If you are an aspiring comedian hoping to master impressions, you may find that it is really a challenge. If you are hitting a wall when it comes to improving your impressions, you may need to really think outside the box to bring your routine to the next level.
If you are hoping to improve or you are really stuck when it comes to perfecting your impressions, there are several ways you can improve. Consider the following as you aim to get better at your impressions and really amp up your comedy routine:
Practice the Voice
A huge aspect of any impression is the voice. If you are already well-versed in impressions, you have probably already studied the voice of the celebrities you impersonate. You have probably closely examined the accent, pronunciation, and speech patterns of your subject.
To improve your impression even more, break your study down even further and focus on specific words, repeated patterns of speech, and any verbal tics your subject may have. From there, practice, practice, practice. Practice in the mirror, record yourself so you can hear your own voice mimicking the other voice, and practice in front of trusted critics (friends, relatives, other professionals). The more you practice, the better you will get.
Practice the Body Language
While the voice and verbal idiosyncrasies are important in any impression, the body language, including facial expressions is just as important. Like you did for your voice practice, take your body language practice to the next level as well.
If there are videos available of the celebrities you impersonate, study those and notice how they carry themselves, walk, and place their hands. Notice their facial expressions and if there is anything about their body language that sets them apart. As before, practice this in the mirror or video yourself so you can see how you are doing.
To bring your act to the next level, consider adding props. Can you dress similar to your celebrity? Do they always wear a specific style of hat or shoes? Do they do their hair a certain way?
Anything extra that you can incorporate will add to your act and hopefully up the laughs from the audience. Props can also be exaggerated or over-the-top to amp up the funny.
Watch Other Comedians
Another way to improve at any craft is to observe other professionals. So take some time to go to shows of other impressionist comedians or watch videos of their performances.
Take some notes on their techniques and use that to improve your own routine. Even if you don’t get any great new ideas for techniques or impressions, at least you will be creatively inspired and refreshed.
Attend and Participate in Stand Up Events
Another way to improve your routine is even more practice: get out there and perform! Sign yourself up for some stand up events in your area and try out your developing routine on different audiences.
This also has the bonus benefit of allowing you to observe the comedians performing before you and after you. So you have all the benefits of practicing your routine in front of a live audience, as well as getting to watch other comedians perform their craft and take some notes.
Finally, use all of your practice (performing for friends and at stand up shows), and incorporate the feedback you’ve gotten. If certain impressions or jokes fall flat, see what you can do to improve them or drop them all together and add more of the impressions that get the most laughs.
Comedy can be super fun, but it is also a lot of work to perfect a routine. Practice as much as possible and incorporate the tips above to really bring your impressions to the next level.