While at a comedy club, you may have noticed the comedians often end their sets rather abruptly. Although you enjoyed the night of humor, you are left wondering why it ended like this.
The focus of a comedic set is the jokes and how they are told. Comedians end their sets with what they believe to be their funniest joke for the biggest laugh. This keeps the emphasis on the jokes and keeps the audience laughing all the way to the end of the show.
Each comedian will end their show slightly differently from each other; however, most follow the tradition of an abrupt ending. Although this ending may feel abrupt, there is actually a good reason behind it. Learn the best ways to end a comedic set and why comedians use them below.
As mentioned above, each comedian will end their show slightly differently from one another. However, some comedic conclusions are more common than others.
Most comedians end their sets with comments of gratitude. These comments may include something along the lines of "thank you and goodnight."
Although these sudden comments of gratitude may feel like an abrupt ending, they do not comprise the entire conclusion. In fact, the majority of the conclusion takes place before any comments of appreciation.
Listen to the last bit of Brian Regan's comedic set in the video below!
Brian's conclusion appears to end with just a "Well, that's it from me. Thanks, folks!" However, there is actually much more important content that makes up this set's conclusion.
As you watch the clip again, pay attention to when Brian ends the set. He ends his set while the audience is still laughing at his last joke. In fact, this last joke is the conclusion of the show.
Listen to the last joke a comedian tells and take note of what topics it discusses. In this case, the joke has to do with people acting like animals. If you go back throughout the entire set, you will find hints of this subject or subsections of the topic.
Comedians ensure that their final joke relates to the entire set in some way. In doing so, the joke essentially summarizes the entire set, bringing it to a close. In addition to relating to the entire set, this joke needs to be one of the funniest of the night.
As the final joke of the evening, this will be the moment that the audience remembers. By using your funniest joke of the night right at the end, people remember the entire set as humorous.
Using the funniest joke of the night, Brian knew that the audience would be laughing. While the audience is laughing, he ends his performance with a thank you. Ending the set while the audience is still laughing makes them feel like they laughed the whole set.
As well as making the audience feel like they laughed until the end of the set, this tactic also leaves the audience wanting more. If the audience wants more from you, they are more likely to come back for more of your shows.
Although it may feel like the comedian is ending their set in the middle of the jokes, their actual conclusion is more than just a simple thank you. The conclusion of the set is the joke that ties it all together.
How to End a Comedic Set
Are you working on starting your stand-up comedy career? Not sure how to end your set? Well, you have come to the right place!
First thing first, have you written your closing joke? This joke should relate to the entire comedic set and produce a big laugh from the audience. If you already have this joke written, great! But if you are still working on the comedic closer, we are here to help.
Start by analyzing the current material you have planned out. Find the funniest bits of material from both the beginning and the middle of the set. You will use this material to construct the final joke. This will ensure that your comedy set unites nicely.
When constructing the final joke, do not settle for a subpar laugh. This joke should be the funniest of the evening. This is the moment that the audience is going to remember. Ensure this joke will produce the biggest laugh of the night.
Once you have your set written, practice it several times. As you do so, you may find that certain jokes do not sound right or do not fit with the night's theme. If you find any jokes that fall flat or content that just otherwise does not work, edit it out!
Having fewer well-written jokes is more important than having more poorly-written ones. If your set ends up being a few minutes short, take longer pauses for laughter or fill in the gaps with some jokes that work better.
Be sure to practice your entire set in front of people before performing it on stage. As you do, watch their reactions to certain jokes. If you find a joke absolutely hilarious but your test audience does not laugh, remove it from the set. When practicing in front of people, do not skip any jokes or details. Be sure to include every detail of the set, even the comments of gratitude at the end.
If you skip over parts while in practice, chances are you will skip over them the night of the performance too. Make sure your comedic set is perfect by practicing it perfectly! After practicing several times in front of people, you should have a refined comedic set sure to make anyone laugh. If you changed any jokes, double-check that your final joke still relates to the theme.
If it does, great! But if the concluding joke no longer seems to fit with the rest of the night, revise the joke and practice it again.
Keep practicing until every part of the set is perfect. Once the set is perfect, it is time to start performing! Find an open mic night or get a gig at a comedy bar. No matter where you perform, your hard work and preparation will make for an easy ending.