It's simple mathematics. Fortunately, you can still calculate your PAR even if you got an "F" in algebra. All you need is the God-given monkey ability to click buttons and respond to sounds.

The basics

When you are performing your act for an audience, two important and easily identifiable events occur:

1. You communicate to your audience
2. Your audience responds (or doesn’t respond) to your communication

In the broadest terms, audiences do not respond while the performer is communicating, nor does the performer communicate while the audience is responding. Of course, sometimes there is overlapping. The point is that each of these things can be measured. What you want is an act where #2 is happening (in a positive sense) as much as possible, and #1 is not taking up all of the time. Poor comedians spend most of their time talking when they're on stage (#1), whereas good comedians spend much of their time enjoying the audience's positive reaction (#2).

It's about duration

All comedians know that some laughs are bigger (or more intense) than others. But the intensity of laughter is kind of hard to measure. It's pretty difficult to measure the intensity of laughter, especially when it's coming from a crummy audio recording.

However, measuring the duration of laughter and other positive audience responses is much easier. If you are having a mediocre set, you may get some laughter, but it dies down before too long. But if you are having a great set and the audience is loving you, the laughter tends to last much longer. This extended duration of the laughter represents a direct reflection of its overall intensity. In other words, you CAN measure the intensity of the audience's laughter indirectly by measuring the duration of the laughter.

So now it's just a matter of measuring the amount of time that you are having a positive response in comparison to your total time on stage. You begin counting when the positive response starts, and you stop counting when it ends. The problem with that is, who wants to sit there and do a bunch of counting followed by a bunch of math? You don't have to. That's what Comedy Evaluator Pro is for.

What the numbers mean

The PAR Index is the percentage of time your act produces PAR. A PAR Index of 20 means that out of each minute spent on stage, 12 seconds (or 20%) is spent enjoying your audience's favorable response. So how do you know if 12 seconds is good, bad, or average? Well, you compare it with the really good comedians who you want to emulate. If you idolize George Carlin and would like to have the kind of impact he has with audiences, find out what his PAR is. That way, you know what to shoot for.

We've already done some of the work for you. (Check out the PAR of the Comedy Stars page.) At minimum, your goal should be a PAR Index of 30 or greater, because that's the minimum that headliners are getting. What does a PAR of 30 mean? It means that, for each minute you are on stage performing, an average of almost 20 seconds results in laughter or applause from the audience.

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