Monthly Archives: August 2014

Anger, Comedy and Perspective.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a comedy club, a comic’s on stage, going through another horrible life event, screaming  slamming back boiler makers, stammering at the audience about their pain  A break up, sudden death in the family, loss of job,  alcohol poisoning. Yah, I get anger but if we’re talking STAND UP COMEDY and craft, isn’t there a better way to reach your target audience then rage?  The answer is yes.

Break up: This is probably one of the top 5 premises in a STAND UP COMIC’S  arsenal. The break up is almost always from the COMEDIAN’S perspective, man or woman, the COMIC is always talking about the other person, how they did this, they did that, they, they, they!   If we’re not OWNING it and being vulnerable, honest, we’re not allowing our true selves  where the gold is. Here’s some of my ANGRY chunks over the years:1) My ex mother in law had a major in can’t mind her own business degree. 2)Me and my girl friend broke up. Maybe you know her, bitch? 3) A woman’s butt is God’s best creation. Men love a woman’s butt. That’s why we break up so much. We’re happiest when we’re watching her, walk away!

PERSPECTIVE: What about from her point of view?  I bet we weren’t any picnic. And not even the fact that it would make you a better STAND UP COMEDIAN if you took the opposite point of view, the woman’s point of view, but every woman in the club would appreciate it ( if you’re a man on a woman bashing set, you lose the audience. If she’s not laughing, either is her date)  plus the woman that runs the club, the female agents and female festival scouting staff. 

If you’re going though a negative time, stop and feel it, feel the pain BUT NOT JUST YOURS! What’s do the pets think about you, her friends, the neighbours, the sky? The biggest mistake you can make as a STAND UP COMIC is channel anger through your set or worse, go on auto pilot and ship in your material.

BROKEN HEARTS: What are we feeling? What’s the story, your story about the break up but from the other perspectives? When you start exploring other avenues in your pain, the pain turns into incredible craft. This is SHOW BUSINESS and the business will only get better for you when you write STAND UP from another angle then what she did to you. That’s been done. What about what you did?   Yes it takes work. Besides, the audience is leaving their pain at the door , why don’t you?

Letting Go

I’m sharing a STAND UP COMEDY CLASS from September 8th too October the 8th. ( 5 Mondays, 7;30 to 9:30) I’ll be covering everything you want and more to achieve all your STAND UP GOALS. E MAIL ME:   paulsveen@shaw.ca                                                                                                             Also, check out my recently published novel “THE ANGEL’S CLAW” on my website.

Letting go. I’ve always felt a difference between who I am off stage and who I am on it. Sometimes the difference was a chasm, and what I mean is, being vulnerable and present. It’s really easy to  share STORY and write STAND UP and then hard wire weld the material to my synapse so the material becomes second nature script and soon the material tells itself and I’m the robot sharing it!

I think the moments from our life and the theme and messages within our STORY and JOKES can stay fresh as long as we keep refreshing the material with WHO WE ARE NOW.

I have JOKES  from the REAGAN ADMINISTRATION that I still use occasionally but I’m no longer sharing them the way I wrote them when Madonna was singing “Like a Virgin.” Whether you’re a STAND UP COMEDIAN or a KEY NOTE or simply want to be funny SOCIALLY, ( something that was true 10 years ago is still true now as long as YOU’RE TRUE TO YOURSELF NOW!) For those who don’t believe in evolution, check out these before and after PREMISES!

25 YEARS AGO:  “Me and my girlfriend broke up. I still see her. She’s in my freezer.” 15 YEARS AGO: “If I have one more girl throw a ring back at me I’m going to melt them all down and make a bullet. NOW: “A lot of comics do their wife’s voice on stage. I don’t because this is my time Noreen!”

This isn’t just a case of being vulnerable. It’s also a case of being honest. In the first pair of jokes it was ME and THEM. In the last JOKE I say her name because STAND UP is a relationship and I’m no longer just making it about me. If you really want to QUANTUM LEAP your STAND UP OR SPEECH, consider everyone’s VOICE in the material.  Even if I didn’t give my wife a voice in my joke you still felt the message.

E MAIL ME paulsveen@shaw.ca

Emotion, The Jewel Of Humour.

I’m running a Comedy Class beginning September the 8th. E MAIL ME IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE PART OF IT: paulsveen@shaw.ca           Also, check out my recently published novel “THE ANGEL’S CLAW” It’s on MY WEB SITE.

EMOTION: We can take a look at any premise any idea lets pick one: “We all want someone to LOVE.” The first thing we’d do in STAND UP COMEDY WRITING is locate the PUNCH WORDS: WE, WANT, SOMEONE, LOVE. And then simply BRAION STORM OR Q and A thew PUNCH WORDS from all POINTS OF THE CIRCLE  and create statements then mine and develop these statements. 

In going deeper into the EMOTIONS we also go deeper into the PREMISE where the DIAMONDS  are. Just like the PUNCH WORDS we’re going to create statements about the EMOTIONS of LOVE.  Simply begin talking out loud about your experiences about LOVE.

“There’s nothing better then being in LOVE finding LOVE” ( as I wrote this first sentence the notion that we had to WORK at LOVE struck me.” FIRST JOKE: “You’re telling me LOVE’S  like that one SHMUCK who wins the lottery, gets the check and goes back to work?” 

KEERP MINING YOUR EMOTIONS OF LOVE. I’ll meet you back here tomorrow. BUY MY BOOK.

Fear and Humour.

I’m teaching a STAND UP COMEDY CLASS starting September the 8th. If you’re interested, E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca                        Also, check out my recently published novel “THE ANGEL’S CLAW” on my web site. If you’re looking to book me, as a STAND UP COMEDIAN or KEY NOTE SPEAKER E MAIL ME paulsveen@shaw.ca

FEAR. We’ve been raised in a culture of FEAR. We’ve been conditioned to be AFRAID each and every moment of our lives. If it’s not the threat of the Russians, it’s the terrorists, or global warming,  a World wide plague, an asteroid. The list is endless.

All of these examples can be used as HUMOUR fodder but the challenge is, everything on this FEAR LIST is OUT THERE, on CNN.

The real POWER IN HUMOUR is born of the FEARS that reside IN YOU. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? The reason your PERSONAL FEARS are more powerful is YOU GIVE THEM POWER!

The FEARS in us are the things that WE’VE ERANED THE RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT because we’ve lived them. So, what are we afraid of: the neighbour’s dog, taxes, heart break, our health, paying the rent, gaining weight, that mole on our ass, the dentist, hitting a pedestrian with our truck, getting a virus from the escalator, being mugged, our team not making the playoffs, the guy’s lawn across the street is better, missing the bus.
Do you see how our personal fears ARE SPECIFIC TO US?  And when we put, (praying there isn’t a finger nail in our pudding against global annihilation) HUMOUR ENSUES

We have nothing to laugh but laughter itself!

If you get a chance take a look at my first Novel on my web site “The ANGEL’S CLAW.” Also, I’m running a COMEY CLASS, beginning September the 8th. If you’re interested in being in a class that will push you and expand your ideas of craft, please E mail me: paulsveen@shaw.ca

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Have you heard this phrase?   It was first said by President Franklin D Roosevelt. Easy to say for Frank, don’t be afraid while you’re storming the beach, I’ll be safe back here, drinking my hot Chocolate in front of the fire place.

I say this because everyone who talks about speaking in public or performing stand up comedy for the first time always brings up how afraid they are: “I could never get up on stage, it must be terrifying, I’d never do that.” and the rant gores on and on.

The cure to beating FEAR is turning it into JOY. We’ve been raised in a culture that demands we keep everything inside, don’t say how you feel. Keep it to yourself! A miracle happens when we do the exact opposite, move into FEAR and make FEAR the thing you make FUN OF! 

Tomorrow we do a writing exercise on killing FEAR.

 

 

Emotion and STAND UP COMEDY.

If you get the chance please take a look at my just released first novel “THE ANGEL’S CLAW.” It’s on my web site. I also have tons of STAND UP COMEDY on YOU TUBE!  please share. If you want to book me for STAND UP or a WORK SHOP OR KEY NOTE E MAIL ME:    paulsveen@shaw.ca

I was just looking at one of the PREMISES we’d been playing with: “The first time I was on a stage I fell off of it.” Remember we’d pulled the PUNCH WORDS out of the premise? Again, PUNCH WORD is the ONE WORD that makes every JOKE work. Think of some of your favourite jokes and the one word that triggers your laugh or smile is the PUCNH WORD.  The PUNCH WORDS we found in our premise were: FIRST, TIME STAGE, FELL but what about the emotions?

The PIUNCH WORDS are the TNT of the JOKE.  The emotions are the crater. Lets look at the emotions of our PREMISE.                                      “The first time I was on stage I fell off of it.” Here’s some of the emotions I’ve come up with. (humiliation, desperation, panic, anger, doubt, self-loathing, regret.)  There are some difficult emotions in my list. We have to remember: “the greater the tragedy the greater the comedy.”

Look at some of these words. Do you have any moments from your life that carry any of these emotions? I know they’re hard to look at but if you do, you’ll discover treasure in COMEDY GOLD.

I’ll do the emotional joke writing exercise next on my blog.                        E MAIL ME:             paulsveen@shaw.ca

 

Humour and the TRUTH.

Emotion is the real trick of STAND UP COMEDY. But what the emotion has to be is TRUTH, from your REAL SELF, from your STORY. So how do we go about mining the moments from our life and spin them into COMEDY GOLD.

1) STAND UP COMEDY is a relationship, you and the audience. We have to create material that gets the audience to LAUGH but also to think “I LIKE THIS PERSON.” This is the business of the show, it’s not selling out, you’re not a hack if you’re actually working on your craft. We want the audience laughing, not just the six comedian friends in the back of the club.                                                                                                             2) LOCATE the EMOTIONS and TRUTH of the PREMISE.                        3) Simply begin by being brutally HONEST, creating statements around the PREMISE!

Remember this PREMISE: “The first time I was on stage I fell off of it?”

This is a comment about my life something that actually happened but if we look from other points of view we begin to discover statements (WHICH BECOME PUNCHLINES) all around the premise. We can look at the truth about STAND UP COMEDY. And what are the emotions and truth about STAND UP? Simply Write out how you feel, be honest: “It’s the toughest career in the World, I’d rather die then speak in public, I can’t tell a joke, I can’t remember a joke. I don’t think I’m funny,  it’s tough to get discovered.” (All of these ideas sound desperate and cynical but these are GOLD MINES OF EMOTION!
* When I thought of the last statement, an idea hit me with the word “DISCOVERED.”  (I thought of Columbus discovering a continent and trying to put that idea together with being discovered as a comedian and came up with:) 

“Everyone’s a comedian. When Columbus first saw the natives  on the shore he shouted,  which one of you has my check?”

E mail me: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Humour and Catch Phrases.

I had posted yesterday about locating the PUNCH WORDS in your material before you begin JOKE WRITING. Remember,  we came up with the PREMISE: ( the first time I was on stage I fell off of it) from this we’d taken the words from the PREMISE that jumped out at us, fell, time, stage , first. . . 

Then we took a catch phrase and wrote our first joke. You can also take each PUNCH WORD and write it out, brain storm it for ideas. Lets take TIME.

What are the ideas, catch phrases, statements around STAND UP COMEDY based on TIME?
*How much time do I have to do? ( This is a comedy expression. It means, either, how long do I GET to do, 5 minutes, 10, 45, 60 or how long do I HAVE to do, depending on how new or afraid you are as a comedian.

“How much TIME do I have to do?”  (As soon as I wrote this I thought of ” If you can’t do the TIME don’t do the crime.” All the years I’ve been performing STAND UP COMEDY, I’ve never heard this in a joke. It took me playing with the word to stumble upon it. This is the value of doing the heavy lifting.

“If you can’t do the TIME don’t do the crime.” Lets play with this phrase.  

I couldn’t do the TIME my material was a crime.” This is just the beginning. Lets meet here tomorrow for more TAGS on TIME.

E mail me: paulsveen@shaw.ca

 

More Joke Writing. FRAMING. Class 3, 2015

We’re in a fast food quick blurry get to the point World. If you want your material, whether you’re a STAND UP COMEDIAN,  PUBLIC SPEAKER, SALES,  BUSINESS PERSON, TEACHER, what ever reasons you want to hone your HUMOUR SKILLS remember this:
1) Care about what your talking about. 2) Know the emotion of the story. 3) Know the point. 4) EDIT. GET TO THE POINT. Look at the premise, I fell off the stage: FALLING OFF THE STAGE. (We get our material from our story the moments we’ve lived and we harvest material from these moments, THEN INSERT THE TAGS BACK INTO THE ORIGINAL STORY. I CALL THIS  FRAMING.

My first time on stage I fell off it. I’ll repeat that. The first time I was on stage I fell off it! I was the funny guy at parties, the loud obnoxious goombah starving for attention, the guy that knew a lot of jokes but nothing about honesty vulnerability or being myself. A comedy club opened and my drinking buddies coerced me to get up on stage and do what I did which was: hide behind copious amounts of beer and recite decades old jokes. The MC called my name. I remember stumbling to the microphone as if I was about to be executed, which, thinking back, was ironic because this experience killed the guy I used to be. I walked up on stage, stared into the lights and imploded. I forgot who I was and where I was. I mumbled something about having to leave and stepped where I thought the steps were. I walked off the edge of the stage onto a table. The table collapsed and the drinks of the 10 or so people around the table exploded on top of me. Up to this moment, this was thee single most humiliating experience of my life. I’ve had others, which I’ll share. Being humiliated taught me: *There’s a difference between being laughed AT and laughed WITH. The inability to be vulnerable attracted this life lesson. One pinnacle element of creativity and purpose I’ve learned from 30 years of experience performing stand up in comedy clubs, festivals, concerts, auditoriums giving key notes for corporations, sharing humor work shops in colleges and in clubs, performing one man plays, writing plays a novel, is the ENERGY and EMOTION we emit is what we get BACK!

While I was tagging this I came up with: “If you want people falling off their chairs laughing, fall off the stage!” (I could insert this into my original story or FRAME.  The best way to write jokes is to locate the PUNCH WORDS FIRST. We did this with a PREMISE. Look at the POINT of the sentences in your story and see how many more different PUNCH WORDS you can come up with when we’re going over the story! (PUNCH WORD- the most important word in the joke or sentence.)

I want to look at being honest and vulnerable. This is another place on the circle instead of coming from trauma, humiliation and regret, which by the way, are still gold mines.

Look at a moment from your life and write out all the HONEST VULNERABLE thoughts you come up with. Remember how we mined PUNCH WORDS? Lets mine the PUNCH WORDS from the EMOTIONS ATTACHED TO THE STORY!

PLEASE check out my book The Angel’s Claw  on my Web Page  and Stand Up Videos. Remember. we’re having our CLASS GRAD on OCTOBER 6TH at YUK YUKS in Century Casino . If you’re interested in my book or booking me as a comedian E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

PS: I have a book signing at NORTH TOWN INDIGO, 9450-137 Avenue on SATURDAY OCTOBER 17. 12 UNTIL 4

Tagging a premise.

IF you get a chance take a look at my Novel  “The Angel’s Claw.” on this web page.                                                                                                            TAGGING means to develop, work or expand on an idea. We had being playing with the premise: “The first time I was on stage I fell off of it.”  We’d looked at the KEY WORDS in our premise ( first, time, stage fell.) And began looking at these words as the PUNCH WORD in our jokes. let me give you an example of PUNCH WORDS.

“A lost travelling salesman asks a farmer if he can stay the night in his barn. The farmer says yes but the salesman had to stay in the barn with the Farmer’s 4 grown boys. The Salesman looks at the barn then to the farmer and says “I think I’m in the wrong joke.” ( The word JOKE is the punch word) And JOKE is the last word in the JOKE. Always try and have the PUNCH WORD at the end of the joke, if you put the PUNCH WORD in the middle, it’s a slow death to the end of the joke.

Our PUNCH WORDS are: first, time, stage, fell: Where do we begin? Ever hear the phrase I laughed so hard I fell off my chair? If we connect this phrase to our word STAGE, we end up with:                              “If you want someone to fall off their chair laughing, fall off the stage.”

How about TIME? What are the phrases of time? ( I like to use phrases. It’s the same as song writers using popular catch phrases: “Here For A Good Time,  Two Out Of Three Isn’t Bad.” When you hear the song, it’s already imbedded in you. So begin with the quotes and phrases around the word TIME: We’ll play with this word tomorrow.

E MAIL ME paulsveen@shaw.ca