Lloyd Hollett is one of the UK’s most sought after comedy entertainers. Billed as a “comedy wordsmith”, he is currently on an exclusive 18-month contract for Warner Leisure Hotels. Hollett has supported Jim Davidson on 10 separate UK tours as well as supporting the late Paul Daniels and Sean Hughes. Last year he toured the UK as Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz. This Christmas he will star alongside Stephen Mulhern at the Marlowe Theatre Canterbury in Evolution Pantomimes’ Dick Whittington, his 13th consecutive pantomime. Here are his five tips for comic success…
If it makes you laugh, it will make your audience laugh. I only do jokes and routines that make me laugh.
If you’re booked for a 10-minute slot, do 10 minutes. I was once booked on a charity concert that was already overrunning and I was given a 10-minute slot. The crowd was so great that I got lost in the moment, and when I came off stage I was told, to my horror, that I’d done 25 minutes. I was mortified. Toyah Willcox, who was following me, had to cut her act short because of me. Since then, if I’m booked for five minutes I do five minutes to the second. You learn from your mistakes.
If audience members know won’t be picked on, they tend to relax more and enjoy the performance more overall. So know your audience and adjust your act accordingly. Check out the average age range of the audience, for example, and take that on board before you open your mouth. It does make a difference.
If a gag or routine frequently gets complaints, replace it with something that will go down better. It’s my best tip for making your act stronger. The rule of three is useful too. Ken Dodd famously tries a gag out three times to three different audiences before he decides whether or not to keep it. I do the same and it’s a great method to try new material.
It’s amazing how easily most gags and routines can be slightly altered and adjusted to bring them up to date and make them more current.