Daily Archives: March 3, 2015

Truth and Humor

I’ll be signing copies of my first Novel, “The Angel’s Claw. March 21ST at the North Town Indigo in Edmonton on 94 Street and 137 Avenue from 12 until 5. E mail me for info on my books or next class I’m teaching: paulsveen@shaw.ca
When you listen to someone talk you can subtly hear what they’re not saying or , what they’re trying to say. “How are you?” “Ok, I guess.” You don’t have to be Spider Man to see the response, this person who’s saying they’re “OK” aren’t!
To me, the unspoken truth, the subtext in our truth and the ability to verbalize and articulate it, is one of the most powerful tools in joke writing. These are the steps I use: 1) Choose a premise that’s attached to your secret self, the you that even you only get glimpses of, the in your sweats, alone on the couch with your guard down you. 2) Can you describe this you in a sentence? ( This is your theme, your market brand 3.) When we know our theme we can dig it out of any premise and when we share it, our material is bathed in emotion and honesty and is fiercely original. 4) Structuring our material with theme, mechanics, set up, punchline, punch word.
EXAMPLE: Premise: Barbie Dolls: This premise is from a joke I’ve been cultivating: Here’s the chunk: “women are more evolved then men because they had dolls when they were girls that taught them how to feel. They’d pull the string and the doll would talk; “Sometimes I’m sad, I want to be more vulnerable, I use my emotions to manipulate people.”
From this joke I started mining other ideas. Each idea is based in my premise: I’m dysfunctional. Here’s the jokes I came up with in the TAGS from the above joke.
1) Be honest, most parents didn’t have the emotional stability to give us the birds and the bees talk. That’s what Barbies were for. “Here’s a Barbie doll. Don’t pull down her pants in front of the neighbors. Keep her away from GI Joe, he’s an action figure. That’s how dolls get pregnant.”
2) Everything boys learned about relationships they learned from a Barbie Doll. If they worked hard they could meet a beautiful girl, get the house and Corvette and then she’d leave him for some clown named Ken.
3) I learnt from my sister’s Chatty Kathy. There was a ring attached to the string , every time I pulled it , Chatty Kathy talked. Years later, on my first date she thought I was massaging her back. I was actually hunting for the ring to shut her up.
Find your theme, that’s where your truth and emotion is, that’s where your funny is.
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