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Your career in comedy

Could comedy be your new career?
Do you have the ability to make people happy? If your witticisms and wisecracks cause hearers to hold their sides and cry tears while laughing, and you believe that you have what it takes to be successful in comedy, there might be no time like the present to begin planning your new career.

Locally, comedy has slid into its own slot, with the Ity and Fancy Cat Show attracting solid viewership.

General Manager of Television Jamaica, Kay Osborne, stated in late March that comedies on television consistently deliver large audiences. "The most successful local comedy show to date is Ity and Fancy Cat, which debuted in 2008 and has had two very successful (13 weeks) seasons, with the last season (2009) becoming one of the most popular shows on television."

In Britain, The Telegraph reports that sales of comedy DVDs have been soaring as Britons try to "laugh off their sorrows".

The British Comedy Guide reported in December 2009 that the DVD market in that country is as healthy as ever, with comedy shows and stand-up comics dominating the DVD charts in the run-up to Christmas.

In Jamaica, data from the All Media Survey, 2009, done by Market Research Services Ltd shows that foreign comedies are also exceedingly popular on television, with the following results:

Fridays at 8 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris attracts 350,000 viewers.

Fridays at 8:30 p.m. The Game attracts more than 300,000 viewers.

Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. Girlfriends attracts 233,000 viewers.

Girlfriends is up against CVM's local entertainment show On Stage, which attracts 275,000 viewers. "Considering that it's a local show versus a foreign comedy, this says something about the power of comedies," Osborne notes.

Successful comedians reports that top grossing comedians are among the most successful entertainers.

The magazine notes that although Jerry Seinfeld's television series hasn't served up a new episode in almost a decade, he is still America's top-earning comedian, earning $60 million in a year. Stand-up comedy has also has become a lucrative alternative.

Locally, on TVJ, comedies on television consistently deliver large audiences. Ity and Fancy Cat Show is a Jamaican television programme that is mostly performed before a live audience. Last year, the show became more strongly focused around national figures, including politicians who are often lampooned.

Tips for succeeding at a career in comedy:

* suggests that preparatory tasks for the aspiring comedian will involve choosing which styles of comedy are best for you.

*You will also need to prepare for the stage - including what to wear and how to work with a microphone - and find comedy classes and coaches.

*As a comedian, you will also need to hone your writing of comedy or find good sources of jokes from freelance writers and other sources.

*The working comedian will also need to learn how to promote himself or herself with materials, including headshots, demo tapes, a bio, a press kit.

*You will also need to locate audiences as you work on building your popularity and name.

*Potential markets include comedy clubs locally and worldwide, resorts, cruise lines, comedy festivals, corporations and colleges.

*You may also find that a manager or agent is very useful in getting engagements for you on a consistent basis.

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