On a regular basis I get an email from a novice “joke writer” that goes something like this:
I have been writing jokes for a while and I believe they are funny. How do I go about selling these jokes?
Let me cut right to the chase:
There is much more involved with trying to sell jokes or other stand-up comedy material to comedians than most folks care to try to comprehend.
Because of that, most people don’t really have much of a chance at getting paid in that regard unless they actually know what they are doing when it comes to writing comedy material for a comedian and have a solid plan to overcome some of the issues involved with getting started.
Note: For a better understanding of the information that follows, you may want to review audio episode 10 in the Stand-up Comedy Secrets For Beginners series.
First, I will discuss some of the problems you will encounter. Then I will provide some recommendations on how to overcome these problems quickly.
Many people who want to sell jokes have this vision that they can sit in the safety and comfort of their home and crank out generic, paper written jokes that they hope to get paid for.
The problem with that is that they don’t have any credibility. By that I mean that they have never been on stage as a comedian so they really don’t have so much as clue as to what stand-up comedy is really all about.
Note: Simply having spent time watching recordings of comedians perform is not enough to give any comedian any sort of assurance that you actually know what you are doing when it comes to writing or producing stand-up comedy material that will actually generate laughs.
In other words, unless someone has actual experience as a comedian or as a comedy writer for some other live performing art, they have zero credibility.
Most people who are able to sell jokes or other stand-up comedy material are already accomplished comedians who can demonstrate their ability to get laughs with their own stand-up comedy material and if they desire to expand upon that, demonstrate their ability to produce stand-up comedy material for other comedians.
That is what gives them the credibility they need to get paid to “write” for other comedians.
No professional comedian or comedy entertainer is going to buy “generic” jokes from anyone as a general rule.
Because each comedian has their own unique sense of humor, attitude, demeanor, delivery style, perspective, etc. that makes what they have to say and express to an audience generate the laughs they want.
“Generic”, paper written jokes do not account for these critical laughter generation factors because they are “written” from the sense of humor perspective of the person “writing” the jokes, not the comedian they want to sell the jokes to.
While comedians tend to talk about the same things overall, what makes a comedian’s material original is usually their personal experiences, points of view and the expression unique to that comedian.
So unless you can incorporate those personalized aspects into the “jokes” or comedy material you are trying to “write”, you will have a difficult time at best trying to sell jokes that were simply written in a vacuum.
Paper written jokes tend to be “written” to be “read”, much like a short story or article in a manner that is designed to be read, and not expressed verbally in three dimensions.
Stand-up comedy is all about talking and expression. Writing is NOT talking. While there can be obvious similarities, writing is NOT a version of talking. Writing is a version of communication that is designed primarily for consumption by an individual READER — NOT a live, in person presentation for an AUDIENCE.
If you don’t believe that, simply use any search engine and type in the phrase “differences between talking and writing”. You will only have tens of millions of pages to sift though to give you more than a hint that writing and talking are vastly different forms of communication.
Individuals who “write” jokes or stand-up comedy material using just words and sentences usually cannot produce material that delivers the 4-6+ punchlines each minute a comedian needs — that’s because many more words are needed with writing when only words are used.
An economy of words is mandatory for the comedian in order generate the laughs needed every performing minute which “writing” in the traditional sense simply does not accommodate.
If after reading this article you still believe you have something to offer comedians in the way of “writing” jokes or other stand-up comedy material an you want to take a shot at establishing yourself as a stand-up comedy writer quickly…
Here are some recommendations you may want to take a close look at:
1. Make your comedy writing skill available to new comedians in your area for free.
New comedians are the absolute weakest at developing stand-up comedy material that will get laughs.
Subsequently, there will be those who would be more than willing to work with you at no initial cost to them to help get the laughs they want on stage.
If a new comedian begins to get laughs like they have not previously experienced, you basically become an instant hero.
Not only that but word will spread quickly among other new comedians who want to get laughs too and will be willing to pay for stand-up comedy material that does just that.
2. You should seriously consider getting your hands on the Killer Stand-up Online Course if for no other reason than this:
The course will show you step-by-step how to structure a stand-up comedy bit, chunk or entire routine to get 4-6 laughs per minute from beginning to end.
Note: This course is the ONLY resource on the planet that shows you how to do this.
If you have consumed some of the articles on this blog, then you know that being able to generate 4-6+ laughs per performing minute as a comedian is the ticket to getting increasingly bigger and better performing opportunities.
Subsequently, helping new comedians generate that level of audience laughter can quickly result in bigger and better stand-up comedy writing opportunities for the comedy writer.
3. Take your comedy material to the stand-up comedy stage yourself. If your jokes or stand-up comedy material are good enough for another comedian, then that comedy material is certainly good enough for you to take to the stage.
Once you hit the stage and feel the sting of sucking on stage in front of an audience, you will then completely understand exactly what most other new comedians experience when they take their own paper written jokes or other stand-up comedy material to the stand-up comedy stage.
You will also have a deep understanding why I say that words and sentences on a piece of paper are not nearly enough to get the frequent big laughs with a stand-up comedy routine.
If you consider taking your own stand-up comedy material to the stage, be completely prepared to get the laughs, unlike many new comedians are.
The bottom line:
If you can help several new comedians make significant headway and get results with your help, you will have a foundation to begin to offer your writing services for pay.
But don’t think you can just write jokes in a vacuum from home and somehow magically get paid to do that. You will have an easier time trying to sell dehydrated water.
Just remember that:
1. It can take time to develop your reputation as a pro comedy writer.
2. You may spend a considerable amount of time working for free before you get paid — especially if you can’t help comedians get results when they hit the stage.
What I have just described is a process, one you must be willing to stick with in order to reach your goal, which is selling jokes or stand-up comedy material to comedians for profit.
Just don’t be surprised if the process is a long one if you aren’t really armed with the methods and strategies you need to make an impact quickly as a stand-up comedy writer.