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  • September 20, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 20, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 20, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
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  • September 25, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 25, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • September 26, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • September 26, 2014 8:00 pmA Very Nice Comedy Show
  • September 26, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 26, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • September 27, 2014 7:30 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 27, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • September 27, 2014 9:30 pmThe Comedy Works
  • September 27, 2014 10:00 pmComedy Sportz Philadelphia
  • September 27, 2014 10:30 pmImprov Comedy: PHIT House Teams
  • October 2, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 2, 2014 9:00 pmThe Comedy Attic
  • October 3, 2014 7:00 pmThe Comedy Works
  • October 3, 2014 8:00 pmThe N Crowd
  • October 3, 2014 8:00 pmCrazy Cow Comedy
  • October 3, 2014 8:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
  • October 3, 2014 9:30 pmFigment Theater: Sessions @ Studio C
AEC v1.0.4

Discussing a Bit with Matt Holmes – Premise

by Matt Holmes

In an HBO comedy special called Talking Funny, Ricky Gervais welcomed Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K. for a discussion. The topic of “premise” came up, and they cited its importance. They highlighted that Chris Rock will be blatant about it, even literally saying the premise and repeating it again and again to punctuate his point.

Rock says that if it’s not working, it’s not working because the audience doesn’t understand the premise. Perhaps the difference between a real pro and an amateur hack is the talent, time, effort, and finesse involved in crafting a clear premise.

You have to have some kind of premise to play. A good comedian will let everybody know what it is that we’re talking about. It could be acted out scenically with characters or told as a story through observations or monologues. It could be a topic explored from different angles. It could be a running gag. It could be another scenario that serves as another example.

In comedy, the premise answers the question, “What’s the point?” It’s what you “get.” It’s why I should pay attention. It’s what helps you do more on the joke, what helps your scene partners build on it, what helps you fine-tune it.

If it’s not clear (for you and for the people watching you), it’s going to be harder than it should be. It can be easy and fun, but you have to have some kind of premise to play.

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