Talk show hosts have a strong stage presence.
The camera rolls. The audience watches. The movie star sits down. And the host does the rest. Talk show hosts entertain the world and interview the most famous people alive. Hosts must be laugh-out-loud funny and great at talking to total strangers. They must be exceptionally hard-working and reliable enough to do a daily show for many years. Above all else, they must be able to market themselves and their guests. Those who can develop that much skill, commitment, perseverance and luck can become talk show hosts.
Build Talk Show Host Skills
1. Practice making people laugh by going to local open mic nights and improvising monologues. Perform at comedy clubs as often as possible and create new material on a daily basis to test on your friends. Most successful talk show hosts, including Jon Stewart, started as stand-up comedians.
2. Learn interview effectively. Volunteer to interview people for a local newsletter or paper; write questions that will encourage your subjects to think outside the box. Use body language to put guests at ease, so they are more likely to open up.
3. Develop rapport with an audience. Perform your comedy routines and interviews in front of friends or a camera. Project your voice, use hand gestures and turn your head to include the audience in the conversation while maintaining an intimate tone with the guest.
Create a Home Talk Show
4. Set up a small film studio to shoot a talk show for the web. Place a desk and two chairs in an otherwise empty room. Set up a microphone over the desk and a camera in front of it.
5. Find guests for the show. Cold call local personalities and offer them web exposure in exchange for their time (if necessary, call their publicists and set up an appointment). Work around their schedules and take whatever you can get.
6. Write the show. Develop a monologue and several skits, working with other writers if necessary. Schedule the interview halfway through the show and have extra skits in case a few don’t work out in front of the audience.
7. Get a live studio audience. Ask your friends and family to come to the taping or put an ad in the paper advertising it. Encourage your guest to bring audience members as well.
8. Put on the show! Have an experienced cameraman film it. Improvise new jokes if any of the skits or interview questions fall flat, but above all, keep the audience engaged and interested.
Market the Show
9. Publish the show. Use a film editing suite to cut out mistakes, jokes that fell flat or other dead time. Once you are happy with the cut, upload it to a video-sharing site.
10. Email a link to the syour friends, family and connections. Encourage your guest to do the same. Promote the episode on social networking sites to get as much exposure as possible.
11. Keep producing new episodes by filming new monologues, skits and interviews as often as possible–at least once a week, ideally even more often. Post them on a regular schedule and promote them all. Over time, you will grow your audience.
12. Send clips of your sother comedians, web stars and talent agents to build connections in the entertainment industry. Emphasize your growing audience, strong guests, unique vision and mass appeal. Above all, meet as many people as possible while waiting for the right opportunity to come your way.
13. Keep producing, growing your audience and improving your skills. According to CBS, even David Letterman produced his own show for 11 years before creating the Late Show. Expand your professional network and show viewership, and eventually you will be a full-fledged talk show host.