Performing Comedy: The Energy Question

A comedian told me they are always being told they need to bring more “energy” to the stage. You hear this a lot from well-meanning comedy critics, but it is misplaced.

Ultimately you have to find and stick with your own style. Think of comedians like Steven Wright that have low or almost no energy on stage. It does not appear to have hurt him.

That said, you can vary your pacing within the range of your style. For a 45 minute set, it’s hard for the audience to stay at any one level.

Robin Williams will vary his act so that it is not 100% high-energy all the time. He’ll spend time in the middle to walk into the crowd. It’s less hectic but still fits in his style of surprise, spontaneity and improv.

So I’d say find an energy level that is natural, and then try to vary the pace, tone and audience interaction within that range.