If you really want to understand why most new comedians struggle needlessly to get the laughs they need to progress as a comedian…
You need only make this obvious observation about running or jogging which is:
You never see anyone running or jogging wearing flip flops.
Despite the fact that running shoes and flip flops have the exact same basic functionality (to protect and cushion the feet), everybody knows that flip flops are simply not the right footwear for running or jogging – running shoes are.
How does this relate to stand-up? Here is how:
When it comes to frequently making an audience laugh, writing and talking are modalities of communication that are ineffectively interchangeable.
Like trying to run a 5K in flip flops, trying to “write” a stand-up comedy performance that truly produces laughs is the wrong form of communication to get to the finish line.
Here’s what you might want to do if you don’t think that is true:
Sit through a few stand-up comedy open mics from start to finish. You’ll clearly see what I’m referring to.
Having said that, allow me to provide you some information you can check out for yourself in a matter of minutes.
Differences between writing and speaking
If you will take the time to do that, you will find some information that I believe every new comedian should be aware of such as:
- Writing is more difficult than talking. Translation: Talking is easier than writing.
- Writing is formally learned and incorporates a number of grammatical rules in order to be understood properly. Talking is informally learned and is not bound by grammatical rules in order to be understood properly.
- Writing is a means of communication initiated to communicate with an individual reader. Talking is a means of communication initiated to communicate verbally with one or more people.
And the list of differences between writing and talking goes on and on. Just look it up online.
From a purely stand-up comedy perspective, I would have to say that the most important difference between writing and talking is this:
Writing involves only words and sentences.
Talking not only involves use of words and sentences, but also incorporates other powerful communication attributes that significantly enhance the context, meaning, emphasis and interpretation of the words and sentences used.
This is the exact reason I simply cannot tell someone how to “write” joke — particularly one that would get laughs on stage. It would be no different than someone asking me what the best flip flops to use for jogging are.
Think of it this way — what would I even begin to tell someone about “writing” jokes? Put an adjective here and an adverb there. Make sure you have a period here and a comma there. Oh, and don’t use a preposition like that. Whoops, you have a dangling particle over there.
None of those sorts of things has any bearing at all when it comes to producing stand-up comedy material that will get the laughter results a comedian really wants.
Related Article: Want A Comedy Expert To Read Your Stand-up Material? Read This First
But what I can easily do is show new comedians how to talk on stage and structure what they want to say and express to get 4-6+ laughs every minute they are on stage.
Talking is easier than writing, remember? You should already know that from first hand experience because it was “talking” and the laughter results you got from “talking” that drove you to consider taking a shot at stand-up comedy in the first place, right?
So if you want to know why the very first lesson in my online course is entitled “Conventional Joke Writing: The Fastest Path To Failure In Stand-up Comedy” – well, you should have a pretty good idea why.