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One of the things I have been trying to tell people for years is that…

Using “conventional” joke writing methods to develop stand-up comedy material that actually works to get big laughs on stage is a lot like trying to pick your teeth with a chain saw.

But that’s what all the comedians say you have to do.

And that’s what all the so-called stand-up comedy “experts” teach — it’s all about “joke writing” when it comes to developing stand-up comedy material for the stage.

It’s basically the law in stand-up comedy. 🙂

So, for all those who are convinced that “joke writing” is the only way to produce stand-up comedy material…

The Big Question

Take a moment to answer this question:

How does “writing” anything (including jokes) — a one dimensional communication medium which is primarily designed to be “read” supposed to generate big laughs for you in a three dimensional communication medium like stand-up comedy?

Now before you answer that question, consider this (and don’t miss the video of the guy who is trying to deliver “written” stand-up comedy material):

Let’s assume that you are a naturally funny person in everyday life. When you caused someone to laugh during a casual conversation…

Was it just the words you said that made that person or group of people laugh?

I’ll bet you stopped to “write” your response or comment down and then handed that response to the person or group of people to let them read what you “wrote” — that’s what caused them to laugh, right?

Watch any headliner comedian slay an audience on stage. It’s just the words the comedian says that generates the laughs, right? Here’s an example:



Seems painfully obvious to me that there’s more than just mere “written down jokes” that generated the undeniable audience response evidenced by the video — whether you like Brian Regan as a comedian or not.

Here’s a small hint: You will notice the same sort of thing (in varying and unique degrees) in any established headliner comedian video when it comes to audience response, regardless of “style” or whether you like the comedian or not. Odd, huh?

Here’s another small hint: As you watch the video above, write down only the punchlines Brian Regan delivers to get the big laughs. You might actually be shocked at how unfunny those punchlines are when you “read” them on paper.

Here’s why…

The Missing Part Of “Funny” In Joke Writing

If you have read any books on verbal communication or body language, you will find that the vast majority of verbal communication is NOT a result of the words we say, but rather how we express those words (sight and sound aspects) in relation to:

  • Overall attitude, demeanor and affect (expression of feeling or emotion)
  • Outward appearance and posture
  • Diction, dialect, and accent
  • Baseline speech rate and speaking rhythm
  • Confidence level
  • Body language

And much more.

“Writing” on the other hand is a purely one dimensional communication medium and simply cannot convey the expressive attributes that actually give what you have to say and express to an audience its true laughter generation ability in a three dimensional communication medium like stand-up comedy (words, sight, sound) — no matter how good a “writer” you may be.

So, given the information above (all verifiable by the way):

How does “writing” jokes from a blank piece of paper supposed to help you generate big laughs as a comedian and reflect all the sight and sound attributes that actually allow you to get laughs effortlessly in everyday conversations?

Here’s a small hint: It doesn’t in any way, unless you are writing greeting cards. But don’t stop “writing” those “jokes”. It’s the stand-up comedy law, you know. 🙂

Here’s another small hint:The comedy mechanics for generating laughter on the stand-up comedy stage are EXACTLY the same as they are in casual conversations (it’s the audience dynamics that can be significantly different from audience to audience).

Here’s the last small hint: Because “writing” is one dimensional, far more words are required paint a picture, to get to the point or get to the punchline than in three dimensional verbal communication that effectively uses a combination of words, sight and sound.

One Dimensional “Joke Writing” In Action

Now let’s take a look at what happens when one dimensional “joke writing” is the focus of the stand-up comedy material presented to an audience, without proper regard to the other two critical channels of communication that give a comedian most of their laughter generation power on stage:



Hilarious, huh? Kind of like watching a comedian kill on stage, only not even remotely close.

You may not be able to see it in the video but I can: that guy has all the comedy talent he needs to kill on stage, if he just knew what he was doing and how to prepare properly to slay a crowd.

The horrible flashback for me when I watched that video was that…

Before I developed the Killer Stand-up Comedy System for myself — years before I ever wrote books about it, my stand-up comedy was on the same level as that guy (worse, to be 100% truthful).

Final Thoughts

So if you want to know just one of the reasons why truly funny individuals suck on the stand-up comedy stage, sometimes for YEARS…

Imagine trying to bake a delicious cake, but the only ingredient you have to work with is the eggs.

While eggs are a critical ingredient when it comes to making a top notch cake — without the rest of the ingredients and the knowledge to combine them properly, all you will end up with are scrambled eggs, over and over again.

But I don’t want to discourage anyone from “writing” one dimensional jokes the hard way because…

It’s the law in stand-up comedy.

Plus, who wants to miss out on all the glory of getting to wear the “I sucked for a long time as a comedian” t-shirt? 🙂

About 

Leading stand-up comedy educator and trainer, providing proven 21st century strategies and techniques for individuals who wish to become comedians on a professional level. For a detailed stand-up comedy resume go to: Steve Roye's Stand-up Resume.