On the hunt for comedic monologues with awesome opening lines ...
Hello actors! You've come to the right page.
If you’re on the hunt for monologues that start strong and don’t suck and also make people laugh, that grab their attention quickly and sear the image of you into their hearts and heads, that get you called back and cast … then frankly you’re like every other actor except smarter ... much, much smarter. Why? Because you found this page and you’re reading it!
In my article Monologue Writing 101, I list a bunch of elements, many of which tend to be present in the monologues that are successful with audiences. Among those elements is the “hook opening” – a line or few opening lines that grab the attention of your audience and gets them leaning forward in their seats, captivated by you know who. That’s right, you.
Why are hook openings crucial?
Think of it as “the five second rule” of acting. From the second you begin speaking, your auditor’s attention is like a delicious double chocolate chip cookie that has just been dropped on the floor. If you don’t get that cookie off the floor within five seconds, all is lost. What you need is a monologue with really, really fast reflexes.
Fortunately for you, I went on a hunt for such agile monologues. I was looking in particular for ones that both “had me at hello” and also made me chuckle. I have to tell you, it was not easy finding these for you. I travelled a great distance across the vast expanses of my living room over to my bookshelf … on the way I was nearly impaled on three, maybe four separate occasions by various high heeled shoe monsters which seemed to have escaped from my wife’s feet in an attempt to stop me. But I was not deterred! And so below you will find the spoils of my hunt. I hope they help you on yours!
Best Contemporary Monologues for Kids Ages 7-15. (Grown-ups and older kids there’s stuff for you too, just scroll down past this section)
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf by Daniel Guyton. Comedic. Male, age 8-9. Page 16.
It starts intriguing and full of energy with "I saw one last night." Saw what? Your audience will instantly be wondering. You'll engage your senses (and your audience's senses), you'll hear howling. You'll see vividly what looks like a dog. But then you'll feel a rush of fright as you realize it's standing on its hind legs ... and its wearing a bowling shirt! Author Daniel Guyton in the first three sentences of his monologue gives you a strong start right out of the gate. Highly recommended. Preview the monologue here (page 2). Get the full play from Pioneer Drama Service! Get the monologue collection here.
The Children's Crusade by Jenny Lyn Bader. Seriocomic. Male or female, age 12. Page 24.
Open with a compelling argument that's funny! You'll start this monologue by explaining to a parent that James VI was Scotland's king at one year old, Louis XIV France's king by five, so why can't you ride the bus at 12?! Within seconds you establish a clever character who knows her history and isn't afraid to use it! Get it here.
I Hate Math by Connie Schindewolf. Comedic monologue. Male, age 12. Page 52.
Well, the name of the monologue is also its first line. For anyone who ever struggled (or is struggling through) a math class, this monologue is instantly relatable. The monologue gives you a clear person to address, your guidance counselor, and a clear objective to pursue which is to make your counselor aware of the crazy conditions under which you're expected to learn math so that hopefully your counselor can help change things for the better. Get it here.
In The Picture by John Levine. Comedic monologue. Male, age 13. Page 62.
A boy rehearses his Bar Mitzvah speech in his room. It begins funny as he tries various ways to announce "I am a man." He tries loudly declaring it, even singing it like an old blues singer. Gives an actor a fun, upbeat, slightly vulnerable and high energy opening to his audition. Get it here.
Little Mr. Wonderful by Ben Clossey and Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky. Comedic monologue. Male, age 13. Page 85.
When you begin your audition by saying your little brother is "king of the world" you're likely to get a laugh right from the start. This funny monologues gives you plenty of comedic gold to mine as you explain how your little brother can do no wrong and you can do no right! You'll also come across as a good hearted, loving big brother. Get it here.
Laestrygonians by Don Nigro. Comedic monologue. Female, age 10. Page 69.
You will come off as a spoiled, brilliant girl intelligent and sophisticated far beyond her years. This is a period piece set in 1912. A perfect, humorous monologue if you are auditioning for a comedy set at the turn of the 20th century. Get it here.
The Mad Genius of Shufflebury Central School by Luc Reid. Comedic monologue. Female, age 8-12. Page 87.
Start your audition funny by declaring that your guinea pig "Mrs. McPickles" has unfortunately lost her life in a tragic but daring attempt to take a rocket ship that you invented into space. Sure, maybe you should not have been experimenting with nuclear fusion in the school cafeteria, but you are a young woman of science! Playing this slightly goofy and brainy dreamer is a great way to show you can do funny. Get the monologue here.
Volcano on my Face by Connie Schindewolf. Comedic monologue. Female, age 13-15. Page 136.
Imagine you woke up with "the biggest zit on the planet" on your face! This is an age old problem teenagers world wide have struggled with since the dawn of time. The monologue handles it in a fresh, cute and silly way - exploring a teenage girl's feelings of angst and total devastation as she thinks about how this zit could basically ruin her life. Get the monologue here.
Audition Monologues for Young Women: Contemporary audition pieces for aspiring actresses.
Rhyming and Driving by David Moberg. Seriocomic. Female, adult. Page 19.
It starts with a rhyme "And then he died and I never cried." An intriguing hook that pulls you in. The monologue infuses humor into a dramatic situation of self defense in the face of domestic abuse. Recommended if you want to show range, raw emotion and strength. Available in the monologue collection here.
Dating Hamlet by Bruce Kane. Comedic monologue. Female, young adult. Page 20.
In this monologue you get to play a contemporary reimagining of the character Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet. You'll grab their attention by opening with the famous "To be or not to be ... " and quickly segueing into a comic rant about how this deeply indecisive guy is unable to commit to a relationship with you. Get it here.
The Blahs by Shirley King. Seriocomic monologue. Female, young adult. Page 27.
This bittersweet monologue starts with a funny word for sadness "the blahs," a condition for which you are being treated. Soon we realize that you are using incredible strength of spirit and humor to combat way more than "blahs" as we realize you are facing a serious illness with bravery and heart. Available in the monologue collection here.
When it Rains Gasoline by Jason D. Martin. Comic and touching monologue. Female, teen. Page 47.
Starts funny with a very raw, vulnerable moment. It's about a cheerleader who wishes the world was fully of happy pink bunny rabbits! As we laugh in the first few moments we realize under the humor there is a gravity. Her dreams of happy pink bunnies while amusing, have a pain underneath. Why is she wishing for this absurd, perfect pink world where every bunny has a loving mate that never hurts them or leaves them. And then we find out her boyfriend got her pregnant and she's left alone to cope with it. Excellent writing here. Get the monologue.
Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang. Comic monologue. Female. Page 70.
There's something disarming and very funny about the simple opening of this monologue "Well, I'm dead." Sometimes the simplest language, the most straightforward word choices are the funniest. "Well, I'm dead." It just hits you. The character, Veronica goes onto explain how she got to be dead. The reasons why she is dead are bizarre and hilarious. Durang is genius, you can't go wrong with this one. Get the monologue in the collection here. Or, better yet get Miss Witherspoon the play - it was a finalist for the Pulitzer!!
Men & Cars by Diane Spodarek. Funny female monologue! Character is an adult woman, Maggie. Page 94.
Play a sassy musician named Maggie who has a fascination with watching men and their cars. Right from the top, we know she's spunky and different. She's got this fascination the way men are fascinated with their cars. The writer deftly works this premise, giving you plenty of different moments and reactions to play. If you're an intelligent, observer of people, you'll relate to Maggie and your audience will surely be drawn in. Get the monologue.
Sister Santa by Jim Chevallier. Masterful comedic monologue! Monologuist is an adult woman. Page 142.
This monologue could potentially be at "Durang level" on the laugh-o-meter. You're in good hands with Jim Chevallier's comic take on a woman who doesn't really like kids, but needs the money at Christmastime so she takes a job as Santa at a mall department store. Hook opening? You bet, premise is instantly clear and funny within seconds. Santa is of course supposed to listen to the children on his lap and encourage their Christmas wishes. Not sister Santa, oh no. Before the kid on her lap can get a word in edgewise, she starts ball busting, suggesting he's about to ask her for a bunch of obnoxious things. Imagine Melissa McCarthy in this role, she'd kill it, and you'll have an idea of the tone. Jim's monologue is featured in the same collection by Gerald Ratliff shown above. He has also kindly posted it on his own website.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang
If you are looking for hilarious monologues, Christopher Durang's plays deliver big. His play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike has won a slew of prestigious theatre awards including the Tony for Best Play in 2013, Outer Circle Critics Award, Drama League Award for Best Production of a Play, Drama Desk Award for Best Play, New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Production and it goes on and on!!!
Career Disappointments, Pages 25-26, Middle Aged Woman
Disarm your auditors by getting them to chuckle at the top of your audition with this monologue from Durang's hit play. Studies actually show that laughter causes learners to absorb and learn more effectively - with this monologue your auditors will learn how awesome YOU are ; - ). As the character of Masha, you'll start by talking about your own career disappointments then deliver a surprise comic insult by deftly shifting the idea of disappointment from your career to your sister Sonia's entire life. Durang's dialogue is filled with comic insult whack-a-mole's like this one, that pop up unexpectedly but brilliantly and deliver a chuckle to your audience. Start this monologue on page 25 with the line "Well, it's not as if my life has been without disappointments ..." and end on page 26 with "You can talk at 4:30." Cut the lines of other characters interjecting in-between, but DO take a split second to play the moment when Masha hears what they're saying so your next line plays as a real reaction to the unseen person on the other end of your monologue. Preview on google books. Get Durang's hit play here.
Named After Checkhov Characters, Page 11, Middle Aged Man, Character of Vanya
Start this monologue with the hook opener "It's been our cross to bear that our parents gave us names from Chekhov plays" on page 11 and end on the same page with "I was 7." Cut the interjections by other characters in-between. You can perform this little attention grabbing monologue in under a minute for those auditions requiring brevity (and levity). But don't be fooled by its length. Durang is economical with his words while plumbing the depths of fairly well realized characters with truthful emotional lives. In this monologue, as the character of Vanya, you will explore the challenges you faced growing up with difficult and somewhat unhinged professor parents. You'll dig into the absurdity of these parents of yours who would name you and your siblings after the character's in Checkhov's plays. You'll express the insecure attachment you felt - having had parents so wrapped up in their life of the mind that they barely paid you any mind. And when they did pay you attention, it was to fly into rages at you for such unforgivable offenses as mistaking the title of a Moliere play for one by Neil Simon! Durang has a recurring theme in his plays of being in close relationships with overbearing and often unstable parents and loved ones. He makes his audience feel what it is to have your emotional needs in the hands of people who vacillate between eccentric kindness to offhand cruelty. His execution is linguistically lean, clear, simple and a vehicle for delivering fairly raw emotional content. The laughs that Durang's plays generate tend can be deep, guttural and cathartic which is no wonder why the play this monologue is from received such raves. Preview on google books. Get the play.
The Weather, Page 75, Female, Any Age
In this superbly absurd weather forecast, the audience quickly realizes that despite your upbeat demeanor, the meteorological conditions you are predicting are downright catastrophic. Could be played very cheerful, typical of meteorologists who tend to be jaunty and friendly, while you share an absolutely atrocious near apocalyptic forecast for the day. Preview on google books. Get the play.
I Used to Lick Postage Stamps, Page 78, Male, 50's.
Right from the top, you establish yourself as a person not impressed by the multi-tasking ways of those whose lives are "abuzz" with "electrical communication" (emailing, tweeting, texting, etc.). You long for the days when people took their time and wrote letters. YOU used to lick stamps for goodness sake! This monologue can be as short or long as you need it to be; it's one of the longest speeches the character of Vanya gives in the play. Interrupted by just a few interjections from others over the course of 5 pages you can easily get five minutes here if not more. Preview on google books. Get the play.
Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang
"May I see Saint Peter" page 35, female, mid forties to late fifties
Well, you're dead and as a person who lived life as Christian you're annoyed to discover that reincarnation is a thing. You expected that when you were dead, you stayed dead. You didn't think you'd have to go back. This funny monologue explores concepts of the afterlife. Preview on google books. Get the play.
"I have a problem with ..." page 36, female, mid forties to late fifties
This monologue's opening line is guaranteed to grab attention quickly. In this monologue the character of Miss Witherspoon questions the very foundation of the religion she was brought up in. Preview on google books.
"Now you see we started out life brutally ... " page 58, female, mid forties to late fifties
In this one minute comedic monologue you'll trace the path of humanity as we progressed from lawless brutality to modern civilization and you'll conclude we're not progressing fast enough ... we have to go faster. Heavy stuff, humorously handled. Preview on google books.
"It's not my place to fix the world ... " page 57, female, mid forties to late fifties.
If you're looking for a 30 second monologue that's funny check this one out! Preview on google books.
Comedic monologues with awesome opening lines from the play Over the River and Through the Woods by two-time Tony award winning playwright Joe DiPietro.
"Did any of you take into consideration how your sneaky little plan ... was infringing on my life?" Preview this monologue for a male in his thirties on google books here. Get the play here. See page 28 of the play for this monologue.
"You expect too much." Preview this monologue for a woman in her seventies on google books here. Get the play here. See page 37 of the play.
"Your grandmother lived in this fourth floor walk-up not far from here" Preview this monologue for a male in his seventies on google books here. Get the play here. See page 38 of the play.
"Every Christmas morning there would appear ... this sea of vendors ... like a rainbow of toys." Preview this monologue for a male in his eighties here. Get the play here. You'll find this monologue on page 40 of the play.
"I caught my flight ... And two days later, A fifteen pound lasagna arrived for me in the mail." This heartwarming monologue for a man in his thirties is on page 49 towards the bottom of the page. Get the play here.
"I achieved what my grandparents considered the greatest accomplishment known to man: I married." You'll find this heartwarming and uplifting monologue for a man in his thirties on page 51 of the play here.
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for her play 4000 Miles, Amy Herzog's ear for dialogue (and monologue) is impeccable.
"I mean, we kissed, lots of people were kissing, it was like a spontaneous kissing convention ..." Great monologue for a young male actor in his early twenties. So Leo and his adopted sister had a strange moment where they kissed ... awkward, yes ... but is it really the reason she's in therapy as Leo's mother insists? Suggest starting this comedic monologue with the line "I mean, we kissed..." on the bottom of on page 28 and ending with the line "...out of that house!" in the middle of page 29. Suggest playing your (aka Leo's) incredulity at the absurd assumption by your (Leo's) mother that one kiss with your adopted sister somehow single handedly (or smooch-edly) sent your sister over the deep end into a full blown identity crisis. The more the humor in this monologue comes out of your genuine frustration, the funnier it will play. Herzog's comedy has heart. Her funny comes from a very honest, truthful, genuine emotional place. Preview on google books here. Get the play here.
"Western Kansas is like ass flat .." So this is one of those monologues that starts light and funny with humor and then punches you in the proverbial gut with tragedy. This is the big cathartic emotional center of Herzog's play and a big reason why it got that Pulitzer nom IMHO. This is where Leo, who is still able to exercise his wit and humor at the top of the monologue, tells us how his bike ride across country turned to tragedy and he lost his friend. Funny, tragic, potentially tear inducing if you nail it. This little bit of writing here is straight up the stuff actor's dream of. Monologue is performed by the character Leo, a young male in his early twenties. Suggest starting it on the middle of page 53 with the hook opener "Western Kansas ... ass flat ..." and end with "takes him off the road" on page 54 if you want to keep it short. However, if you really want your audience to sit in the tragedy and trauma at the core of this play and have them (and you) absorb and experience the emotional impact even more fully, go another paragraph through the bit about the Tyson chicken PR person and end with "camera on the ground" on page 54. Preview on google books here. Get the play here.
I Ate the Divorce Papers
It's Terrible Being Nice
Hit and Run
Fire the Boys
Grow Up Humanity
New Year's Wish
Quiche isn't Sexy
The Matzah Thief
Death by Peanut
Surrender my Love
Space is Nicer than Here
My Father's Blue Eyes
Breaking Up with Brandon
I Kissed Marisa
I'm More Man than You
The Farting Yogi
12 Years Wise
The Gratitude List
Indestructible Super Puppies
There's No Place Like Oz
Don't Blame the Muse
A Good Pudding
I Meditate Wrong
Sleepless in Sukhasana
Welcome to FLY Yoga
Ken Doll Theft
Bell Shaped Body
Frightening Wonderful Thing
The Fact Checker
Honey I'm a Leprechaun
26 Year Old Bar Mitzvah Boy
The Cheese Robber
Grow Up Humanity
The Burger Addict
Road to Ruin; Paved with Kittens
Nice Catch Chuck
Best Lazyboy in the Galaxy
Roadrunner Never Looks Down
White Whale of Hotness
Indestructible Super Puppies
Good Humor Man
My Dad's so Uncool ..
We're All Kings
Saint Peter the Cheater
Sleeping with Sleep
Monologues from Plays