I’ve been doing comedy for a couple of years.
I produce my own comedy shows and have been booked in almost every major comedy room in Hollywood.
yet, there is no right way to write a joke.
There is a formula you could follow but the important thing is that the joke itself has to capture the spirit of who you are.
Are you a topical comic?
Do you talk about your self?
Self Deprecating comic?
What do you care about?
I can’t sit down and write a joke from scratch.
So What do I do?
I carry a Digital Voice Recorder in my pocket.
If your funny with your friends then your funny onstage,
so what do I do?
I say something in a conversation,
I record it and capture the energy and style of what I just said and then I can sit down and write a joke out of it.
Here is what happens,
You say something that is raw and made people laugh in your circle.
So what you have is a skeleton of the joke,
go home and flesh out the joke, now it is easier to translate it into something that the general public can relate too.
That is the key to comedy,
Even if they don’t experience it, are they able to relate to YOU?
The trick to comedy is for the audience to be able to relate to you, if they do, then you are going to get the laughs.
Laughter is just another form of conversation and laughter means, they agree with what your saying.
Think of a conversation,
You say something,
they say something back,
Don’t talk while people are laughing.
They won’t be able to process the next joke if they are laughing at the previous one.
Plus they will know that if they laugh, they will miss the next joke, so in essence your training them not to laugh at your jokes.
If you don’t have natural timing, then learn this.
Learn to shut up.
If they laugh,
even if you have to restart the sentence,
They will respect you for it.
Another way of writing a joke is a formula that has 4 steps.
Subject - what are you talking about? - FREEWAYS
How you feel - Say it or in tone, the audience must know how you feel about the subject - I HATE FREEWAYS or I LOVE FREEWAYS
Details of subject - I was on the 405 free way when…
Twist - punchline - never tell a joke that the audience can finish in their heads, what makes a joke work is
1. is it relatable
2. and zigging when the audience expects you to zag.
Here’s a silly joke, not to be taken seriously but for the sake of the example
I HATE DRIVING ON THE 405 FREEWAY - feeling and subject with detail followed by punchline
EVERY TIME I AM NOT WEARING PANTS…pause… people will laugh because they won’t expect it but some of us have driven with out pants or we can see it in our heads so in essence we are able to relate to it cause we can see it.
I would not try out your jokes with your friends.
They know you to personally and will not give you a fair response.
They may laugh to not hurt your feelings or not laugh and the joke is actually golden cause they don’t see you as a comic.
Work on your jokes,
hit every open mic imaginable,
7 days a week if you can.
Here is a great website of open mics
You may not get laughs cause almost every comic thinks they are funnier than the next comic.
Also they are to busy thinking of their jokes through your set,
but if you can make an open mic crowd laugh then your jokes will work in a room where people are expecting you to make them laugh and they had 2 drink minimum which they are relaxed.
If you are bombing on stage, don’t acknowledge it right away, give your self sometime to recover, after 3 minutes stop and be honest with the crowd.
““Man I thought i was hot stuff before I got the mic”“
““thanks for bringing me back down to earth”“
People will reset and give you a second chance and want to laugh because you are going to be likable.
Some people make a career of making fun of the audience,
I come off as likable on stage and so why act differently from what my personality is.
Don’t waste energy making a character at this point of your career in comedy.
Worry about making jokes that people will like.
in other words
your character is just an exaggerated version of WHO you are.
The audience will appreciate this more.
after doing a few open mics for a couple of months,
you will have to try to do a venue,
unfortunately most venues for a person of your level will be bringer shows.
you have to understand…
Nobody will pay to see people they don’t know so the bringer venues
are basically comedians bringing their audience as a collective so that you have an audience to perform in front off.
basically you are making the producer money in exchange you get stage time in front of a real audience.
When you feel ready,
open your own room and be a producer.
by then you’ll know what it takes to run a room.
You will have guaranteed stage time and you can book other bookers and exchange stage time to perform in other rooms.
Depending on your level and how committed you are
you will be ready to hit the road and be a road comic.
From there you will know which direction you want to head in comedy.
Plus as a producer the comics will make you money,
could be little or alot, again it is all up to you.
Don’t burn any bridges,
I can’t tell you how many comics pissed me off not knowing that I know all the major producers in Hollywood.
If I was a dick, I could basically have them banned but I am not that kind of person.
Be kind even if others around you are not.
I’ve worked with many TV comics who are humble and happy with anytime you can give them, they know you have a job.
Many unknown comics have egos and think they are the hottest thing,
They weed themselves out as no one will book them later on.
In youtube.com you can find videos that are 2 minutes long
they’re very helpful, they give you a great idea of how things work.
they are by Chris Murphy.