How to Become a Freelance Comedian
Life is not a bed of roses—true, but taking the adage too seriously may cause you to lead a dull and boring life. Life is about emotions, and one such really vital emotion necessary for the development of a human’s personality is amusement. Amusement drives us to disassociate temporarily from the regular seriousness of life and find relaxation through comical adventures in life. It is this aforesaid notion that contributes to the popularity of comedians, who are gifted individuals with the uncanny capacity to lighten up moods and bring relief from mundane attributes of life.
Comedians are among the highest paid professionals in the entertainment industry. There are comedians who have international acclaim and those with geographically or linguistically limited acclaim. Whatever the extent of recognition may be, comedians command a strong presence in the world, and therefore, earn handsomely. But, it is not easy to become comedians—they are not just about jokes, which one can easily find online or through everyday conversations.
Comedy is creativity, and unless the comedian is able to creatively convey the comedy through relatable stories, there is no amusement but a farce. Therefore, if you are thinking of starting a career in comedy, you will have come up with things beyond jokes.
Freelancing can be considered a good option for comedians for many reasons: convenience, the balance of negotiation powers, more earning prospects, etc. In fact, the freelancing community is growing at a fast pace, and, in coming years, it might become the biggest community of professionals in the world. As a freelance comedian, you may have many advantages, but one cannot simply get them. There are things to be done before actually beginning a career as a freelancer. In this article, we shall explore what makes a freelance comedian successful.
There are four major points you must know before venturing out as a freelance comedian:
1. Educational qualifications required to become a freelance comedian
There is no mandatory educational requirement to become a freelance comedian. In fact, formal education has hardly anything to do with the sense of humour—all that is needed is an appreciation of facts and turning them into jokes. So, what you actually need is a creative mind to kick start a career as a comedian.
It is rare to come across employers who are looking for a comedian with a certain level of formal education; however, if comedians are sought for specific settings, for examples, a comedy night for engineering students, etc, then they may specify the need for those comedians who are well-acquainted with the life of engineering students.
Although formal education is not required, there are courses available on online and classroom platforms. These courses—usually covering stand-up comedies—are offered by a few institutes in the country and abroad. Securing a certificate in these courses will add to your resume and help you secure jobs more conveniently than others.
Apart from formal education, experience matters monumentally. It is, therefore, recommended that in the initial years, you seek training under comedians. Participate in small or big comedy events regularly and amass experience.
2. Skills required to become a freelance comedian
- Attention: A comedian may seem like a reckless, crazy individual, but he is highly attentive in many ways. It is absolutely important that you keep a watch on the mood of the audience, the timing of jokes, the manner of delivery, the response of the audience and whatnot. You cannot randomly blurt out jokes without reading the present situation.
- Fearlessness: A comedian has to attend to a large number of people. He is tasked to amuse people with varying levels of humor and tastes, and it is not easy to do that. When you are on stage, facing the audience, you may be taken over by stage fright and anxiety—things which will surely ruin your career if allowed to nurture. You must not allow your sense of humor to be affected by stage fright.
- Style: It is imperative you develop your style. It is up to you to decide whether you would go for surrealism, observational jokes, one-liners, etc, but make sure you have material on them. By material, it is mean that the content of the jokes should not be clichéd and must involve a minimum degree of creativity.
- The manner of delivery: There are many ways to deliver jokes. For example, deadpan humor which is an expressionless delivery of jokes and one cannot simply do it without practice.
- Communication skills: Comedians often have to interact with people sitting in the audience for the purpose of entertainment. During such interaction, you must exhibit adequate communication abilities carrying humorous undertones—this is particularly important for stand-up comedians, who are usually directed by the moods of and interactions with people in the audience. If you develop this skill, you will become one really entertaining comedian.
3. Work opportunities for freelance comedians
Freelance comedians can work in multiple settings: cafes, events, television shows, radio channels, etc. Many freelancers have gone online and created their own comical channels such as AIB, the Viral Fever, East India Company, etc. Moreover, comedy contests are regularly organized, and participation in such contests will boost self-promotion and may help you secure jobs.
To keep yourself updated with latest job openings, you can become a member of various freelance websites such as freelance.com, worknhire.com, upwork.com, and linked.in.com. These websites have been designed to bring closer freelancers and employers and provide them with a convenient professional setting. All you are required to do is to create an account, update resume and submit applications. While submitting an application, pay proper attention to the drafting of the proposal that states the reasons why the applicant is best suited for the job.
4. Pay scale of a freelance comedian
Freelance comedians can earn lavishly, but there is a lot of promotion and exploration needed. One cannot simply demand any sum of remuneration from the employer unless there is some substance. If you are well-established in the industry, you can earn in lacs; however, if you are a beginner, then you may have to start out with little discretion in regards to pay scale.