1. Walk in with super high energy. You want to get the audience’s energy as high as possible. This decides the tone of your event.
2. Begin by saying “Hi everyone, we have a really great show for you tonight.” Make sure you are wearing a smile and that you sound genuine.
3. Get the audience to applause again with something like “let’s clap it up for yourselves” or “Who’s happy that it’s a Friday night?”Unless you get an amazing response, say “I know you can do better, let’s try that again.” It indirectly communicates to the audience that you’re in total control.
4. Go into crowd work or either ask the standard questions like “Where are you from?”, “What do you do for work”, etc or try to come up with more interesting questions which you need to be prepared for, earlier. Try to make jokes about their answers, or joke about the fact that their answers are boring. Sometimes some of your improvised joke attempts might just go amiss. It’s ok.
5. Try a couple of your jokes.
6. Repeat step 4 through 6 as needed and establish the pattern or you can open with a quick joke or two (not longer than a minute) and then go into crowd work. This works better on shows where the audience is unsure of the show. The best is if you have crowd work questions that will lead into your material. Example: “Anybody married in here? Oh yeah, how long?
7. Get a final round of applause, then bring out the next . Example: “You guys are great. This is an awesome show. Are you ready for your next comedian?” Make sure the comedian’s name is the last part of their introduction. You want to say “This next comedian has been on Comedy Central please put your hands together for John Doe.” Don’t say “Your next comedian is John Doe, he’s been on Comedy Central.”
8. When you come on stage in between, ensure a super high level of energy to keep the audience in their seats and excited about what is going to come up next. First say, “how about another round of applause for [person’s name].” Then either go into a joke or some lines, or just introduce the next person or programme.. BONUS: If you can come up with a quick one or two line comment based on the last act’s closing bit, that’s a great way to keep the show feeling connected and as one.
9. Most important, the emcee has to be a person. You can’t talk at people; you have to talk to them. This applies to regular stand up spots as well, but especially if you’re the host. If you don’t get too many laughs as a host, but your energy is positive and you’re smiling the whole time, the audience is totally relaxed and engaged and the first bit goes well, then you did your job even if you don’t feel great about it.