Many people who are looking to take a shot at becoming a comedian search for stand-up comedy writing exercises – looking for something that will provide them an edge with it comes to developing stand-up comedy material.
Well, if that describes you then you might want to know that…
You will be hard pressed to find a bigger time wasting activity related to developing a stand-up comedy act.
So let’s talk about why any sort of stand-up comedy writing exercises you might be able to find are such a serious waste of time.
Let’s Start With You
The fact that a person is even looking for stand-up comedy writing exercises reveals that they are under the false impression that:
Myth: There are no differences between writing and talking — they are exactly the same types of communication and they are completely interchangeable.
This sort of inaccurate and misleading approach is ubiquitous among most people active in the world of stand-up comedy, whether they be comedians, stand-up comedy instructors or talent buyers.
It is this sort of skewed mentality that is passed along from person to person like the common cold that causes new and prospective comedians to seek out any sort of “writing exercises” that may help in the process of developing a powerful stand-up comedy act.
Now let’s take a look at the problems associated with the whole “writing and talking are the exact same thing” approach to developing stand-up comedy material.
Nope, Not The Same
The very first thing you may want to do is use any search engine and use this search term:
Differences between writing and talking
You will find that there are literally millions of results pages available that address these differences.
Yet outside my own educational materials for comedians, the important and significant differences between writing and talking are ignored when it comes to showing someone how “write jokes”.
But let me provide a brief list of the differences between writing and talking and why it makes a HUGE difference when it comes to developing stand-up comedy material for the stage:
1. You did not develop your sense of humor and the way you express your sense of humor from handing people written notes for people to read and respond to during conversational exchanges.
2. What makes you funny or gives you the ability to cause others to laugh – whether in casual conversations offstage or whether you are delivering a stand-up comedy routine onstage – involves much more than just the words and sentences that you use when you are talking and expressing yourself with others.
Note: If words, sentences and word placement/structure were the only factors involved with causing people to laugh, there would be no need for a “human” comedian.
A mechanical head on a stick that merely speaks (in that monotone machine voice) written words and sentences that were carefully crafted and structured by comedy “writers” would be all that would be needed to cause audiences to howl with laughter.
3. Since “writing” only involves words (which are produced by design for an individual reader), many more words are needed to convey information, thoughts, ideas, opinions, observations, etc.
But in stand-up comedy, an economy of words is not only critical, it is mandatory when performing in order to be able to:
- Deliver the set-ups to the punchlines
- Deliver the punchlines
- Allow the audience ample time to laugh for each punchline
For each individual minute a comedian is on stage, they need to be able to deliver and average of 4-6+ punchlines (and generate an average of 18 seconds of laughter) using 80 words or less.
But don’t take my word for any of this.
Go to YouTube and find any video of your favorite stand-up comedian and verify what I am telling you for yourself – you can actually use your smartphone to accurately verify what I am telling you using the information provided in this report:
The Bottom Line
Here is what I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt about any sort of stand-up comedy writing exercises you may find and decide to do:
- They WILL NOT show you how to have more comedy talent than you already have.
- They WILL NOT show you how develop stand-up comedy material for live performances that is based on ALL the things that make you funny or give you the ability to cause others to laugh.
- They WILL NOT show you how to structure what you want to say and express in a way that will help you generate 4-6+ laughs per minute on stage.
Let me leave you with this:
Should your comedy material be written down? The answer is YES. Otherwise you have no means to effectively edit or otherwise adjust your comedy material.
But “writing down” what you want to say and express to an audience, structured for maximum laughter impact when delivered is NOT the same thing as trying to “write” comedy material in a way that is, by design, intended for a reader and EXCLUDES the other major attributes that give a talented individual the ability to cause others to laugh — onstage or offstage.
Trying to find some sort of stand-up comedy writing exercises to help you develop a routine that actually gets laughs is like trying to find the right screwdriver to hammer in a nail.