The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy


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The Joke's on You: How To Write Comedy

Not only will they let you know if your idea is funny, but you should also be able to spark off each other, if you have the requisite chemistry. A news story might provide a plot for a sitcom, or something to satirise in a sketch or just be funny enough to read out verbatim on stage. Or just get you thinking about something you had never considered before. It can be anything: cheese, ghosts, Guy Fawkes, love.

Then try and think of something funny about it. Do some proper research. I found out that on discovery with his gunpowder, Guy Fawkes had claimed he was called John Johnson, surely the most unimaginative pseudonym ever. There was a sketch in that obscure fact. Their unfettered imagination might inspire you or take an idea in an unexpected direction. Use people's expectation of the familiar. Look through a dictionary of proverbs, find a well-known saying and see if you can come up with an alternative and amusing second line.

Here are two of mine:. But go back to even the most simple gag and you will see that "surprise" is at the heart of it. Except that this is such an old joke and so familiar to everyone but the tiniest child that we know full well what the punchline will be, so the only chance of getting a genuine response is by subverting it: Man 1: My dog has no nose.

No one wants to sound like they are narrating facts. A neat trick is to hide exposition inside a joke. That way it feels valid, and its presence is disguised by a laugh. The tiddlers flashing about just below the surface — the trite observations, the easy targets, the established joke-constructions — you need to ignore them and wait for the big one. An image or scene that makes you double over with laughter and could only have come from deep within your subconscious.

My tip for writing comedy would be to find someone to collaborate with. My favourite days are sitting in a room with someone else and trying to make them laugh. You might then have to go off and work stuff up on your own, but at least you know one person has found it funny.

Elements of a Joke

Oh, and move around. So drink plenty of tea. Study comedy you like — see how it works. Learn how to present scripts.

Write (and sell) what you know

Spell everything correctly — detials matter. That was a joke.


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Send a little of your best material to the creators of programmes you like — tell them why you like their work. Ensure that some of these programmes are BBC open-access radio-comedy shows — these are probably your best way in.

Vital comedy writing exercises to get you started

Keep writing — then, keep writing. Maybe hold producers hostage, until they use your work. Details at stewartlee. I have no idea how to advise anyone to write comedy today, as I started 25 years ago when the economic climate and the way arts were valued was entirely different. The jobs that paid me, and bought me time, while I learned to write, would now be unpaid internships. The English degree that I did would now be impossibly expensive for someone from my background. I always found it a paradox. I was brought up on absurdism yet how can that go hand-in-hand with how I feel?

The trick was to detach myself from my usual melodramatic, anxious self. I put on a wig, some false teeth and walked around like Rooster from the play Jerusalem. I felt stupid, silly and bizarrely free. Crucially it allowed me to be honest. It was this resignation that allowed me to firstly be funny and secondly say what I wanted. When you have that, the writing follows.

Purifying Jokes with Ivan Aristeguieta

He will be speaking at the Craft of Comedy Conference on 24 April. More info at justinmoorhouse.

Try Not To Laugh - 420 Jokes - Laugh Factory Stand Up Comedy

To ask a stand-up comedian to write words on what it takes to write stand-up comedy is perhaps the cruellest trick a journalist can play. It invokes the fear that Listen to what other people think of your work.

Write often and write lots. Eventually, or at least hopefully, the rubbish will lessen and the gold will increase. Details can be so important. Does it help to mention the colour? All successful comedy writers have one. I have a top hat. The only way to get good at stand-up is to do it lots and lots until you are as comfortable onstage as you are off. Some people are good quicker but to be really good is about putting in the hours on stage.

So you’re new to stand-up comedy? Don’t be like me.

When most people start they don't know what there point of view is onstage. Until you figure that out you are just someone reciting a list of jokes. Often newer comics will do any joke they think of even if it contradicts previous ideas. It may get a laugh but leaves the audience confused as to who they are. In stand up, the important stuff goes on before any actual writing happens. If it dances about in my head bothering me, I get on a stage and say it in front of an audience.

Then I write it down, do it again better, write that down. Each time I tell it it becomes sharper. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?


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Start your Independent Premium subscription today. When you get a good idea, take some time to build the joke following the basic structure of setup, punchline, and tags. Scroll down for more tips, including how to write sketch comedy! This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Together, they cited information from 37 references. Categories: Writing Genres Performing Comedy. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Learn more Watch and listen to comedy specials and stand up. But not all of them are good. So ask friends with a good sense of humor to recommend their favorite stand up specials or sketches. Look at comedians who are popular right now, as well as legendary comedians of the past.

Some examples may be: Robin Williams was an American comedian and actor skilled at physical comedy and the ability to breath incredible energy into even the most straightforward jokes.

The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy
The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy The Jokes On You: How to Write Comedy

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