Category: The IN Box

Give. If you can. And don’t take yourself seriously.

I’ve always been addicted to humor and its power to bring people together and the power humor has to heal. The clubs I’ve worked in and the showcases, festivals, corporate shows and road gigs beg to differ. I’ve spent decades trying to figure out what I was doing in Stand Up, was I soapbox comic, the angry chain smoking recovering alcoholic with a story to tell? Kind of, but without the cigarettes and a lot of the anger diluted by years of “The Artist’s Way,” journals helping expunge my demons.

You might argue that anger is funnier than humor that heals. I was coming out of my first divorce when I started comedy. These were a few of my jokes back in the early 80’s. “Me and my wife broke up. I still see here though; she’s in my freezer.” or this chunk. “What’s with that song, ‘I am Woman hear me roar?’ Let me hear the vacuum roar. Do your job.” “I blame Oprah for my breakup. She said if I loved my wife I’d find her ‘G SPOT.’ I went looking for it. Turns out it was in my wife’s cousin.” These were absolutely stupid jokes made for drunk people that told you that I was an angry idiot but they never told anything about me. Life should be an evolution: body, mind, soul and I’ve spent decades looking for punchlines when I realize I should have been looking for myself.

What does that mean? First of all, angry is funny, rage, desperation, panic and all the emotions that come out of a disintegrating relationship are ripe for Stand-Up. It’s no longer my audience or who I am. But you know what? Heart, spirit and a soul’s journey is not hilarious. But these are the things I’m searching for in my story. They’re calling to me. And they are my audience.

As I’m writing this, my random I-Tunes music selector chose Gregorian Chanting. Coincidence? I don’t know you tell me. There’s still a million reasons to be mad, bills, regret, shaming, bullying on media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. When we put ourselves out there we invite those that prey on others. The old me would have lashed out at being bullied or shamed but now I chose to use these moments as an opportunity to reinforce my spiritual muscle.

I chose to grow in all pillars of life, my marriage, emotionally and creatively. When Nernie and I started dating almost 20 years ago she had this dream where I was on stage and a rope was being pulled out of me. I’ve come to believe her dream was her asking me to be real, allow the real Paul to show up. I’ve never really known where I belonged. I’ve just known I needed to create, that has taken the form of music, writing live theatre, novels, teaching, performing Stand-Up and Keynotes. I’ve been in too many miracles not to believe they’re real, all the near fatal car accidents I’ve been in across the country. Planes that should have crashed but didn’t. Me, twenty one years sober and in love with the woman I preyed for. Don’t tell me the Universe isn’t listening to us.

Once, I was driving in the middle of a nightmare blizzard, in a piece of junk truck with faulty wiring; at three in the morning my head lights go out. The comic in the passenger seat SCREAMS looks at me and swears like a mechanic that we should have never left the hotel we were in. Yah, well if we would have stayed we wouldn’t have this story would we? He smashes his hands into the roof of the truck trying to ready himself for the impending head on collision. I’m in shock. That’s what I do in moments like this! When my wife asks where the remote is, when a vendor in a food court asks if I want extra mayo, when an AMAZON driver asks if I could please write my name on that electronic slab from the future. I panic. So, here we are pitch black in a whiteout blizzard, no lights going one hundred and twenty kilometers an hour. I do the cardinal sin of driving in the winter on the Canadian Prairie; I slammed on the breaks! The truck slides sideways on the QE2, the six lane highway between Calgary and Edmonton. I’m white knuckling the steering wheel staring out into the blizzard likes it’s a horror flick. The comedian next to me isn’t talking to me. He’s hyperventilating and seeing his life pass before his eyes. The truck slams into a snow drift I never saw and my vehicle explodes into the ditch up the side and slides sideways over an access road and my truck slides through a truck stop parking lot and shimmies into an empty stall near a massive gas station until seconds earlier did not see and did not know existed. The comic I’m driving with stops shouting and I say: you want to get some breakfast? Swear to God. It’s true. There’s something looking out for all of us and that’s the place I’m going to start with my humor.

I’ve burnt more bridges than the Nazis because I chose to grow and be true to myself and my heart and be the Paul the Universe has been asking me to.

That’s Why I can’t Have Nice Stuff.

Ever have a parent scream that at you? “That’s why we can’t have nice stuff!” What this means is, kids were the reason everything in the house was run into the ground or destroyed and never replaced; because children had some kind of defective gene. Well, that’s what they wanted us to think. Maybe if our parents spent less on liquor and smokes or had the ambition to get a better job, or stop buying cheap crap from Wally’s Furniture Hut and start shopping at Army Surplus and fill the house with metal bunk beds and ammunition containers for end tables. What we didn’t know as kids was, the house we grew up in was a “starter home.” The place kids were supposed to destroy. That’s what kids do and the reason we couldn’t have nice stuff.

My point is, I’ve always destroyed my stuff. I tore and shredded the knees in all my pants because I played marbles; my first addiction, well second behind sugar. I’ve destroyed toys, lunch boxes, thermoses, jackets, glasses, bikes. I still destroy stuff. Nernie, my wife loses her mind when I break a plate, cup, television, lawnmower or car. That’s what I’ve destroyed the most of-cars.

I had a Pontiac that my dad co-signed for. I was thinking what he must have felt when he looked out the back window into the garden and watched the Pontiac slowly sink into the ground because that’s where I abandoned it.

The Pontiac was brown, a two door. Once when I was camping, I parked next to a tree and when I backed up to leave, I rolled forward then rolled backward. I had the drivers door open and somehow, ended up with the tree wedged in the driver’s door. I matted the gas peddle and the car wouldn’t move until finally the car broke free. The driver’s door had slammed all the way forward and when I kicked it closed; it never opened again. People had to crawl through the passenger door to get into the car. After six months of parties, the middle spot of the car’s bench seat was destroyed. If you sat in the middle you were staring into the roof of the car.

On the last road trip, a buddy of mine and I, drove to Vancouver in the Pontiac. I remember I had only a few cassettes; the second album of Camel, a prog rock jazz fusion band from England. damn, the band had a flute in it and it was really mellow, the absolute worst music to be on the road with. The other cassette was some kind of Peter the Wolf rock opera that had one good song.

Anyway, we we drove to Vancouver and had almost no money. Great planning. We apparently had enough to buy some hash though. This would prove to be a big mistake. The extra cash for the hash blew my budget and on the way home I had to sell my spare tire in Jasper to get home. So, I sell the spare tire, fill the car with gas and get a couple of burgers from a sidewalk vendor. Half an hour later we get food poisoning. Three days I was passed out across the front seat and Tom was out cold in the back.

We finally get back into Edmonton and I drop Tom off; he eventually became a biker and last heard, was a running a church somewhere. I drive the car into the back yard whence it sunk into the tundra. Two years later, the dealership repossessed the Pontiac. There was flowers and weeds growing out of the back seat. The one guy opens the hood and crawls on the motor to spray ether into the carburetor. If you’ve never heard of a carburetor, google 1879. So, the other guy hits the ignition and there’s a mini mushroom cloud explosion from the engine which sends the guy on the motor backward spread eagle into the muck.

I’ve had many cars since then, I’ve driven them all into the ground. Four of them I abandoned, well five; I forgot about the Pontiac.

At some point we have to Laugh.

I’m beginning to think my parents had all us kids so they had a bigger group when they were shaming one of us. I’m not good with confrontation; When I was a kid I froze and it was debilitating. Even though I’ve suffered through this ( I’m sure I’m not the only one, being put on the spot in front of a group? Maybe it’s the degree of paralysis, that I’m effected by.) The point I’m trying to make is, this paralysis is an absolute gold mine. It’s a secret and I’ve come to realize that secrets are like found treasure, like pictures that we never knew we had? They tell so much about us. And they’re a gold mine for humor. They’re my secrets so I get to share them. If someone else isn’t at a place where they’re not comfortable peeking behind their curtain; try using your humor as a flashlight.

My challenge is I love writing and Stand Up and craft and through this process I’ve found, I can lose myself like the forest through the trees. If I was to look at shaming as my kryptonite I’d first look for the stories from my life that had these examples and then I’d search for the secrets, the things I’d be afraid to share. My elephants in the room.

So, I look through my life and scour for these moments. They’re not hard to find.Remember how parents made us sit at the table for supper? Mine did it so they could shout stuff about kids starving in China, how hard dad had to work to buy spam and get our #!!*# elbows off the table. It wasn’t supper; it was a shaming circle. I don’t know why I’m so paralyzed when I’m shamed. Maybe because the guy who did most of the shaming played the polka for a living, and as a kid it’s hard to throw that in his face, you know since he was the guy putting spam on the table.

Once, I was working this day job back in the day; there was about ten of us crowded into this construction shack, having a break. I was sitting next to the window and Ron, the senior guy, asked me to close the window. I slam it closed and unbeknownst to me, someone had put a bunch of creamers in the windowsill, so when I slammed the window closed, I took half a cup of half and half in the face. The shack erupts in stupid, over the top laughter. I thought Ron was going to have a heart attack, he was laughing so hard. But, I think being paralyzed by shame attracts more shame. There’s also this self defense mechanism that kicks in and sees everything like an attack and that’s not good. Not taking everything seriously kills the shame. It’s also liberating.

Ron was a chain smoker and had a bad heart and had a bypass. He was always taking these nitrogen pills. So, one day I get one of these hand buzzers and wind it up and shake Ron’s hand in a crowded street. (why the hell would I do that?) The buzzer goes off in Ron’s hand and his eyes bug out, he grabs his heart and falls to his knees on the sidewalk then lands on his face. I scream, “OH MY GOD!!!” Ron gets up and starts howling. So I’m the brunt of my own joke. But Ron would always say I was the funniest guy he had ever been around. I’m sure we’ve been all told that at one point in our lives. But, as I’ve examined some moments with my buddy Ron, I’m trying to see what it is that makes us funny.

It’s been moments like this, being laughed at and not with, that I’ve been afraid to share. I’ve always felt though, that these were the exact moments we have to share because in all things humor, in the end, we’re not just looking for the punchline; we’re looking for ourselves. Shaming and bullying and how we react to it, tells us how close or far away we are to the reasons we’re so paralyzed when put on the spot. Keep looking for yourself in these moments and you’ll also find the treasure.

E mail me:

Legends of The Paul: TAGGING.

TAGGING means to develop, work on or expand on an JOKE. The best way to create new jokes from an original joke, is to begin at the KEY WORDS, or PUNCH WORD in the PREMISE. If we use the PUNCH WORD, the TAG we create better be as strong or stronger than the original joke, because the TAG is being telegraphed in the original PUNCH WORD. Confused? Good. The  Here’s a premise we can use as an example: “The first time I was on stage I fell off of it!”  look at the KEY WORDS in this premise ( FIRST…….TIME…….STAGE……. FELL) We begin by looking at these key words for a premises and PUNCH WORD and PUNCHLINE in our new jokes. let me give you an example.

Our PUNCH WORDS are: first, time, stage, fell: Where do we begin? We begin by looking at our FRAME and TAG the SENTENCES or look for SIMILAR to this premise we’re playing with in our sandbox. We can also find GOLD in the ideas that bubble up in our POOL. Our POOL can generate random ideas, emotions, key words and phrases that have connections to FELL? PAR EXEMPLE: FALLING IN LOVE, WINTER, SUMMER, SPRING,”
FALL; “Ever since I fell? off the stage, I can’t perform in FALL.” ( I asked myself if CAREENED off the stage would be better, so I don’t telegraph FELL) I put a question mark next to fell to remind me to try different words in the premise. 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 an audience to fall off their chairs laughing, just fall off the stage.” ( When I insert this joke into MY FRAME, this TAG carries the emotion of falling off a stage in a full nightclub. REMEMBER: When we tag a joke, our TAG carries the EMOTION of the joke we TAGGED. Experiment with different emotions. Se what the result it 🙂 

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 embedded in your joke writing arsenal. “You only have so much TIME on stage; unless you fall off it, then you can spend as much time as you want on the floor.

So, we begin with a JOKE in our FRAME. We Q and A the KEY WORDS or PUNCH WORD- (the WORD that makes the joke work.  in the JOKE we’re TAGGING. We ask the emotional vulnerable question about a KEY WORD; we can ANSWER with SARCASM. We can also make the KEY WORD look at itself in JUXTAPOSITION, by putting the KEY WORD against its opposite; EXAMPLE: or SIMILE; Falling off a stage is like?

Have fun. REMEMBER: New FRAME: Write 3 jokes and CREATE or TAG 2 NEW JOKES from the 3 original jokes. Great job everyone in the last class. Thank you for working so hard. It’s also awesome to see how much fun we’re having. LOVE IT!!!

Thank you Dan for sharing this awesome comment about my Stand Up Writing class; 7 times really appreciate it sir.


The Legends of the Paul and Perspective.

The Challenge we have with perspective, is, it’s not about US, when we’re usually writing and this is a hard habit to break, to not talk about ourselves. Did I mention I have a NATIONAL TEACHING AWARD??? Any way, lets look at a few ways to master perspective in joke writing.

REMEMBER: Premise, is the question. Punchline, is the answer. This is joke writing One-o-One. We’re going to kick it up a notch and ask ourselves to DIG into who we really are. This is where the GOLD IS and this is where the EMOTION is. OUR MISTAKES.

I’m going to talk about a girl I had a crush on in grade five: Joyce Debarko. I bought her a box of chocolates with my allowance and she yelled;”hey everyone, square head bought me chocolates!” She proceeded to pass the box of candy out to every one in the room; when the box got back to me; it was empty. True story.

From my perspective 1) Why didn’t I eat the whole box of chocolates and turn into a sugar addict? Maybe Joyce would have felt sorry for me and at least become my sponsor? ( I tried the joke from her becoming the addict and felt it said less about me and was to disrespectful.)

2) From Joyce’s perspective: So I’m thinking, how come square head gave me a box of chocolates? Then it hit me, the box was square, just like his big square head. I wish he was round head; I like wagon wheels better.

3) From the teachers perspective. “Why did I tolerate bullying in my class. Pretty hard to get Joyce to get her stop calling him square head with my mouth full of chocolate!

4) From my best friends perspective: Yes, I was about to say stop calling my friend names, I went to say, but instead, I said, look, Chocolate caramel.

5) From my dad’s perspective:What do you mean she called you square head? You’re name is idiot.

I will use this set for next class. What I’ll do is write out the FRAME and look at each sentence. I’ll explore the way I felt about this story , the impact it had on my life and write JOKES/TAGS; from beginning, middle and end. I’ll allow the story to create the jokes. The way a set is supposed to be. Have fun. Remember I am an Author and Comedian. Please share my Book if you can, it’s on my website. If you need a speaker for your event, please talk to me about it. And last but not least; please share my Stand Up Writing Class.

Legends Of the Paul Misdirection and we love Kitties.

Alright, thank you everyone for the last class. There is no rush to get to the Four Thirty Class on Tuesdays. Join when you can. I will catch you up to speed when you log in and you can also go over the blog.

Thank you everyone for last weeks effort. The set was ‘something we’d overcome.’ Did everyone recognize the emotions in their jokes? They were gleaned directly from your story. This also reveals the value of creating jokes from your story.

HOME WORK for next class: FIVE MISDIRECTION’S in a story about you that you care about. Here are some tips again on writing misdirection. 1) The steps are: 1) Locate a FRAME/ STORY FROM YOUR LIFE. 2) Locate the meaning and emotion behind the first sentence. Ask a question of the first sentence. 3) Allow the answer to be either over the top sarcasm, from the elephant in the room or from how you really feel. 4) Put the question and the answer( premise and punchline) together- REMEMBER to put the PUNCH WORD at the end of the punchline. 5) Now, you insert three AMPLIFIERS after the premise, these words are attached to the premise so as to take the audience from the punchline and so AMPLIFY the punchline. REMEMBER: we can insert amplifiers that can be used to FORESHADOW the next joke.

EXAMPLE: I have a story of a misunderstanding when I was in elementary school. The crux of the FRAME ( I’ll be sharing next class is; I avoided a school yard fight but managed to confront the bully years later. ( yah, this all happened.) REMEMBER: write pool near the bottom of your page for unrelated ideas. Alright, I’m looking for the INGREDIENTS of my first joke. (how did the fight start, why did I not stand up for myself, why did I face the guy years later? I’m going to choose a sub topic, my dysfunctional childhood.

I wondered why I avoided schoolyard confrontations. It left me unprepared for relationships. (This is the first edit. Yes I said five jokes but we need to write as many as we can before next class, tagging our FRAME, and selecting the top five jokes from the kitty.) See how I used KooKoo’s image to embed her name to foreshadow??? Have I mentioned my National Teaching Award??? ALRIGHT. Now we add the AMPLIFIERS.

“I was wondering if elementary school taught me something, gaunchy pulls, twisted nipples, the, I’m with stupid signs taped to my back. Turns out it prepared me for my first marriage. ”

So,FRAME, search five sentences in your frame for their meaning and emotion. (see if you can use these in your jokes message and using the punchline to carry the emotion. Then, premise, sarcastic answer, amplifiers attached to the premise. Repeat.

REMEMBER to share my class with friends, co workers, on Facebook, Myspace and the imaginary people we’re creating in lock down. I really appreciate everyone’s hard work and all of you for supporting each other and for having taken my Stand Up Writing class. Thank you one and all.

Legends of The Paul. Class 4

Great class the other day, on Tuesday kids. I really appreciate all of you, your creative courage, your work ethic in your sandbox and for allowing me to share my Stand Up Writing Class with. Thank You. If you could, please share your experiences with friends and let them know about my class, that it’s happening, even in these times.

Alright, Here’s the outline for your work for this week. 1) Find a YOU story that tells us something that you’ve overcome, a job, fear, relationship, phobia. . .2)Spend 2 days Locating the FRAME. 3 days TAGGING/ WRITING jokes from your story, which means, looking at your story and QUESTIONING and ANSWERING the moments of your FRAME by asking the vulnerable, emotion behind the question and answering with a SARCASM. 3) Spend the other 2 days REHEARSING your set. (REMEMBER to TAPE your set while your sharing it so you can go over the set and find the beautiful uplifting joyous comments from your fellow Legends. And you’ll be able to see the new joke ideas in the tape and opportunities to make your set even better, which sounds incredible, because how can something that fantastic be out there, in a set that’s already perfect???


RUNNING GAG: A running gag is a CALLBACK that’s referenced usually three times. What a running gag is, is referencing the same joke a few times. An example would be how we referenced Dan’s CONDO premise. A running gag is like a thread that weaves through our set and it lets the audience in on your craft and wit. Running gags also give our set layers and a history, in the sense, it allows a five to ten minute set to have a past, while you’re creating it.

EXAMPLE: Isolating has brought my wife and I closer. We used to have to be on the OPPOSITE SIDE of the house, with the pandemic, it’s only six feet! When we first met, she didn’t know what I did for a living. Then she found one of my joke lists and read: if I want to kill, use the body chunk. I think she thought I was a serial killer. It’s why the first time she saw my show, it was from the OPPOSITE SIDE of the club. Most guys are insecure when they’re dating, they have a small comfort-zone. It’s why when any girl walks through their comfort zone, they think they’re in a relationship. I once dated a girl with a comfort zone as big as the world. It’s why she let me so close, as close as the OPPOSITE SIDE of the city.

So, I referenced OPPOSITE SIDE, three times. Choose one of your jokes and allow a premise or a punchline to be referenced three times throughout your set. beginning, middle and near the end, and as the closer if you feel it’s the BEST JOKE IN YOUR SET, which a closer has to be. REMEMBER: To be memorable we have to be ourselves.

REMEMBER: I have more online classes coming up, tell your friends please. I also share KEY NOTES and am a CORPORATE COMEDIAN. If you know anyone that’s looking for a speaker, or an AUTHOR for an ONLINE book club, please share my website. Any questions about homework or booking me:

March 16 Stand Up Writing Class.

After performing Stand Up through 30 years of corporate shows, clubs, festivals, Television specials and keynotes on the power of humor, as well as teaching my award winning Stand Up Writing class for over 25 years; I’ve come to believe 2 certain truths. 1) Fear pushes away our goals and dreams. 2) Laughter attracts our goals and dreams.

My Stand Up writing class explores the writing mechanics of Comedy, style, genre, the construction of a joke from premise to punchline. How to embed emotion and how to find and develop our own theme and market brand. We’ll cover the construction of a set, beginning, middle and end. We’ll also cover how to develop perspective through the real stories from our life and the people that share our stories.

I am sharing this class through the experience of teaching Stand up for over 25 years, and writing 3 Fringe Plays, and 2 novels. I know the feeling of scarcity and creative fear in performing, writing as well as teaching. What I teach is craft and the ability to tap into our positive creative strengths.

When you take my Stand Up Writing Class you will conquer your creative fears, have the ability to plan and execute Stand Up and humor in social, professional and on print situations. Our best self is the part of us that wants to make a difference, sharing your limitless humor is exactly that. To register please E MAIL ME AT:

Class 5: CALL BACKS.

First, thank you, all of you for being in Paul Sveen’s Stand Up Writing Class. It truly was my honor to have you in my class, the laughs, conversations, the breakthroughs and all the hard work you put in. Thank you. Please share my class, I’d really appreciate it. My next Stand Up Writing Class begins Monday January 27 at Yuk Yuks in Century Casino. If anyone has any questions please E MAIL ME:

Alright: CALLBACKS: A callback is a REFERENCE to a previous joke in your set. This GENRE of STAND UP WRITING, gives your set history. It’s an effective way to allow your set to have layers and depth when we’re performing 7 to 10 minutes. So here’s the sequence of events in using CALLBACKS.

ONE: Chose the STORY FROM YOUR LIFE that reveals your theme that tells us most about you.

TWO: Write out the story and look at each sentence. These are the premises we’ll write material about. (REMEMBER: we’re telling the story the way it happened and using the POINT of each sentence as your PUNCHLINE.

EXAMPLE: I was working on my car to save some cash. It’s a crappy car. I have an airbag but I have to blow it up myself. I spent the whole summer with the windows rolled up pretending I had air conditioning. Didn’t impress anyone but I lost 16 pounds. I still get photo radar tickets. I can’t afford them. When I see a bright light go off in the corner of my eye, I pray I’m having a stroke. I hate photo radar tickets. They come in the mail and for a SPLIT Second they look like a CHECK!To get back at the man, I park on the side of a highway, put on a reflector vest and point my HAIRDRYER (this is where I’m setting up the CALLBACK) at on coming traffic. When the RCMP pull up I say, “doesn’t feel very good does it fella?” Here’s how you know you have crappy car; when you speed up to pass someone, the other car goes faster; no one wants to be passed by a 35 year old Buick that looks like it’s about to catch on fire. Anyway, I was fixing my car; I pulled out the alternator and took it to Canadian Tire and asked if they had one for a 35 year old Buick. He said yes, and then the mechanic asked why I brought my fuel pump? I drove to work the next day and said, “Hey look at that guy holding that hairdryer!!!”

This is a callback that I closed on. Look at your story and choose a part of it you want to make reference to. Keep playing with this it really works. Audiences love them it shows you care about your craft.

Play with CALLBACKS in your set for DECEMBER 17. Remember: 7 to 10 minutes. Best joke at the end. Keep rehearsing and going over your set. Record it and listen to it. Know your set and pause and allow time for laughter. Thank you Again for being in my class. It was my privilege. Please share my link. I can bee booked for Events as a Corporate Stand Up Comedian, KEY NOTE and for my Humor Work Shops.

My next Stand Up writing Class begins Monday January 27. It would make a great Christmas gift. For details E MAIL ME:


Great last class gentlemen. I’d like to mention, I’m a nationally touring Corporate Comedian and KEYNOTE on the FIVE PRINCIPLES of HUMOR. I can be booked for your Christmas Party, Retreat or Company booster. I’m also a published author. Check out my first novel on my Web Site:

Really looking forward to Monday’s ‘class four.'( Already????) I know a few of you have been away; I’ll be at each class as early as I can and go over your sets, homework and joke writing. I love every class I teach but I’m really connecting to this group. I really appreciate your hard work and love the support you have for each other. We had some great laughs last class and some breakthroughs. Lets keep pushing ourselves, rehearsing, recording our sets and asking and answering premises from different perspectives.

our comedy Grad is Tuesday December 17th. Showtime is 7:30. Doors open at 6:00. Could you please start inviting your friends and family and co workers now; these amazing people will be your audience; so, get the word out. Tickets are only 10$ and at the door. Thank you again for being a part of my Stand Up Writing Class. It’s my honor to be be a part of this group. Alright, remember, ( your set is a story, YOUR STORY. All the material we’re developing in this class is based on the story from your life, the story that you choose.) Also, be aware of your emotions; allow your energy in class to be big, positive!!! 

HOMEWORK FOR CLASS FOUR: Go through your set and add 3 MISDIRECTION jokes or THREE JOKES if you can from another perspective. For the FOURTH CLASS: choose your set you’d like to perform on your Stand Up Performance December 17th. Again, insert THREE MISDIRECTION JOKES and if you want, THREE from ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE. Here is the formula for misdirection; REMEMBER to use your THREE PAGES IN YOUR JOURNAL to work on your set for class on Mondays. ( You can blast through them in 1/2 an hour. It’s a great habit to get into for Stand Up Writing. It’s also a great way to get organized for a speech, to MC, work on a manuscript, novel or screen play. It’s also an excellent way to exercise your creativity.)

1)Choose a STORY/FRAME that broadcasts your THEME. 1) Pick a story/set that REVEALS YOU, tells us about you. ( EXERCISE: try writing some jokes about a random premise, the news, your neighborhood, sports. Then choose a personal story that holds your theme and write some jokes from your story. Ask yourself what the difference is.)

2) look at the FIRST, SECOND and MIDDLE SENTENCE IN YOUR STORY AND THE LAST SENTENCE TO Q and A and then develop with MISDIRECTION. (Start with saying the sentence out loud, ask how you really feel about the sentence, the deep emotion, say it out loud; ask what the elephant in the room is about the sentence, the secret: this is the PUNCHLINE. Then, ask how you FEEL about the punchline. This is the PREMISE! Then add THREE statements that are connected to the premise, things that are at the heart of the premise. Write them out and then say the sentence/  premise, the three comments and the punchline. Keep revising until you’re comfortable with the chunk. 

           Alright, lets get down to MISDIRECTION. First we look at our story: I’m choosing “The Cars I’ve owned.”  and when I share this I’m revealing who I am and that’s what good stories and jokes do, REVEAL. Look at your first sentence: ask what the point is and then what you feel about the point. (REMEMBER the POOL at the bottom of your STAND UP notebook page. I wrote down at the bottom of the page some of the stories of the cars I’ve owned. I find this interesting and will use it. Get in the habit of putting ideas at the bottom of the page under pool; it pays dividends.

OK, start with A STORY. Write down the first sentence of your story. This is THE PREMISE. The first car I drove by myself I totaled. This is the premise and now I’m going to add THREE STATEMENTS THAT ARE CONNECTED TO THE PREMISE.

“The first car I drove I totaled; I was in the country, hit a ditch and slammed into a tree. I did what any 17 year old would do. I parked it back in my parent’s garage.” (Do you see how the THREE statements take our attention from the PUNCH LINE?


First look at a sentence in your story. 1) I decided to clean my car one handful of garbage at a time. 2) What’s something that would be sarcastic? (it would take a million years, I’d be a hundred when my car’s clean? Where I decided to start? YES. Here’s the joke. REMEMBER: these jokes are from your set/ story, so they stay in the story, they’re making the original story funnier.

“I told my wife I was slowly cleaning my car one handful of garbage at a time, it was crammed with coffee-cups, burger-wrappers, windshield wiper containers. When my car was clean it was going to be a surprise on our three-hundredth anniversary.

Keep setting up the premise and then adding three comments that are connected to the premise, this amplifies the punch line. The 3 comments create the misdirection. You can create MISDIRECTION by ASKING and ANSWERING questions about ONE OF YOUR STORIES.

Question: Why did I destroy my dad’s car? Answer: Because my buddies car was a bus pass. NOW, insert three statements that are connected to the premise. Why did I destroy my dad’s car, I didn’t mean to, it was an accident, I’m sorry. Besides, my buddies car was a bus pass. Start with story/frame. Ask and answer questions. The question is the PREMISE. The answer is the PUNCH LINE. Insert THREE STATEMENTS/ AMPLIFIERS after the premise. Talk it out loud, write from another perspective. Keep talking out the original story and continue the MISDIRECTION procedure. Keep at it. You’ll come up with great material.

E-mail me if you have any questions. Have fun and allow yourself to reveal you in your material and make sure your punch lines make a point. 1) Premise. 2) three comments. 3) unexpected punch line. Keep playing with this, the emotion is in your story so the emotions will be in the material you create from your story; the bigger the emotion the bigger the laugh. And remember to journal about your SET, WRITING JOKES. EMOTION and everything you feel about your set. Next class 4: your set is a STORY from your life, 3 jokes from misdirection. Or three jokes from Q AND A. Have fun, stay in your sandbox and remember to share my class, my website and my book PLEASE .