Listening Back To Your Set

Always listen back to your sets no matter if they are good or bad. You can still learn from a great set if you pay attention.
You will always learn something from a bad set. I might listen back to my set that night on the drive home. Connecting my phone to the stereo in my car and listening while I cruise the dark freeways on the way back to my apartment. I do suggest listening maybe a day or so later. I wish I could tell you the number of times I thought I did worse than I actually did or even I thought I did better than I actually did. Reviewing it with some time between the high or low of the night helps to be honest with yourself.

I also suggest asking a comic to take notes during your set or sending them the file so they can review your set later. My friends and I
will exchange audio or video files to review from time to time. This really helps you rewrite or notice ticks you didn’t know you had.
Find someone that is honest, the last thing you want is someone to reply “Thought it was great!” with no other notes.

Take notes about your set at the moment and also notes about the room and the comics before you.
Maybe five comedians bombed hard before you. That would mean the beginning of your set is digging out of that hole and getting
the show back on track. That is a great note because if some time has passed from the show and listening back, you might be too harsh on yourself about your first few jokes or you’re set overall.

Comedy Writing Tips: Here are some to take notes on the night of the show

  • How is the room? Is it too bright? Is it too cold?
  • How long did the audience wait for the show to start?
  • How is the sound system?
  • How did the performers do before you?
  • What kind of comedy were they enjoying?
  • Does anything interrupt the show?
  • A glass drop? Did an audience member get kicked out?
  • How was your energy before you went up?
  • How was the host?
  • How was the parking?
  • Are food and drinks going alright?

All these notes will help when you listen back to give yourself honest feedback.

Zack Lyman Taproom 1227 from the Zack Lyman Podcast performing in Arizona. Talking about comedy writing tips

Video Recording Your Set

I like to video record my sets from time to time. I audio record every set, but with video, I have no plans to post all of them but hey maybe I caught lightning in the bottle that night and I have a great clip to post. That is not my goal though, the goal is to review the footage and pay close attention.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Do I look happy?
  • Am I standing weirdly?
  • Do I look interested?
  • Am I giving that joke my all?
  • Where am I looking?
  • Do I seem loose?
  • What am I doing between jokes?

I might need to watch a clip a few times to truly answer all these questions.

When Listening Back

Pay attention to how many seconds before your first laugh. I noticed in any situation when I get to that first laugh quickly it will always make the rest of the set go more smoothly. Maybe mentally I just get in the game or calms my nerves. Whatever it might be I noticed the faster you get to it the more they will stick with you and give you a chance. How many laughs did you get in the beginning? How many laughs in the middle? How many laughs towards the end? I love paying attention to where I really get them going. Then I can take that apart and see why. Maybe it is the strong jokes or maybe it was how calm and collected you were!

Here are some questions to ask when listening back to the audio.

  • How do I sound? Happy to be there?
  • How is the sound system?
  • How is my timing?
  • Am I rambling?
  • What words could I cut?
  • Am I mumbling?
  • Did I correctly tell these jokes?
  • Is this the best way to tell these jokes?
  • How was the joke order?
  • Was the audience listening or can I hear them talking?
  • Do I sound comfortable?

There are a million more questions you could be asking yourself. These should help you get going. Feel free to send more that you ask yourself when you listen back to your set. I love hearing how others review their own process.

Be okay with silence, silence means they are listening.

I would prefer to hear silence during my joke than talk. Talking means they have checked out most likely and are just waiting for you to leave. Silence means they are interested and
on board with you. Silence means you have their trust, you just need to fix some wording and you will get that laugh.

I hope you find this helpful.

Trying to step up your comedy? Check out my other blogs.
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Learn More about Zack Lyman and Zack Lyman Podcast

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