Some hosts may get nervous while recording. Those hosts need to learn how to relax while recording. If they were to learn to relax, that makes their podcast better. A better sounding podcast will lead to more listeners. Comedians use techniques before they go on stage to relax. A host can use some of these techniques to relax before recording a podcast.
I will not be mentioning specific names in this chapter.
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These are methods found during research. They are not recommended, but I found them.
A comedian mentioned in an interview that they get nervous before performing. They said to calm down, they have a Xanax prescription. Before they go on stage, they take one.
Many comedians drink before they get on stage. Some comedians would do late-night interviews drunk. Drinking relaxes the muscles, which makes people calm. One comedian said they are not funny sober.
Some comedians smoke or ingest marijuana before going on stage. Marijuana decreases anxiety. They smoke or eat marijuana before going on stage to help them relax.
A few comedians will smoke cigarettes on stage.
Not Much Effort
Any of these methods do not take any effort to implement. Any comedian can find these substances for when they need them.
Many comedy clubs serve alcohol and allow smoking in the venue. Some comedians take advantage of these rules. They smoke and drink while on stage. This helps them relax while on stage. When they get nervous, they can focus on their substance for a second.
These methods alter the mind. After taking them, a comedian might have trouble remembering their material. This is a problem because more important than delivery is the actual material. If a comedian cannot remember their material, no one will know if they are funny or not.
Might Sound Worse
Some of these substances might make a comedian sound worse. Any substance that needs inhaling may cause problems with a comedian's voice. The substances could ruin a comedian's delivery of a joke while they are on stage. If the joke relies on the delivery, this could be a problem for a comedian. Some substances might cause permanent damage to a comedian's throat. Which could end the comedian's career.
Rely On Outside Substances
All these methods rely on outside substances. This will cause problems if a comedian cannot find any substance before going on stage. Their performance might not be as good. Worse, they might not even be able to perform. Many comedians travel from city to city performing. A comedian might rely on one certain substance to be able to go on stage. They will run into problems if, in one city, they have trouble getting that substance.
All these substances cost money. A comedian might need to spend more money on the substances then they make for their performance. This can cause problems for the comedian in many circumstances. A comedian might not have enough money to buy anything. If they do not have enough money to buy the substance, their performance may suffer.
These substances are addictive. A comedian might become dependent on a substance. Becoming dependent will cause problems for a comedian more than performance issues.
Ones A Host Can Use
Complete Focus On Material
One comedian before they perform will only focus on their material. On the way to the comedy club, they drive in complete silence, no radio. When they get to the comedy club, they do not talk to anyone. This allows them to get into the mindset for performing. Once they get off stage, they go back to normal. A host can use this because they have total focus on material. If they record an episode in the morning, the material is the focus until recording gets finished. During the morning routine, a host can practice material for the podcast.
Another comedian yells at anyone before a performance. Yelling reduces tension in the muscles and helps to relax them. A host can do this because they can yell before a podcast recording. A host can scream before hitting the record button. As soon as they finish screaming, that relaxed energy will carry them into a recording.
I emailed a comedian that I knew did not drink or smoke. I asked him how he relaxes before going on stage. He said "Just really look at the crowd before you go up. Tell yourself they want to see you. You are lucky you are going up. Take that in"
For a host, what that means is to look at the statistics for the podcast. Remember that people are willing to listen to the podcast. Do not let those people down and give them the best effort. As well as people may not be there to listen to a host. But if they do not leave, that means they are willing to listen to the material.
Some comedians will memorize their material. If they get nervous on stage, they do not have to focus on what to say. Having it memorized means that they are going through the motions of saying it. Another benefit of memorizing the material is a comedian can get in a flow state.
One comedian has a routine that they do every time they perform. They grab the same sandwich from the same store, before every performance. The routine gives them a sense of security and familiarity. Allowing them to relax. A host could develop their own sandwich routine. Their sandwich might be coffee or pizza. Food that they enjoy but will not ruin their performance.
Do Not Care
Another comedian said that the way they get over their stage problems is to act like they do not care. When they cared about the performance, they got nervous. Once they started pretended to not care, their performances got better. They said they would treat their special as if they were doing a performance in a regular comedy club. Giving them the confidence to perform at their best.
Hot water relaxes the muscles. Taking a hot shower before a performance will help a comedian relax. One mentioned that before they perform, they take a hot shower. When they are performing in the comedy club, they shower before driving to the show. Some venues have a shower for them, and they can take advantage of that. A host can do the same exact method. If they record in their house, then they shower before. If they record a studio, they can shower before they drive over.
Strengthens Mental Health
Building their own habit without a substance builds mental toughness. A comedian might even not need their own method after doing it for years.
These methods are activities that a comedian has to do on their own. Which means that they can focus on them anywhere. They can use the methods in San Jose or New York.
Takes Time To Develop A Habit
These methods are habits. 30 days in a row will build a habit. Habits are not created overnight. To develop a habit takes focus. One method might not be the one that works the first time. A comedian might have to try many different methods to find the one that helps them the best.
People Might Make Jokes
Comedians that do not use substances before performing might get made fun of. The comedians that use substances might be the ones making jokes. A comedian has to learn how to deal with this. One idea is to make fun of the others back. Another idea would be to study those comedians' performances. Watch for how well they are doing. If a comedian making fun and does not do well. Take pride in the fact that their substance of choice might be the problem. As a comedian that does not take those substances, that problem does not exist.
3 Different People
One comedian said that they focus on three people in the crowd and only those three people. One person on the left, one person in the middle, and one on the right. They switch off between each person. They do this because by focusing on these three people, it looks like they are focusing on the entire crowd. For a comedian to stare in one direction, the whole time looks bad. A host might use this technique if they are hosting a live podcast recording. During the recording, they could pick three people.
The goal of this chapter was to give hosts an idea for methods of relaxing. Professional comedians use the methods mentioned. If these methods work for them, then most likely they will work for hosts as well. If a host does not like any of the methods discussed, they can create their own method. Someone can use the chapter to create their own relaxation method.
This post is an excerpt from the Open Podcast Community book. The book is available for purchase here.