Stand Up Dictionary

ad-lib:  to improvise a joke not normally in one’s set.

back of the room: a joke that gets a better response from the other comedians in the room than the audience; a joke that is meant more for the other comedians than for the audience.

bit:  a short routine or a section of a routine.

bombing: to have a really bad set and no laughs.

callback: a joke that refers back to another joke performed earlier in the show.

catch phrase: a comic phrase that becomes extremely popular (ex. Rodney Dangerfield’s  “I don’t get no respect!” )

closing line: the last joke in a comic set that usually gets the most laughs.

crowd work/spritzing: working the audience and talking to them.

feature/headliner: the last comic on a comedy show who closes the show.

grinding: the act of hitting a lot of open mics and shows to refine material.

hack: a comic who performs unoriginal material and claims it as his own.

heckler: a rude and loud audience member that interrupts the show.

killed: to have a really good performance.

M.C.: The Comedian that starts the show and introduces the other comedians on the show.

middle: the second comedian in the standard three comedian show.

one-liner: a joke made up of only one or two sentences.

one-nighter: a gig that’s not in a comedy club which only lasts one night.

open-mic: a show made up of amateur and professional comics.

punch line: the final phrase or sentence of a joke or story that is meant to get the biggest laugh.

riffing: a comic and another comic interact in a freestyle bit.

ripping: to verbally attack an audience member or comic who has heckled you.

segue: transitioning from one joke to another using a similar word or subject.

set: a comic’s routine performed on a show.

showcase: when a comic performs in front of industry people or potential clients.

stage time: something you should never go over (the length of time you are given on stage).

tag or tag line: a second punchline said after the first punchline.

timing: the pacing, rhythm and tempo of a comic’s delivery of  jokes.

parallel thinking: when two or more comics come up with the same bit without having seen the other comics do it.

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