It’s a really sad state of affairs when…
A comedian takes it upon themselves to steal comedy material from other comedians.
Unfortunately, it’s a reality in stand-up comedy.
Any comedian who has the ability to effectively deliver stand-up comedy material on stage should never have to resort to stealing comedy material — ever (make sure you check out the video at the bottom of this article that covers how to prevent theft of your stand-up comedy material).
So, why does it happen?
It happens because…
Comedians who are “joke thieves” really don’t know how to quickly and easily develop their own original comedy material. It’s that simple.
And I have to tell you that this condition does not surprise me at all, given the fact that most comedians are stuck trying to write “jokes” the hard way.
I will be the very first to tell you that conventional joke writing is not only very difficult, but even the most popular comedy teachers can’t seem to teach folks how to “write jokes”. I know I can’t and I don’t pretend that I can.
Let me ask you this — the last time you made someone laugh in a casual conversation:
Did you think about what type of “joke formula” you were going to use to do it?
Did you write out your response to what somebody said, they read it and then they laughed?
I’m going to bet that you did not. That’s not how we make people laugh offstage. And this is not how you are going to get laughs on any stand up comedy stage.
So I do not show comedians how to write jokes.
I show them how to structure what they want to talk about on stage.
There’s a huge difference between that and trying to write jokes one at a time the hard way, which is like trying to dig a swimming pool with a spoon.
When I was actively performing, I have seen comedians perform small pieces of my own comedy material — word for word — while I was sitting in the audience. And yes, I did approach them about it after the show.
There is also a big difference between stealing a comedian’s material and parallel thinking, which can result in the development of very similar stand-up comedy material.
By the nature of stand-up comedy itself, comedians must talk about things that all audience members can understand. Subsequently, there can be some overlap with the development of very similar material.
But if you are developing stand-up comedy material that is personal to you, you should have relative few issues with parallel thinking material.
Note: Comedians can and do talk about the same things. What makes a comedian’s stand-up comedy material original is the unique and personal details that each person experiences, observes or has an opinion about.
Not only that…
If you truly understand how spoken word comedy actually works, then you would know that you already have literally HOURS of original stand-up comedy material to select from that can be easily edited and formatted for stand-up audiences.
So stealing stand-up comedy material is about the stupidest thing any comedian could do.
The bottom line:
Don’t steal another comedian’s comedy material — period. Take the time to educate yourself on how to develop your own high level comedy material — in particular the material that you already have at your disposal about your life experiences, observations, mishaps, conversations, etc..
It is really not that hard to do IF you have comedy talent and you are using the techniques and strategies in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.
Related Video And Article Link:
Great example of how “funny” doesn’t read from the page, Bazbo and Steve!! 🙂
Seriously, in relation to this article, I sometimes wonder if worry too much much about others stealing our material. I mean, can they really steal OUR bits and OUR sets if we develop them from OUR observations, OUR experiences, OUR viewpoints, OUR convictions? Sure, they may use our wordage, but even if they use our routines or large sections of it, but if all they are stealing is “jokes”, the kernels of Truth at the core of those sets are still ours — and cannot be taken away.
I know it happens, and I know it’s very frustrating and unfair when it does, but I think SOMETIMES we waste too much precious time and creative energy worrying about it. IFor example, some wrote a comment to a different article on this website And suggested we use our B material for open mic performances and “save” our best stuff for when bookers and scouts are present. But don’t we especially need to be practicing and fine-tuning our A material? Maybe, we can find even more creative ways to express the ideas others “borrow” from our acts.
Or perhaps the comedy gods are telling us to move on! 🙂