Stand-up comedy can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. Some of the most seasoned comedy club veterans still report bouts of anxiety and stage fright when they hit the stage. Since there is nothing in the spotlight besides the performer and a microphone, comics need to find sharp focus before they walk out in front of a crowd. Finding the right mindset is essential to a comic’s success, and as such, many stand-ups adhere to a strict pre-show ritual.

These rituals vary wildly from comedian to comedian. For some, the solitude of an empty dressing room is key to prepping for a great set. Others study their prior work, breaking it down like game tape, hoping to improve their transitions and rhythm. There are comedians who go for sensory overload, depending on music or human contact to provide a soundtrack to their preparations. Let’s take a look at how some of the best in the business prepare for the hard work of being funny with these Pre-Show Rituals of Famous Comedians.