I have often asked how much totally new material do you actually put into your “new” show? I am going to give you a few of my own personal insights into this area as “food for thought” for you to consider.
First, you CAN recycle an old show if your intended audience has not seen you. With a few tweaks you can make the show fit a school theme ( good character, anti-bully, etc.) or work for a library show (promoting books and reading), and still use almost all of the original show material. Since this audience has not seen you, anything you do will be accepted. It’s the repeat dates that will have you working extra hard.
My dad, who was an excellent salesman, always told me “anyone can sell something ONCE”, and he is right. The mark of real pro is who can devise something new and make it work as well as he original, “first” show you had previously performed.
The more you work, the more you will get to know the likes and dislikes of most of your audiences. Once you are on track with a particular audience (adult banquet/ kidshow/ church show or whatever) you will know what they are looking for. My rule of thumb is to try to have about ¾ new material in a routine and then work in some previously used material and mask it by changing a word or two. You KNOW these audience-tested jokes work and they will work again even if changed slightly. When you incorporate these jokes in your show with new ones around them the older jokes will give some support to your new material and then you can decide whether or not to take out the older jokes after a while. By adding new material around a previously used joke the audience will often not recognize that you borrowed from last year’s show.
I also like to take a chance and try a completely NEW routine on audiences. I usually like to sandwich this new routine in the show around some old standby bits that I have used to great success in the past. Once again, the key is to bolster up the new by surrounding it with some good audience – tested material.
Find what’s comfortable for you, but be aware that the client booking you wants you to be funny. Original material is only as good as the “funny” in it!
To contact Mark Wade: firstname.lastname@example.org