Changing My Stand-Up Comedy Goal

Over the past two months, I fell into a trap that every experienced comedian warned me about when I started back in October: the trap of not writing new material.

I realized that I was in a trap this morning when I listened to The Duncan Trussell Family Hour featuring Joey Diaz. They spent a good amount of time talking about work ethic and discipline. The interesting thing was that Joey Diaz didn’t think he had a strong work ethic, per se, because he enjoyed the writing process…me too.

How I Fell Into The Trap

prince of persia death

Over the past little while, I had a laser focus on crafting a five-minute set that would kill at the Hard Rock Cafe and on my television performance on Late Night With Matty D. To be fair, the feedback from those shows has been excellent, and I’m glad that I spent a lot of time manicuring my material for those shows.

However, I can see the future. As requests for me to perform come in more often, I realize that I’m going to be asked to do longer and longer sets. New York and California aren’t that far away, and I need to be ready. I need to become a killer. Most importantly, I have a deep desire to be a killer. Good thing I can press any button to continue, eh?

Pivotting My Goal

stand-up comedy goal setting

My goal during the past two months: Do well (get laughs and have people come up to me after a show) 8 out of 10 times I’m on stage.
My new goal moving forward: Do well (get laughs and have people come up to me after a show) using improvisation, crowd work, new and old material 8 out of 10 times I’m on stage.

I think that the adjusted goal reflects the well-rounded comedian that I would like to become. I’m not upset at my old goal; pivotting can be one of the most useful parts of the goal-setting process (just ask Instagram).

How Do I Do That?

Alas, a goal without a plan is merely a dream. How am I going to come up with the next round of applause-breakingly good material? A writing blitz. For the next 20 days, I’m going to write new material and develop older bits, and I’m going to publish this work on the blog. I’ll call it, ‘The 20-Day New Material Challenge.’

In addition, I’m going to be taking this new material to the stage. Now, since I will also be focusing on building up my improvisation and crowd work muscles, there’s bound to be some uncomfortable times ahead. There will be times where I don’t get laughs…ok probably a lot of times where I don’t get laughs.

But hey, my goal isn’t just to write a killer five, ten, or fifteen minute set. My goal is to be a killer with all of the tools of the trade at my disposal. When the call to do an hour comes along, I will be ready.

Truss me,


About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for
This entry was posted in How To Be A Comic, The Art & Science of Comedy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Changing My Stand-Up Comedy Goal

  1. Good luck on your goals brotha! Keep writing and writing and I am sure that you will come up with more killer material. Looking forward to some more new videos.

    Also, almost forgot. FIRST!

    • Hey Mike!

      Thanks for the words of encouragement! Yeah, as soon as I pick a few new bits to take on stage, I’ll definitely start putting up some of the new videos. I’m almost over this bronchitis.

      I’m looking forward to more videos from you, too! That one you had from Singapore was straight fire!


  2. Lwam says:

    Way to go Michael! It’s inspiring to see your focus and hardwork!

    • Hi Lwam!

      Thanks man! Of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, two come to mind:

      • Begin with the End in Mind
      • Put First Things First

      Lately, I’ve been spending a bit too much time talking about comedy instead of practising comedy itself. It’s a product of my neurotic nature, I think.

      But then I thought, ‘What is practising comedy?’

      • Writing? Yep.
      • Stage time? Yep.

      But what kind of stage time? Oh, stage time means improv, crowd work, and working on new material while honing old material.

      A lot of people say that you should focus on mastering a five-minute set in your first year, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I talked to Jon Schabl about this, and he said,

      What do you do when you’ve done every room in Toronto twice with the same material? Start writing new stuff.

      I’m really happy that I have comedians like yourself to run with. Looking forward to fun times at, ‘Lwam Makes you Laugh Or Dies Trying!!!’


  3. Pingback: Fat Guy Signs Up With | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  4. Pingback: Day #4 of My 20 Day Writing Challenge: Sorry Guys, I Lied | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  5. Pingback: Not Just Broke…Phone Bill Broke | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  6. Pingback: My First Multi-Level Marketing Meeting | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  7. Pingback: The Multi-Level Marketing Meeting | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  8. Pingback: Olympics Joke | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  9. Pingback: How To Take Material To The Stage | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s