Branding, Storytelling, Strategy

What We Can Learn About Storytelling from Stand-Up Comedy?

Storytelling is foundational to marketing—from helping pack up and present a brand’s identity to connecting different messages on a web page. To get to the true essence of storytelling and what helps it endure, just turn to stand-up comedy. There’s no other popular form of entertainment that boils down to purely talking. Let’s explore the ins and outs of stand-up for optimizing your marketing stories.

What Goes Into Comedians’ Stories?

The most successful comedians know how to use storytelling to captivate an audience. That’s why even if you don’t find a particular comic laugh-out-loud funny, you can still be completely enamored by what they’re saying based on how they’re saying it. From great pacing to relatable details, there are a variety of ways and styles to keep audiences attentive.


Especially with stage-time limitations, stories let comedians string together more jokes with less exposition. When telling your own stories, it’s essential to keep things streamlined and not rely on saying the same thing over and over again in a slightly different way. Be concise and make your story memorable.


For comedians, balancing the right amount of punchlines with the right amount of details is essential. When structuring your own stories, be considerate of how you’re balancing what you want to say with what you need to say. Otherwise, you risk your audience tuning out just before you stick the landing.


Ensure that your stories have a steady, building momentum while still feeling natural. Comedians know how to weave in the right details at the right time while also knowing when people need moments of pause and reflection. Even if a story is more experimental, there needs to be a compelling, thoughtfully designed structure that keeps the reader moving.


Comedy feels extra special when it perfectly captures something we’ve felt or thought about ourselves. With your own stories, tap into relatable, everyday experiences that humanize your products, services and/or brand. This will increase the staying power of even your most simple messages.


Comedy also comes from pairing the expected with the absurd. Sure, you can always follow a story to the natural point of progression that everyone expects. But if you’re not risk-averse, sometimes, a left turn when people expect a right can be a great way to ensure memorability.

Lessons From The Pros

While “best comedy storytellers” is subjective, here are a few learnings from some standouts.

1. It’s possible to break down complex points in a conversational way

2. Tough topics can feel approachable with the right touch

“My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.”

Maria Bamford

3. Even the most mundane-sounding thing or event can be entertaining

4. Creativity can have wide appeal in the right context

“I like to use ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ on my toast in the morning, because sometimes when I eat breakfast, I like to be incredulous. How was breakfast? Unbelievable.”

Demetri Martin

5. Make comparisons that anyone can pick up on

6. Fully commit to your style and language choices

“One time a guy handed me a picture. He said, ‘Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.’ Every picture of you is when you were younger.”

Mitch Hedberg

7. Vulnerability can be fun and refreshing

You don’t need to be a natural comedian to be a great storyteller, but these tactics will improve your storytelling in any format or setting. Boost your marketing strategies even more with our blog on how to do “scary” marketing outside of October.