Day 2: Phil Hanley

Chances are we share a sense of humor. So each day this month I’d like to give you a stand up comedy break by sharing a set I personally enjoy and, as a comedy nerd, tell you why. Here’s some reasons why I think this 2012 set from Phil Hanley is great:

• NO FAT. The laughter keeps building because Phil doesn’t waste words. Audiences reset if given the chance, but by keeping the gap between punchlines at a minimum, he never lets them.

• OPEN STRONG. Crowds don’t know if you’re funny until you are, so the sooner you can establish yourself with a joke, the better. Phil’s opening line establishes his stage personality with a laugh, and his second line is a tight misdirection joke contained in one sentence. The crowd’s delighted, and the laughs just keep building afterward.

• CALLBACKS. Watch the full set, and you’ll see how cleverly the jokes Phil plants early on sprout again later. I always feel like callbacks give a sense of coherence to a set’s construction and, in this case, a sense of closure too.

Hope you like it as much as I do and follow Phil on Instagram: @philmhanley