Your Introduction Can Make or Break Your Set

Picture this situation: you’re a comic or a corporate speaker and you’ve spent hours and hours prepping your act or speech, and now, the big day has arrived and it’s your moment to step on stage.  The emcee/host takes the mike and says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, have you watched “The Tonight Show” or “The Daily Show?” Well, this next comic.... watches them too!”  Now, you’re going to have to spend the next ten minutes of your presentation or act trying to win over an audience that now thinks you’re a nobody.  In other words, whether you’re a comic or a corporate speaker, you can’t leave your intro to the imagination of an emcee. They usually don’t have one.

Here’s a few tips on how to prevent a bad intro from ruining your gig:
  • Always come to your gig with your intro typed in huge letters. A lot of emcees don’t wear their glasses on stage. Make it easy for them to read your intro especially if they are over 40.
  • Tell the emcee not to improvise, just read it.     
  • Work in a joke into your intro. When speaking, I have a little joke at the beginning that tests the temperature of the audience. If they laugh during the intro, I know it’s a hot audience. If they don’t, I usually readjust my set since this audience is going to need a warm up.
  • Put your impressive credits right up front.  If you don’t have credits yet, find something that could impress the audience even if it’s from another field or your mother.
  • Give the audience an idea of what they can expect. I.e. “One of the top political satirists” or “Stress reduction expert.”
  • End with your name and if your name is anything other than Judy Carter, then spell it out phonetically.
  • Especially if you’re Polish. It’s horrible coming onstage to the wrong name.
Still need some help writing your emcee intro? Use mine as a template:
Our guest speaker is Judy Carter, Goddess of Comedy -- but she says we can just call her…“Goddess.”
You will probably recognize Judy as she has done comedy on over a hundred TV shows.  Her company Comedy Workshops in Los Angeles trains stand-up comics and speakers who want to get laughs rather than yawns.

As an author, Judy doesn’t like to brag, but she did write the Bible. No joke, she’s the author of “The Comedy Bible” which was featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where Oprah recommended the book to anyone who wants to lighten up. Judy will be signing copies of her book after her talk.

Judy writes custom comedy material for CEOs, Senators, speakers and celebrities including Diane Sawyer.  She is a sought after speaker for Fortune 500 companies where she shows how humor techniques can help reduce stress and improve the bottom line.  Her message of using humor as a business tool has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Success Magazine.
Her talk today is titled – “Getting What You Want Before You Forget What It Is.”
Ladies and Gentlemen… Judy Carter.


  1. Great post! I have never done stand-up but have thought about trying it and this is one aspect I have never really thought about. Thanks again!.


  2. I wish I had read this post about three months ago. I had to learn the hard way about nearly every point you have made but have finally mastered the art of the intro.

  3. That intro is way to long and I wouldn't have
    Funny things in a intro. Thats a important
    time to give a performer creditably and a joke
    could lessen that . Plus I wouldn't use the performers
    name in the intro until the end of the intro.Audiences
    don't want to much intro , just whats needed to
    Set up the performer. The longer the intro , generally the worst the comic . Great comics don't worry about
    intro cause they know their show will make people forget the intro. Give a city your from , a credit or two and your name, that's all that's needed


Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.