listening to Steve in 1977 and have been a fan forever. My name is Mike Koenigs. I’ve been on stage for almost 20 years but have never done comedy. My #1 action item idea is I reached out to a super funny friend of mine, Sean Stephenson (look him up, he’s 3 feet tall) and we’re going to meet weekly to riff via Zoom and work on a routine. Thanks for that simple idea!

Gary J.

I have been doing stand up for seven years. I headline at a number of casinos, do military shows and some corporate work. Having been an airline pilot for over 20 years, this is an enormous change for me. I LOVE bringing laughter to a country that is full of hate and anger. My reasoning for taking this class is to be taught by a pro and to get insight to become better. Be So Good They Can't Forget You

Dominic F.

I wonder if the statement "think about comedy all the time" is less guidance for aspiring comedians than it is an inherent trademark of future or current comedians.