How to Become A Comedian

Comedians tell jokes on stage and put together performances that leave the audience in fits of laughter. To become one, you do not need any formal education or particular training. Although, studying about theater, film, television and the performing arts can help you properly understand the ultra-competitive world of showbiz.

What you do need is a great sense of humor, top-notch observational skills and the confidence to perform in front of hundreds (or even thousands) of people. There are also certain courses and acting programs available that can help you prepare for a career in comedy. If that is something that resonates with you, then you might want to consider becoming a comedian. This piece has some important information in this regard.

Should I Become a Comedian?

Comedians, especially standup comedians, tell jokes and create hilarious routines to be performed on stage. They also compose humorous scripts for cinema, television and stage productions. Comedy clubs, casinos, night clubs and production studios are some of the places where comedians usually work.

Many professional comics also choose to specialize in a particular subfield of comedy like satire, parody, physical comedy, improv comedy, standup routines, prop-based comedy, etc. If you believe you have what it takes to become a successful comedian, then you should not hesitate to pursue your goal. The information provided in the table below can give you some pointers on what being a comedian entails.



No binding requirement; a formal degree (Bachelor’s or Master’s) in Theater Arts/Drama/Acting can be helpful in learning the tricks of the trade.

Major Requirement


License / Certification



Key Skills

  Critical and Creative Thinking, Active Listening, Social Perceptiveness, Speaking, Reading Comprehension, Oral and Written Comprehension, Speech Clarity, Observation, Communications and Media, Memorization, Oral Expression. (Actors)                                         

Mean Hourly Wage (2019)

$29.14 Per Hour (Actors)

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

1% (Actors)


      Sources: O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Comedians

As per information made available by the US BLS, work opportunities for Actors will experience a 1% increase from 2018 to 2028. This expected rise in jobs will primarily depend on the growth of the film and television industries. Location will also play a role in the availability of work opportunities.

In 2019, California was the biggest employer for Actors with 19,470 artists on its books. New York (7,440) and Illinois (3,950) were the next best sources of work. With regards to compensation, North Carolina was the highest paying state with an hourly mean wage of $33.81. This was followed by South Carolina ($32.32) and Colorado (29.92).

Steps to Become a Comedian

The following steps will help you become a Comedian in the United States.

Step 1: Obtain Some Formal Education

There are no binding educational requirements to build a career in comedy. However, most people who enter the field do so with some formal education under their belt. Taking courses in the performing arts, television, film, acting and mass communication might do you some good.

Some educational institutions offer comedy and improv acting classes. These provide training in developing comic styles, writing jokes, and creating stage personas among other things. Moreover, you can also enroll for any certificate/diploma program being offered at a performing arts academy.

Step 2: Find Work

Once your specialized education and training is completed, you can start looking for work as a professional comedian. You can take the standup route and begin by performing gigs at comedy clubs, casinos, bars, night clubs, etc. Or, if you prefer to venture into mainstream media, then there will be work opportunities available in both film and television. You can take up on-screen roles in movies and sitcoms or even become a comedy writer whereby you will be creating scripts for different kinds of productions.

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