GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Standup comedian, Dave Dyer has been owning the stage and making people laugh for the past 19 years.
And while comedy has become some what of a second language for him, even now, he puts in a lot of work before getting in front of a crowd. He says that's because there's a lot more to being a comedian than just being funny.
"You know, you hear guys say, 'well, I make people at work laugh.' Which is great and you could have funny in you, but it is totally different making a room full of 200 strangers laugh," said Dyer.
According to Dyer, the first rule of comedy is know your crowd.
"That is when you have to go through the set list and say certain things I probably won't do for this show... certain things I can do for this show," he said. "For shows like today, I have bunch of stuff I do about my kids. Well, there is certain stuff I do about my kids that will be good for the show. And there are certain jokes I do about my kids, who are now teenagers, that will not be appropriate for this show. Yep, those are out of the act."
This year Dyer is performing in about a half-a-dozen LaughFest events. Each show and its audience is different from the next. Dyer says good comedians learn to adapt
"Yeah you just learn to edit yourself and go," he said. "You really got to know your crowd and know not only what you think they are going to like before you get up there but be able to have enough material and have the confidence and experience to know when you are on stage if it is not going to work to in a different direction."
Dyer says at this stage in his career he only gets a little nervous when he's doing new material. He says most comedians have little secret few know about. Notes they carry with them whenever they perform.
"These are my notes," said Dyer pointing to several dozen sheets of paper from a yellow legal pad.
"I have from over the years and I bet that you would find a lot of comics have these with them before they go on stage. Even if they don't look at them, they have a thing of notes in their pocket. It is kind of a security thing," he said. "I know my act backwards and forward, but every now and then you have to just to kind of reassure yourself."
Surprisingly, how a comedian looks is just as important as what a comedian says. So before a show, Dyer tailors his attire specifically for his audience.
"This is my LaughFast garb," he says joked while revealing a LaughFest Tee Shirt underneath his button down shirt. "I've got sort of a Superman thing going on. If I open this up, I've got LaughFest here. But, if there is any trouble I can just let people know... back off."
He says he typically wears jeans or khaki pants and a tee-shirt. However, when doing an engagement in front of a business or more formal crowd he trades in his casual clothes for dressier garb. However, the veteran funny man says the single most important thing a comic has to do to be successful, is whatever it takes to connect to the audience.
"Yeah. It is a lot of everything. You've got to be worth watching on stage," he said.