One of the very first things that I notice about new and prospective comedians is that…
They are driven to try to “write jokes” (in the literal sense) in order to try to command the big laughs on stage.
I am more than familiar with this frustrating process. It’s what I tried to do when I first started out as a comedian.
And it should come as no surprise as to the reason why that happens. It is quite simple actually…
All through our years of primary education, we are taught to write in a particular way that is specifically designed for others to consume by reading.
In other words, we are more than familiar with what writing is and how to do it. We’ve all been trained on how to do that since youth.
But when that already acquired writing skill is applied to the process of “writing” stand-up comedy material, it seems to fall short and not produce the laughter results a comedian wants when they take that material to the stage.
Very funny and very talented individuals can get caught in an ironic purgatory of sorts, where they can make others laugh almost at will in everyday life but…
As soon as they start attempting to “write” jokes the way all the stand-up comedy books, courses, and workshops say that you have to, they simply bomb on stage. That should be a hint all by itself.
What would you say if I told you that the chances are great that what you believe to be the “way” to develop stand-up comedy material that will work well for you on stage is almost all wrong (more accurately, missing a ton of very important information)?
More accurately put, I will be so bold as to say that what you believe “writing” stand-up comedy material to be is actually taken out of context if you can embrace this simple and easily observable fact that gets largely overlooked and that is:
Writing and speaking are two distinctly different forms of communication.
Consider this as you consider getting into the game of stand-up comedy — information that doesn’t quite line up with the conventional “joke writing” process…
1. “Joke writing” as it is taught today is difficult at best to master. It doesn’t account for the 93% of the real impact when it comes to laughter generation – body language, facial expressions and voice tone variations.
2. We are formally taught to “write” in a structure designed to be read, which is significantly different than the way we speak and express ourselves verbally.
Audiences don’t read a comedian’s stand-up comedy material. They experience the stand-up comedy material the way the comedian expresses it.
3. It is the visual and auditory supplemental communication you use when talking that reduces the number of words needed when speaking verbally vice “writing”.
Many more words are needed when “writing” to communicate than we use when we speak to someone. That’s because all you have to work with are the literally words themselves.
Comedians simply don’t have this luxury if they want to generate headliner level comedy material that generates 4-6+ laughs per performing minute on stage.
4. Individuals don’t need to know how to write a single “joke” in order to develop comedy material for the stage that works. But they do need to know how to structure and capitalize on the well developed sense of humor and comedy talent they already have.
In other words, writing down what you want to say the way you say it then structuring that material for maximum tightness and punchline frequency is a really simple process once you know how to do it. You will see this over and over again on this blog:
Nobody gets “talker’s block”.
5. The longer you can stay on a topic, the less set-up you have for any individual chunk of comedy material and the easier it is to add punchlines and tag lines to you material. This is difficult to do with individual jokes produced on paper from thin air.
I could literally go on and on and on.
No one can “write” their way to having more comedy talent or a better personality for stand-up comedy.
However you CAN learn how to quickly and easily capitalize on the comedy talent you have to get big laughs on stage.
Before I continue let me be perfectly clear:
Creating and delivering stand-up comedy material that works in a big way is a challenging adventure. There are many aspects that should be taken into account in order to develop a personalized process and the resulting stand-up comedy material that produces the laughter results a comedian wants.
But I will also tell you that none of what I teach comedians to do in my online course is difficult at all — certainly not anywhere near as difficult as “writing” tends to be.
Plus it can be a whole lot of fun when big laughter happens frequently.
But for those who are stuck — convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that one can simply “write” their way to being funny on stage funny…
You would probably be best served to get your hands on any one of these popular books on writing comedy:
Put what they say to do to the test for 6 months. See if you can get significant and measurable results like these folks enjoy.
However, if you are truly a talented individual and don’t want to waste your valuable trying to somehow magically make conventional old school joke writing work for you…
Check out the free lessons available now in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.
The 3 Most Viewed Articles In The Last Hour:
- How To Write Stand-up Comedy Material (Overview)
Looking for the "secrets" to writing great stand-up comedy material that will generate big laughs on stage? This article provides an overview about how to write stand-up comedy material that is not found in popular books on stand-up comedy.
- Are You Funny Enough To Be A Comedian?
The short answer to the question is that most people are funny enough to do well at stand-up comedy. So where's the disconnect? This article that identifies some of the primary issues that people have when it comes to being funny enough to be a comedian.
- Corporate Comedy: The True Underground Stand-up Comedy Market
One of the markets that experienced comedians with the right comedy act can work in is commonly referred to as the corporate comedy market. This article offers some insight about working in the largely "hidden" corporate comedy market as a comedian.