Looking For The Best Stand-up Comedy Joke Formulas?

There are a number of folks who find my websites using the search terms “stand-up comedy formulas” or “joke writing formulas”.

It’s kind of sad really because here’s what I know about those folks without ever having to meet them:

1. They are either not funny and they are trying to “write” their way to becoming funny on stage or…

2. They are funny, but they are desperately trying to find the right “joke formulas” in order to “write” comedy material that actually works

Either way, these folks are pretty much screwed when it comes to getting substantial laughs on stage trying to use joke formulas.


Let’s start with the fact that most (93%) of an individual’s laughter generation ability has nothing to do with the words/sentences a person says when they are on stage. It comes from how they express what it is that they say.

Words alone count for a mere 7% of an individual’s laughter power.

To put this in perspective, this is much like trying to paint a portrait using a paper clip.

It can be done — but is hard and will take a very long time.

But here’s the real problem with “joke formulas”…

Joke formulas represent an after-the-fact description or definition of sentence structures that have been identified as having generated laughter.

But here is the hard, cold reality using just a few examples…

Knowing the names and history of every player on a sports team does absolutely nothing to show you how to actually play the sport yourself.

Knowing the make and model of every single automobile does absolutely nothing to show you how to actually drive a car.

Knowing every single “joke formula” by heart won’t give anyone comedy talent or give them a clue how to structure and deliver the comedy talent they already have — provided they have comedy talent to begin with.

Related Video:

You will see this over and over again on this blog…

There’s a hard way and there’s an easy way to develop stand-up comedy material that works.

Trying to use joke formulas is the hardest way ever devised.

The easiest way for those who have real comedy talent can be found in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.

Find out for yourself why Steve Roye is a top stand-up comedy expert/trainer globally for both new and experienced comedians as well as for humorous speaking professionals.

One Reply to “Looking For The Best Stand-up Comedy Joke Formulas?”

  1. Let me start with this:

    Like many, you haven’t been on stage as a comedian nor do you plan to be. From that perspective it is very easy to pontificate about what stand-up comedy writing is or is not and how it is produced and delivered.

    I would ask that you consider that:

    Writing is a completely different form of communication than talking or speaking.

    Writing is specifically designed for consumption by an individual reader. Stand-up comedy material is designed to generate a laughter reaction from a group of people as a result of in person delivery and expression.

    Unfortunately, the “common knowledge” regarding the development of stand-up comedy material is that writing (the written word on paper designed for an individual reader) is completely interchangeable with talking or speaking to an audience.

    I submit to you that notion is false.

    So let me ask this question about using joke formulas…

    How is a person supposed to use ANY sort of joke formula to produce any sort of stand-up comedy material that will actually get laughs on stage (which is what stand-up comedy is all about) when joke formulas can only be identified to a very small percentage of a comedian’s material?

    That’s not something I made up. You simply need to transcribe the stand-up comedy routine an accomplished and skilled comedian is delivering to see for yourself that most of what they have to say and express DOES NOT fall into any sort of recognizable joke formula category.

    That’s because talking is not the same communication medium as writing no matter how badly a new comedian wants it to be.

    Joke formula examples are cherry picked from any comedian’s act for illustration purposes without the benefit of evaluation of the rest of a comedian’s act.

    Let’s see if this makes sense — understanding and recognizing the alphabet is essential in order to understand the formation of words and sentences.

    But knowing only the alphabet doesn’t do anything when it comes to actually forming words and sentences unless you have knowledge and skill beyond mere recognition of the letters of the alphabet.

    Joke formulas fall into the same category – after the fact recognition of “formulas” a comedian may have used in their stand-up comedy material doesn’t help another comedian produce their own original stand-up comedy material for the exact same reason that only knowing the alphabet will help a person form words and sentences without any additional information.

    My job is to help new comedians understand that the “common knowledge” about developing and delivering a stand-up comedy routine that actually generates big laughs is not only seriously lacking but also largely misleading and often taken out of context as well.