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  • Richard Cunha

The Ultimate Guide to Your First Stand-Up Performance at Comedy Kiss, Zurich or Basel

Updated: Mar 29

Comedy Club room in Zurich.
Our Open Mic and Showcase room at Auer and Co, ready for you to try!

Hello! At Comedy Kiss we do the best we can to promote Humor in der Schweiz. Even though we do it in English, we're happy to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere for anyone who wants to start their comedy journey.

I'm Richard Cunha, and my life changed once I started at the Comedy Kiss Open Mic. In this post, I gathered some of the most frequently asked questions by someone who wants to start stand-up comedy or is going up for the first time.

I'm the funniest person at the office, dinner table and family gatherings. Should I do stand-up comedy?

So, does being naturally funny make you a comedian? The short answer is NO. However, it certainly gives you a head start. Being a comedian also means embracing the craft, learning the nuances of stand-up, and committing to the continuous process of improvement and adaptation.

What should I do then?

SIGN UP to an open mic right now! Just click here.

Seriously, giving yourself a deadline will get your creative juices flowing and believe me, the hardest gig is often the first one, so get yours out of the way quickly.

"But Richard, I like lists and being told what to do..." you might say, well then...

Here's a list of what to do:

  1. Sign up! Here!

  2. Did you sign up already? Here!

  3. Now that you hopefully signed up, attend as many live comedy shows as you can. Watch comedy at every level, go to our open mics, then showcases and watch the Big Comedy Kiss shows. This will give you an idea of what it is to do comedy at every level.

  4. Understand what a joke is. Learn the basic concepts such as what is a premise, setup, punchline, act out, tag and a callback, to name a few.

  5. Watch your favorite comics. Try to figure out how they do their jokes.

  6. WRITE JOKES! now you've seen it, and you understand it, time to put your funny ideas to good use and write jokes.

  7. "I live my life 1/4 of 20 minutes at a time."[REF] Fast and Hilarious. Spots are 5 min of stage time. Try to fill this time with as many laughs as you can.

  8. Sign up, AGAIN. There is no way to get better at stand-up than going on the stage, so keep at it.

If you're genuinely interested, there is no other way to know other than by doing it. So, just one more time... sign up!

Audience laughing at a comedy show in Zurich
Happy audience members! This is what stand-up comics live for.

But Richard, you told me to write jokes but this story really works at the company's parties and at my family Christmas. Should I just do it on stage?

Chances are, it is NOT going to get any laughs at a stand-up comedy show, in other words, it is going to bomb. The reason being that the general audience is not your family, friends or colleagues and does not share their sensibilities and appreciation for you. So your long story about that time in college does not hit them the same way. The way to the audience's heart is, and will always be, jokes!

Okay, but where do you get your ideas from?

At COOP in the budget section. Not really but kinda... Seriously, inspiration comes from everywhere once you adjust your eyes to see comedy in your life. This comes with experience and, again, with doing it. Initially, talk about what makes you unique, your ethnicity, upbringing, your trials and tribulations. If you really can't think of anything talk about the things you either passionately love or hate.

How to perform?

If I haven't said it enough, I will say it again, SIGN UP! We would love to have you at the Comedy Kiss open mics, but we are not the only ones either, the more comedy you do the better you get at it and the more the audience will be happy to come watch us instead of the cinema. Here's a list of all the comedy events that you can perform at in Switzerland.

How to get good at it?

Adam Bloom suggests giving yourself 100 gigs if you really want to understand what stand-up comedy is about. In between 0 and 100 gigs, you're going to find out what stand-up comedy is to you. Somewhere along this journey you will also find out how to be funnier. It is a process, be kind and patient with yourself and keep at it.

Can I say whatever I want on stage?

Yes! As long as it is funny. The catch is, you only find out if it is funny after you say it. Guess what, it often isn't.

If you're openly racist, homophobic or sexist, you won't get another spot ever again. You might as well pursue a career at your nearest immigration office.

I'm not a native English speaker, can I still do it?

Yes, please! If you're an expat, chances are that you have a fresh point of view and a fun accent, capitalize on that.


That's it for today folks. Stay tuned for more content in the future. We're gonna keep this coming and everyone is welcome to come try comedy.

Want to enjoy English speaking comedy in Switzerland?

Check out the Comedy Kiss' extensive show listings. Our recurrent shows include:

The Comedy Kiss Open Mics, every Wednesdays and Thursdays at Auer&Co, near Limmatplatz in Zurich and one Tuesday a month at Clara's in Basel.

Open Mic Poster with recurrent comedians

Loving our content?

Check out all upcoming shows here: Comedy Kiss Homepage.

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