February 25 Class 1. Story is the Boss.

First, I want to thank each and everyone of you for being in my ‘Stand Up Writing Class.’ I promise I will give this class and each and everyone of you personally, everything I have as a teacher, author and comedian to you. I only ask, if at anytime in this class, if you feel stuck, overwhelmed, lost or frozen in any of the principles, or homework, please keep it to yourself, I have a class to run. (KIDDING!!!) E mail me or pull me aside in the class and we’ll work it out, promise 🙂 I can’t make anyone do the homework or writing assignments. It’s up to everyone to do the work and if you do, your public speaking, your writing and confidence will escalate and begin reaping rewards. But it’s up to you.

Alright, homework for next Monday, March 4th: look at your 5 favorite books, songs, movies and then 5 memorable moments from your life and find a pattern a theme that connects the five moments from your life. This is your market brand, your mission statement. Your material will have this theme running through it and we’ll develop it in the class. This theme allows you to stand out and be unique. It also allows you to attract an audience and opportunity. Your theme gives you an identity and connects you to an audience and makes you MEMORABLE.

The outline for this class is: A theme based personal story from your life. We will create material from your stories, opening jokes, closing jokes, callbacks, foreshadowing jokes as well as learning to tag/ write jokes from other perspectives, embed emotion and cultivate the joke writing genres of sarcasm and misdirection.

JOKE WRITING: Premise: the idea. Punch-line: the point. (We use the Question and Answer exercise to begin the joke writing process. We begin by mining the emotion and point of each sentence of our story/set.)  We also ask of the premise: what’s at stake in the relationship in the premise, even if the relationship is with ourselves, a plant, the neighbor or aliens. What’s at stake? In the punch-line we ask- what am I afraid to say, what’s the secret?

Here’s a joke we wrote in class yesterday from a random premise, not one from our theme. The premise was the Oilers.

“I was struggling to get the money together to go to an Oilers game. I decided to spend my money on something way cheaper and less painful and paid someone to attack me with a nail gun.” (What’s at stake here in the premise? budgeting, fighting to get the money together to support your team. What’s the thing you don’t want to say? It’s less painful to be attacked by a nail gun then watch a hockey team.) We achieved this joke by asking and answering questions.

HOME WORK: For the 2nd class have a 2 to 4 minute THEME BASED set for class. I want you to write three jokes, an opener- a joke that gets our attention . Have a joke for the middle, a joke that really carries your theme and a closing joke, a theme based joke that makes you memorable.

I’ll be sharing a set on owning a crap car. Here’s the first sentence of my theme based set/story: “You know how you know you own a crap car? When you speed up to pass someone they go faster. Because no one wants to be passed by a thirty year old rusted Buick that’s on fire.”

What’s at stake of having a crap car? What am I afraid to say or admit? I questioned and answered this. I would insert this joke into my story, It carries my theme.

“I realize my crap car’s a hazard. But I kind of believe in reincarnation. I can get another life. Where am I going to get another 30 year old Buick?”

REMEMBER: at the bottom of your joke writing page underline the word POOL and use the space beneath it to jot down random ideas, premises and inspiration that occurs while you’re working on your set.  You can come back and maybe use an idea. If you don’t do this you’ll forget the ideas 🙂

Have fun. remember to journal 3 pages everyday and concentrate on the class, joke writing, your set, theme, ideas from the class 🙂