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3 Unforgettable Digital Writing Lessons learned From Stand-up Comedians On An Open Mic Show

I learned so much that could be applied to digital writing.

Photo by Chad Stembridge on Unsplash

Recently, I had been to an open mic stand-up comedy show.

I learned so much that could be applied to digital writing.

You might be well aware of stand-up comedy as an art form, let me give you a quick idea about the open mic events.

Open mic comedy events are where comedians try out new material. Both new and old comics get equal time and opportunity. They test their jokes on the audience and edit their set.

It means, if they see a particular joke working well, they immediately add it to their final or next draft. If they see a joke that doesn’t get any laugh, they cut it out.

The videos you see, or the live comedy shows are the final drafts of tried and tested jokes. Some 10-minute clips have taken a months of work, sometimes more.

Being a stand-up comedy geek, I was well aware of the process. But being there was a different experience.

Here are some lessons learned:

1. They embrace the imperfect draft

When they’re performing, they know that the jokes aren’t mature enough yet, some are not good. And, some are amazing. But how would they know if they never shared with an audience and received feedback?

If they get a laugh, they learn and double down on it.

In digital writing, if you keep your write-ups to yourself, and don’t publish them, how will you learn if the write up actually good or bad?

You need to embrace imperfection and publish it first.

2. They are okay with no laugh

This was the biggest realization for me. All of the comedians, one comedian in particular were trying out jokes that didn’t get any laughs. The audience was dead silent. It was just me smiling for the love of craft and respect for the artist.

But the comedian kept trying out. He started with some and when it didn’t work, he casually joked about how his jokes weren’t working and kept trying other jokes.

When you are writing in the digital world, you will have times, especially in the beginning when you won’t get any response. You’ll hear crickets. You need to be okay with the silence after publishing. Even the best writer has articles that don’t get enough attention.

3. When you find something that works for you double down on it

I asked the host of the comedy show, how many of the jokes he did were the first time. He said the ones that didn’t get laughs were all new. And the ones that did get bursts of laughter were all tried and tested.

He used them to keep the audience engaged throughout. He knew which jokes would get the audience rolling with laughs.

In digital writing, you’ll get attention from your audience on particular topics and writeups. These are the ones you’re good at and your audience wants to hear more of. They are tested. Double down on things that work.



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Noman Shaikh

Noman Shaikh


Copywriter & Marketing Consultant | Crazy about psychology and human behaviour | Web: