Our auditions are a lot of fun, and many people just come to watch and support. If you’re thinking of auditioning though, we’d encourage you to do so. These are the main points that should help you in preparing your two minutes of original comedic material.
First: Remember that you have two minutes to audition, and going over time is like the kiss of death. We will have a timer to let you know when your two minutes are up, so make sure your audition doesn’t go over (even if you have to sit down mid-sentence). Also, don’t forget that people will be laughing, which will make your audition run longer, so it may be wise to allow some time for that.
Second: A lot of talented people audition for DC and it’s usually a very difficult decision process. There are many ways that people can set themselves apart though, so try to find what sets you apart and then show it.
Third: Stand-up. Many people audition with some kind of stand-up routine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but please know that DC doesn’t do stand-up comedy, we do sketches. So, the stand-up routines that catch our attention are the ones that show what you can do, not just that you’re funny. For example: If you’re telling a story about how your mom accidentally shrank your lucky t-shirt in the wash on the day of your big test, don’t just tell us about it. Show us. Become your mom, show us your reaction to the now miniscule shirt as you pulled it from the dryer. Let us see your range of talent and humor.
Fourth: Be prepared. Come ready to show us what you’ve got. You get a lot more notice if you’re polished and gave it some thought.
Fifth: Stage presence. Average jokes can get big laughs because the person delivering it has good stage presence. Grab the audience’s attention. There are many ways to do this, so find what works for you, and remember that stage presence doesn’t mean you need to be loud or crazy. You can keep an audience’s attention without ever speaking (Current cast member Jeremy Warner never said a word in his audition piece).
Sixth: Original material. People have been/will be disqualified after giving great performances because they took someone else’s idea. Don’t do it.
Seventh: Ideas. Coming up with ideas can be tricky sometimes. A strong audition often comes from someone who takes something we’re all familiar with, but looks at it from a new angle that no one had considered, but can instantly appreciate. For example: We all can appreciate the inherent humor of having to take an audio tour of the library as freshmen. But what if we give the audio tour a mind of its own and it leads freshmen into diabolical traps and awkward situations? You’ve taken something we’re familiar with, and twisted it a little so that it’s fresh and unexpected. You’ll notice lots of things like that when you start to look for them. There are also plenty of things that no one has pointed out yet, but when we see a comedian reenacting it we say “That’s exactly what it’s like.” Best advice to help generate ideas: use your imagination.
Eighth: Impressions. If you can do some good impressions, more power to you. But be careful to show us that you yourself are a funny and clever person, not the individuals you’re impersonating. Example: If you’re doing a Jimmy Stewart impression, don’t just recite the script from “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Instead, show us Jimmy Stewart doing and saying things we haven’t already seen him do, like working the cash register at Taco Bell. Jimmy Stewart saying the word “Chalupa” = hilarity.
Ninth: Get feedback. Divine Comedy gets feedback before every show, as do other sketch groups like Saturday Night Live. The reason for this is because sometimes we may think something is funny, but for whatever reason, it needs some help. Many times, a few simple adjustments to your script may be all it takes to transform a sketch from average to brilliant. It may be the addition/deletion/modification of a line or even a word. Maybe adding a pause in the right place, or using a different facial expression. Sometimes you may need to scrap the script altogether. Performing it for your friends/family/strangers on the street can help you gauge how funny your material is and identify potential weaknesses.
Tenth: Have fun with it. Most everyone feels nervous about auditioning. Hopefully by the time the audience laughs at your first joke, you’ll be comfortable and really able to go all out. The audience will feel you relax and be all the more apt to laugh at your jokes. Performers should enjoy it as much as the audience.
Good Luck! We’ll see you at auditions. And remember, everyone is welcome to come to the auditions, so even if you’re not auditioning you’re more than welcome to come support those who are. (September 6th and 7th, 151 Tanner Building 151, 8-10pm both nights)