Saturday, May 11, 2024

What Happens When Writers Think Like Stand-Up Comedians

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

My husband and I opened our Christmas presents last weekend.

You read that sentence correctly. This past Christmas, we gifted ourselves tickets to see comedian Nate Bargatze perform at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, CO on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Merry Christmas to us.

The arena can seat over 9,000 people. That night, the only other person I knew was my husband, Rob. Everyone was there for the same reason: to laugh at Bargatze’s jokes.

And sitting there laughing with all those strangers got me thinking about writing. 

Of course it did.

My husband and I bought tickets months ago for Bargatze’s show. Saved the date on our calendar. Anticipated our night out. Arrived early and stood in line to get in, even though we had reserved seats. We laughed nonstop for two hours, including Bargatze’s warmup acts. And yes, we tolerated the horrendous traffic after the show while we talked about the all-new routine Bargatze performed and listened to some of his old comedy on my phone—even though we’d just seen the guy live!

We know Bargatze as a comedian, and he did not disappoint. He delivered his trademark low-key, clean, self-deprecating, geared-to-real-life humor.

That’s what you expect from Nate Bargatze comedy.

See where I’m going with this?

One of the best definitions for writer’s voice is “Personality of the page.” Look back a few lines because I described Bargatze’s comedic voice to you:
  • Low-key
  • Clean
  • Self-deprecating
  • Real-life

He reinforces his comedic voice with how he dresses: casual jeans, tennis shoes, a T-shirt, and a jacket of some sort, usually a jeans jacket or a baseball style jacket.

Your writer’s voice is your personality on the page. With every manuscript you write, every book you publish, you develop your writer’s voice, your individuality. Your plots change, but your voice doesn’t. 

My husband and I went to the World Arena last weekend expecting to see Nate Bargatze and to hear his brand of humor. If he’d come out dressed in a three-piece suit, we would have been a little confused. But if he’d changed up his routine and told some off-color jokes or been rude, we would have been completely disappointed. I think a whole lot of people would have left wondering, “What was that?!” 

Think about this for a moment. 

Your readers learn your writer’s voice. Not only that, but they also come to expect it. When my readers pick up one of my novels, they are listening for my voice. A Beth K. Vogt book includes themes of family and threads of humor and clean romance and yes, faith—but I always say I don’t like to interrupt your regularly scheduled reading for the faith message. 

Think like your favorite comedian for moment—what you like about them, what keeps bringing you back to them—how they do humor. Now imagine yourself center stage, just like your favorite comedian. 

What’s your performance like? Who are you? 

Translate that to your writing—what’s your writer’s voice?


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She’s authored 15 novels and novellas, both contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Beth is a Christy Award winner, an ACFW Carol Award winner, and a  RITA® finalist. Her newest contemporary romance novel, Dedicated to the One I Love, released June 20, 2023. Her novel Things I Never Told You, book one in her Thatcher Sisters Series by Tyndale House Publishers, won the 2019 AWSA Golden Scroll Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people. Connect with Beth at


  1. Wow! Thanks Beth, for a fantastic and crystal clear example. :)

  2. Powerful, Beth. And most helpful. Thanks.

    1. So happy this example for writer's voice worked for you. I had fun writing the blog post.

  3. Really a wonderful reminder Beth, thanks! You're right about staying true to our voices, and not jarring our readers.

  4. It's been fun discovering my voice and staying true to it. Who knew going to see Nate Bargatze would be a reminder of the importance of writer's voice?