Assuming their existence, for the sake of this statement, the comedy gods have been good to me lately.

As I have said before, I have started the comedy year strong. And I am very happy to say that I have kept the momentum going, if not even increased it, since then.

Since February, when I celebrated my 2nd anniversary of having people laugh at me, quite a bit has happened. Thus I figured it may be time for another update. And also because I haven’t been blogging for a while and found this would be a good reason to get going again.

So, what has happened?
Well, we had a lot of great shows. People keep coming and it’s great to see that the comedy scene in Hong Kong is growing.
TakeOut Comedy has been the topic of a TV report and just recently Lonely Planet has crowned us the #1 Entertainment Venue in Hong Kong, among other top 10 spots in similar categories, including beating Hong Kong Disneyland on the Things to do in Hong Kong list.
All this certainly helped to get more people to the shows, which of course is great, because without an audience going up there on stage doesn’t really make that much sense.
And the shows were great, or, as I always like to say, tons of fun.

So the shows have been great, and I continued to have great performances and kept working on my material, polishing it some more, adding a few things here and there and getting to a point where now my default set comes in at around 10 minutes, which of course means that for a regular show I have to think about which bits not to do.
I was, however, pretty lucky over the last couple of weeks because I have been involved in a couple of our not so regular shows and also had the honor of “headlining” several shows. Headlining may not actually be the right expression here, I was merely the last comedian of the night, but as such you more often than not get a 10 minute slot, or even if not, nobody actually really cares as long as you have a great set.
These “not so regular” shows, by the way, were our monthly TakeOut Comedy All-Stars, which I have joined for the first time last month and our relatively new monthly shows at Fat Angelo’s in Tsim Sha Tsui, where I was invited to join earlier this month.

And speaking of headlining, this week we have an actual headliner in town, Mr. Paul Ogata. Back in November 2009 I have opening for Paul, and I will be doing it again tonight. As I certainly have improved my craft quite a bit since then I am sure that it will be even more fun than it was back then.
And not only will I open for Paul again, just yesterday I was also told that in July I will again be part of the TakeOut Comedy All-Stars show AND I will be opening for Wali Collins.

Despite of the recent success in comedy, with audience members quite frequently telling me that they really enjoyed my set, I still see room for improvement. There actually always is I believe.
Thus I  always look at my material and look for ways to improve it, and I am always looking for ideas for new bits to extend my material.

One thing that is important to me when looking for new material is that it’s not something completely fictional. All of my bits have originated from things I’ve seen, heard or something like that. And yes, somewhere in Hong Kong there really is a girl with a shirt saying “Please do not follow me.”
The reason for this is quite simple, it is easier to form material people can relate to when it’s based on something real than when it is totally made up. Of course I exaggerate the initial idea for comedic effect, or add fiction to fact, but there always is the true core which the material is based on.
And, in my option, when people can relate to material it’s easier for them to understand my point and laugh about it.

Another thing I firmly believe when writing comedy is that when you start out with a new bit it’s always too long. There is always too much explaining or pointless talking included, which of course does not serve any purpose but wasting everybody’s time without benefiting the bit.
Thus I actively look for ways to make my material tighter. Making my bits just as short as necessary, while not losing their meaning, enables me to do more bits in a given time frame and thus get laughs at a higher frequency. It’s a win-win situation. The audience gets more opportunities to laugh, and I am happy about the audience having a good time, and I get more time to stand on stage without having to say anything.

Coming to an end I can only repeat what I said before. Doing stand-up comedy is a crazy experience. It’s a wild ride and I love every minute of it. Now I am looking forward to tonight, to opening for Paul Ogata. Not only to seeing his new material, but also to learn from his experience, from the way he performs and maybe find a way to benefit from what I have learned to further improve my comedy.
And of course I am looking forward to July, but I think that’s a story for another time…

Thank you!
Dennis Wronka

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