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Most Popular Ways Comedians Find Material

The most famous comedians make jokes about their personal life, politics, stories of family and friends, dating, and their appearance. The salary of a stand-up comedian is surprisingly high, with a median annual salary of $82, 867. If you’re considering a career in comedy or maybe you’ve hit writers’ block and are looking for new ways to come up with material, here are the most popular ways comedians find material and five ideas to get your pen flowing.

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Relatable Experiences

One of the most important factors of any joke is that it is relatable to the audience. Think about your experiences to try and come up with a funny concept. It could be something simple, such as a too-close encounter with a TSA agent, checking out at Walmart, a blind date gone wrong, or your first time camping. You can also use experiences your friends have had. If you feel an honest laugh when recalling the time, you can probably make a joke about it.


Comedians are some of the most observant people. Work on this character trait and your writing will improve immensely. Closely observe those around you, their body language, reactions, tone, and emotion. If your father-in-law is constantly crabby, perhaps limps around with his cane while muttering nonsense under his breath and his wife cheerfully ignores him, you might discover the humor in it and a joke rather than just becoming irritated at the behavior. Being observant can also help you deliver a joke and punchline much better than without it.

Watch the News

Just like every other profession, you must stay up-to-date and current with trends of your business. The news and pop culture will provide a variety of possible jokes and keep your material relevant. Rocky Dale Davis, a regular at the Comedy Cellar in Las Vegas, is a great example of a comedian who keeps his material fresh and current with the times.


Excellent comedy writers regularly make time, at least a few hours a day, to sit and write out all of their ideas for future material. Lists can be very helpful to organize your thoughts and to come up with new ideas. Start by making a list of things that make you mad, what you think is wrong in the world, things you would change about your personality or body, things that irritate you about your family, and activities you dislike.

By Watching Other Comedians

Watching other comedians at local improv, comedy clubs, and even through streaming services, will generate an influx of ideas for your own original material. Just as you observe people and your normal surroundings, observe how a comedian uses rhythm, what they do to set up a good joke, and how they deliver punchlines.

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