Thank you Carla, Greg, Brian and Sarah for being in my Stand-Up writing class. The first class is an introduction to stand up mechanics. We as well as our audience are conditioned to story, our favorite book, movie, painting and commercial, yes, commercials are story. A well crafted joke is the same thing, a story, a beginning, middle and end. Here’s the steps in constructing a joke.
1)Premise: this is the idea. “A horse walks into a bar”. 2) Punchline: “The waitress looks at the horse and says.” this is the sentence where the information is. In a script it’s called the ‘plot point.’ the inciting incident, the scene where the alien pops out of someone’s stomach! 3)Punch Word: “What’s with the long face.” in every joke, there’s a single word that creates the laughter, it’s the match that lights the dynamite. “A horse walks into a bar. The waitress looks at the horse and says, what’s with the long face?” (FACE) is the punch word. Notice it’s the last word in the joke? If we write a joke an the punch word is in the middle of the joke, your audience will be giggling before you get to the end of the joke.
This is where we begin. What do you care about? In the first class we talked about, “everyone wants to be happy” and “children ruin everything.” The premise, “kids ruin everything.” We began looking at the idea by writing: “kids ruin everything.” on top a blank page. 3/4 way down the page we wrote the word. POOL. When we get a random idea, a quote, something that gets our interest but may not be connected to the premise, like the phrase, “we can’t have nice things.” write it under the word pool, we might be able to use the idea later and the rest of the ideas later. By talking out the premise, we came up with the things a child might ruin. ( As I thought of the word ruin, I thought of the “Roman Ruins.” I jotted it down under pool.” What do kids ruin: clothes, furniture, toys. We then thought of something a child couldn’t ruin and this is how the joke developed: “Kids ruin everything, clothes, furniture, toys. You know what they can’t ruin, a 3/4 inch reinforced steel cage. Try ruin your way out of that Timmy.” (If I replaced the word TOYS, with the word, MARRIAGES, does that help the joke? ) I ask, because the more emotion in the joke the better the joke.
The second idea was: “Everyone wants to be happy.” The way we worked this premise and the first premise was begin asking questions: Does everyone want to be happy? If the first 2 letters in happiness spell “HA” Why aren’t more people laughing? If wining the lottery makes you happy why are so many people miserable when they win ? And here’s the 1st joke. ”
“Not everyone is happy when they win the lottery, you know why? The giant check, it weighs a ton! The first thing you scream when you win the lottery shouldn’t be MEDIC!”
HOME WORK: Take an idea you like, write it on top a page, pool near the bottom and ask and answer some questions about the premise. Above the premise, write the emotion, what is the feeling behind the lottery for example? Greed, desperation, peace, joy, excitement? Ask and answer questions about the emotion of your premise. Also, what are you afraid or resisting to share in your idea? Ask and answer questions about that also. Next class, have 5 jokes please. Record your first ideas and listen to them, talk out loud, write them out. We begin here. Have fun . See you on September 14 at Yuk Yuks in Century Casino at 7:00 PM. E mail me if you have any questions.
You can book me to bring a work shop to your event and also have me perform at your’s or a friend’s Christmas Party or Fund Raiser. E mail me for details. I can be seen on You Tube and Face Book. Also, our class grad is October 6th. 7:30. Tickets are 10$ at the door. We’re raising funds for Highlands Dog Rescue. Spread the word.