Class 2. Opening Jokes

Alright everyone, great first class. I hope you used the long weekend break to work on your set. There’s a few things to remember about opening jokes and joke writing. I’ve put some examples here for you to play with.

A joke is three things as is your set: beginning, middle and end. When we look at a premise, we begin with our theme.

THEME: this is the pattern or mission statement; it’s the message that your stories carry. We’ll discuss this again in class. your theme is important because it’s your market brand. This sets you apart as a speaker/ comedian and writer.

PREMISE/IDEA: “Christmas.” We begin by first finding a story among our hundreds of stories that we have about Christmas. (We don’t just write jokes. We write/tag jokes about a theme based story. An audience is accustomed to story, opposed to random, strung together ideas. Plus id we share a story, we also share our theme in the story and then also our jokes will carry our theme.

My Christmas story is about my dad playing the accordion in the mall, right at the exit of an escalator. He had all his records in stands around him and I was the hand model, pointing at the records.

So, I’m looking at this premise and ask myself how I feel about it. REMEMBER; the more the emotion the greater the laughs. (We ask questions and answer them. We also ask from different point of views and when we create a joke, we do the same steps with the joke; this way we refine the jokes.

Have you ever been beat up as a kid because of your dad? Maybe he was trouble, was on the news, broke the law. I got beat up because my dad was a polka king. ( This is misdirection. Notice how the three examples I gave about the premise, are attached to the premise? This makes the PUNCHLINE unexpected.

Are opening joke should get the audience’s attention, and the joke should hold our theme, and will, if it’s from our story and we’re VULNERABLE and HONEST.

This is a Christmas story so I’m writing some Christmas jokes that I’m going to insert into my story about Christmas. I’ll make sure the jokes are connected to my theme.

I love Christmas. It’s the only time of year I’m not the only one who’s disappointed. (Notice the PUNCH WORD is the last word in the joke.

I was at the mall. I said Merry Christmas to the clerk. She said, “sir, I can’t say that. I have to say either Happy Holidays, or Merry X Mass.” I said, “We’re in Walmart. I never came her for salvation. I’m here for the sale on the 12 pack of socks.”

I’ll be sharing my FRAME: the story about my dad playing accordion in the mall. We ask how we feel about the first sentence in our story and then we answer it. We then look from different perspectives of the same joke and then answer them. REMEMBER: Your class performance will be at Yuk’s Edmonton on Tuesday December the 17th. Remember to share your performance date with friends, family and co-workers. also, REMEMBER: I’m a nationally touring Corporate Comedian. I’m also a KEYNOTE and Author. If you’d like me to come to your next event, please E MAIL ME:

Nov/4 Class One Outline.

Thank you, everyone, for being in my Stand Up Writing class and making it a success. This class is five weeks, culminating (finishing) on Tuesday December 17 with our performances. The principles of my class are designed to embrace your strengths and your story. We will develop the writing mechanics and Stand Up craft to build your story. Have fun, be yourself and allow the best of creative self. We embrace our story in this class. I highly recommend we journal three pages a day on everything Stand Up, our fears, victories, our set, our material, journal about different perspectives tagging the jokes you have already written to make more jokes.

Remember your goal and when you’re writing your set. Remember to align the energy of your goal: if it’s to take a risk, be spontaneous, to laugh, to write well crafted jokes, whatever your goal is, visualize it and actualize it (make it happen) through our material.


REMEMBER: OUR JOKES  SHOULD REVEAL WHO WE ARE TELL THE AUDIENCE ABOUT WHO WE ARE AND MAKE US MEMORABLE. We begin with the first sentence in our story. My story is about being a kid. I want to reveal me in this set and not have my material point ‘out there.’ When I look at this set what I’m saying is we were fearless and limitless as kids.’ These are the ideas and emotions I’m mining in my story/ set/ punchlines. I’m revealing me this way and this way, keeping the set original and authentic. I’m also keeping my goal in mind, the theme in my stories.

1) Use your introduction to foreshadow your set. 2) Rehearse your story until you know it and then begin tagging it. I’ll begin at the first sentence in Water Slide Story.

JOKE 1) I wasn’t ready for my first relationship ( this is the premise I’ve stated it and now ask the unspoken questions, the way out sarcastic questions and the deep dark questions and also, not just from our perspectives, BRAINSTORM from SEVERAL PERSPECTIVES” Back to I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship: I was too immature, I had my parents as an example, I didn’t know how to be myself, I was 19. (This last idea struck a chord with me. Here’s the first joke. I’ll rehearse and talk around it but here’s the bones of the joke.)

  1. My first joke about “Being a kid.”
  2. Remember all the things we used to do as kids that we no longer do as adults? Raiding gardens, swimming all day, hide and seek. Lets face it; it’s hard to ring a bell and run like hell with a bad hip. This will be my opening joke for my story/set.
  3. Have a 2 to 5 minute story/set ready for Monday. E mail me if you have any questions.
  4. REMEMBER: you can book me for your event or company Christmas Party. Ask me in class.
  5. Have fun!!!!!
  6. And please share my web site and comedy links.
  7. REMEMBER DECEMBER 17 YUK YUKS CENTURY CASINO: SPREAD THE WORD. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are 10$ Show time: 7:30
  8. Here’s the link to my first novel:
  9. E MAIL ME:

Class 5: Class review.

REMEMBER: We are bringing the audience. Spread the word about your performance on Tuesday October 15. Thank you everyone for the great class last Monday. I really appreciate your hard work. I would also really appreciate if you spread the word of my class and my website. If you know an organization or company that’s looking for a speaker or comedian for their Christmas event, please share my link: or my E mail please.                                                                                                                                    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  1. Remember : our SET is based on OUR STORY, write out your story; look at each sentence and ask what the sentence in the story is saying. Then answer the question from over the top sarcasm, or from the elephant in the room. Make sure the theme of your story in in the material. Tag the set/story from as many perspectives on the circle as you can. looking from your perspective as well as the others in your story. (ALLOWING OTHER PERSPECTIVES REINFORCES YOUR PERSPECTIVE and gives your set layers.) Start by writing out your STORY/SET and look at each sentence and look at the sentence, ask how you feel,(THIS IS YOUR PREMISE) Ask what the meaning of the sentence is. (THIS IS THE PUNCHLINE)
  2. REMEMBER: Journal through your homework this will help you develop ideas and remember to have a POOL at the bottom of your page, where you insert ideas that bubble up while you’re working on your STORY/SET; These ideas might become valuable later.
  3. FORESHADOWING: when we foreshadow our set we set the next joke up in the misdirection. This gives our set rhythm and escalates theme.
  4. I’m going to play with the set I’m playing with: “My spouse doesn’t like me being in a comedy class.”
  5. REMEMBER : Story is the boss. I’m taking a story from my past where over five years a comedian’s wife slowly stops going to his shows.I don’t care if you’re married to Chris Angel or Wayne Gretzky, be honest, look in your heart, after a while Janet Gretzky must have been like: “great, another hat trick, what’s that, 2000? Great.” yawn.
    1. Opening joke: (I’m going to keep directing and foreshadowing the jokes toward a comedian’s wife never going to their shows.) WRITE OUT THE PREMISE ask how you feel about it. Then ask what the point is, premise and punch line.” look for the emotional unspoken punchline, and, look at the key words in the previous joke and use it to foreshadow the next joke.                      2.I told my wife I was taking a comedy class. She said, take plumbing, renovating, working around the house; that’s the stuff that really makes me laugh ” ( Now we use key words from this joke to foreshadow the next one.)                                                          I love my wife but she doesn’t think I’m comedy funny, she doesn’t laugh at my jokes but can’t stop laughing when I tried to fix the sink.” (I foreshadowed the second joke in the first joke when I said my wife thought I couldn’t be a hand.)                          3) My wife came to my last open mike, small audience, quiet, I asked them what they wanted to talk about. My wife shouted,        tell them how you tried to fix the toilette!”
  6. Write out the story, write out the point/ punch line, and how you feel/ premise. While you’re talking it out remember to (pool) write down ideas that bubble up and put them under pool. Use this also when you journal  and find new material.
  7. For class 5 Have your seven to ten minute PERFORMANCE set with a punchline for each sentence. Have your opening joke and closing joke target your theme. Play with a callback and misdirection that foreshadow your next joke. (REHEARSE YOUR SET AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.)
  8. E  mail me if you have any challenges:
  9. remember to have fun and share my class, website and me as a comedian if you want. Really appreciate it.

Class 4: Stand Up Habits.

I’ve been teaching Stand Up since 1995. I’ve been performing Stand Up since 1985. Here are some of the habits that can make a difference in your Stand Up Comedy/ Writing/ and creativity.

  1. Theme: what are the stories in your life, the big stories that have stuck with you over the years? These stories carry your “MITACOMEDY-DNA. The big stories in your life is your market brand, the stories that make your stand up unique! I’ve always been driven to be creative. In the core of this need: Stand Up, Play Writing, Writing Novels, the habits that I’ve found are most paramount are the ones that make us unique. Remember, what we might find as weaknesses within us, are actually our strengths!
  2. OUR SECRETS: Mine your secrets! The things you’re afraid to share, the failures, heartbreaks, addictions, fears; all these things and more, are filled with the ingredients that connect us to our audience. My dad called me “IDIOT.” It took me years to even say this word. ( I used to avoid this premise and it’s this fear where the material was, the truth.) Now it’s my theme. All my material is based on the one word I was afraid to even speak. I have other kinks in my armor, I used to have low self esteem, I was a slob! “My mother was a hoarder. When she went into assisted living, Scientists cleaned out her house and found the hoarding gene!” I picked up some of her hoarding habits. Like most comics, I’ve learned to throw garbage in the back of a rental. After a couple of weeks, the car would be packed ceiling high with wrappers, pizza boxes and papers. This was a habit that I had to learn to undo, just as I learned to undo my fear of speaking, organizing my ideas, and low self esteem!
  3. Framing! The ability to amplify (TAG/ write) one of our theme inspired stories, into a set; is a Comedy Gold mine! In my class we will work on the mechanics of joke writing and story. And we accomplish this by moving into the classic fears most comedians have: doubt, frustration, procrastination and cultivating NEW habits aligned with OUR strengths. (This is a true story. Why wouldn’t I tag this/ build into a set?) What would Sveen do? I decided I wanted to break my habit of having a messy vehicle. I wasn’t prepared emotionally to actually clean the vehicle all at once. I decided to be proactive and grab one large fist full of garbage and throw it out every time I got out of my car. I had a corporate show out of town so I went to the bank to get some cash. As I left the car I shoved a fist full of garbage into a pocket to toss into a recycle bin. There was a line up of a hundred people and they were pissed! Apparently the main frame computer had crashed and NO- ONE was able to get any money! I finally get to the front of the line. The customer in front of me at the teller was losing his mind, shouting something about opening the account! He stomps out, I step to the teller and ask for 300$. She says: “unless I have the letter that I was given when I opened the account I wasn’t able to withdraw any funds.” I wanted to say, what idiot carries that #!+* letter around? Then, I remembered the fist full of garbage in my pocket! I dig it out and place the pile on the counter. The teller looks at me and digs into the mess with a pencil and screams: “OH MY GOD!” The letter was in the pile! I get my 300 large and walk out of the bank and someone asks how I was able to get some cash! I looked at the guy and said” because I’m an idiot!:  (This is all absolutely true and I told this story at a bank corporate recently filled with tags and it killed!)
  4. BE PREPARED: Have your set rehearsed and memorized. Know the Story/Frame and the opening, tags and closing jokes. Also be aware of your energy; allow yourself to be centered and positive. Being stressed means you’re not having fun. Admit it to the audience and or write jokes about being stressed so you can use them on stage.
  5. Always approach joke writing from as many premises as possible, three to five at the least. Remember, take your premise and place it in a circle. Split the circle into five pies and in the center write the premise. In each pie write the premise that pie comes from. Five pies, five different perspectives: you, spouse, neighbor, cousin, pet. . .Fill each pie with ingredients of each perspective, add to the premise, Q and A and answer. Keep inserting jokes from this exercise into your set and tape them. Listen and find other ways to write/tag your jokes.
  6. This is the link to my novel. Please check it out and share with others. Remember, you can book me for your event. E MAIL ME AT:

Class 3: Creating your Set.

Alright, great Third class. For your homework next Monday September 30, have your 7 to 10 Minute Performance set. RELAX, HAVE FUN! Rehearse, journal, write your set out, remember to look at jokes from different perspectives and if there’s someone else in your set; give them a voice:)

We’re going to take a story from your life and write some material for it. This is called, TAGGING. When we take an idea and expand off of it, the stand-up term is called TAGGING. Tagging is the same as building off or expanding off an idea.

Tagging and using it in on a memory or story from your life is different than writing ‘TOPICAL’ jokes about the news. If I play with a news story like a robotic lawn mower, I can QUESTION and Answer the PREMISE within the CIRCLE, ( putting the premise in a circle and then Question and Answer from four different perspectives and come up with a joke like: “You can now buy a Robot Lawn Mower. How much does it cost? If you’re too lazy to get off the couch to mow your lawn, you can own a Lawn Robot for the low low price of, DIABETES!”

Now, if I have a story about lawn work I can drop this joke into my set but what I’m asking is: 1) Locate a moment that really tells us about you. 2) Q and A EACH SENTENCE OF THE STORY and INSERT THE JOKE AFTER EACH SENTENCE. (you’re tagging each sentence. 3) Tape your story with it’s tags and rehearse it for Monday’s class.

EXAMPLE: I was in a Canadian Tire last Spring waiting for my car to get fixed, (TAG, I was having it neutered.) so I decided to jump on some of the Christmas sales and do my Christmas shopping 8 months early.(I’LL TAG THIS) I bought one of those rings you can slip through 18 plastic bags so as to make my wife’s grocery experience more pleasurable. ( I see a tag here for the word RING.) I also got her a New York Jets steering wheel cover (TAG) and get this, a talking Christmas card that when you opened it, played Jingle bells, (TAG) well it would of if the battery didn’t die waiting 9 months to be opened.  I’ll tag this story for class. Please do the same. with your story.

REMEMBER: your set is 1) Your theme based story and your positive energy. 2) Opening Joke, a joke that gets the audience attention. 3) moving into your story, pausing between jokes. 4) Using impressions of others in the story and writing jokes from their perspective. 5) Using one of the AMPLIFIERS in MISDIRECTION to FORESHADOW upcoming jokes. 6) Using CALLBACKS to refer to a previous joke to give our set history. 7) CLOSING JOKE. This is your best joke. This joke makes us memorable.


REMEMBER: YOU CAN SEE ME ON YOU TUBE AND FACE BOOK. You can also have me appear at your Christmas Party or event. Bring my Humor Workshop or Humor Heals Key Note to your Company Retreat. E Mail me:

Class 2: Story and Genre.

Thank you all of you for being you and for the new comedy grad night. Remember, our Comedy Grad is Tuesday October 15. Showtime is 7:30. Doors are open at 6:00. Could you please start inviting your friends and family and co workers now. Tickets are 10$. It was a great second class on Monday everyone: 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 your story, YOUR STORY. All the material we’re developing in this class is predicated (based) on the story from your life that you choose.) Also, allow your energy in class to be big, positive.  Remember, I’m also a nationally touring comedian, if you want to bring me to your event, retreat, Christmas party E mail me at  I’m also a published author, if you want, you can down load my novel from my website.

HOMEWORK FOR CLASS TWO: Have FIVE Minute set for Monday September 23 and add AT LEAST 3 jokes from: MALAPROP, ( using the wrong word/ punchline for comedic effect.) SIMILE, ( comparing or saying something is like something else for comedic effect.) MISDIRECTION, ( Using sarcasm for a premise and punchline and adding three amplifiers to take the attention from the punchline.)
Choose your set you’d like to perform on your Stand Up Performance on November 5 and insert TWO MISDIRECTION JOKES and THREE form 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 Monday.

1)Choose a STORY/FRAME that describes you . 1) Pick a story/set that REVEALS YOU, tells us about you!

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/ Simile/ Malaprop (Start with saying the first sentence out loud, ask how you really feel about the first sentence, ( the answer is the PREMISE.) the deep emotion, say it out loud; ask what the elephant in the room is about the sentence, the secret: (this is the PUNCHLINE.)                                                               Alright, lets look at a set and MISDIRECTION. I’m choosing “being messy,”  and when I share this I’m revealing who I am and that’s what good sets/stories and jokes do, REVEAL. Look at your first sentence: ask what the point is and then what you feel about the point. (premise and punchline) My first sentence is: I wasn’t sure if I should tell my wife I was a slob when I met her. QUESTION: “Why wouldn’t I tell her? ANSWER:  I already had enough against me. Telling her I was a slob might have been too much  for her to bare.  So we have the premise and punchline for the first sentence of my set. (REMEMBER the POOL  at the bottom of your STAND UP notebook page? I wrote down at the bottom of the page that there should be a personal bottom line of wants that have to be met in a relationship, before it can move forward a personal wish list that has to keep giving, five, ten, fifty years later. I don’t know what this means but I find this interesting, and will use it for another joke. Get in the habit of putting ideas at the bottom of the page under pool; it will pay dividends.

OK I have the first point and how I feel; now what we do is add THREE STATEMENTS/ AMPLIFIERS THAT ARE ATTACHED THE PREMISE.

EXAMPLE: My wife asked me if I was a slob when I met her. I said I was angry, broke and dysfunctional. Telling her I was also a slob, would have been too much for me to bare.


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 cleaning my car one handful of crap at a time, wrappers, coffee cups and mail. She asked me if my car was going to be clean on our millionth anniversary.

SIMILE: Cleaning my car is LIKE waiting for Haley’s Comet. It gets cleaned once every 75 years.

MALAPROP: I listen to soccer games in my car, maybe that’s why it’s so Messi.

Keep setting up the premise and then adding three comments that are connected to the premise, this amplifies the punch line. The 3 amplifiers create the misdirection.

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 amplifiers. 3) unexpected punch line. Keep playing with this, the more emotion the bigger the laugh. And remember to journal about your SET, WRITING JOKES. EMOTION and everything you feel about your set. Next class: your set, 3 jokes from three genres; misdirection/ simile/ Malaprop.

Sept 9/ Class 1 Blog.

Thank you everyone for being in my class. It’s a big deal to me that you’re in my class. Thank you again, all of you for being in Stand Up Writing!!! The first class was great. All of you shared your talent and creativity and were open to the lessons I was sharing: We talked about the basic structure of a joke: premise, punchline, punch word: example: PREMISE: I have a crappy car. I have an airbag. Punchline: But I have to blow it up myself. Punch Word: blow. ( REMEMBER: The more honesty in the premise, the funnier the punchline.)

AGAIN: Please remember to use the smaller note pad for your material and your set. Use the thicker note pad to JOURNAL 3 pages a day about jokes you’re working on, your set, the class but keep your journalling specific to the class. Use it as a vehicle to rehearse and sharpen your creative saw.

  1. Remember: Premise, punchline, punch word. Look at your premise and ask what is it I’m trying to say or afraid to say, the secret, the unspoken, the Elephant in the room. This unspoken/ over the top sarcasm is the punchline. The less emotion the more neutral or vanilla the joke is. When we use MISDIRECTION and add three amplifiers to the premise; the attention is taken away from the punchline by making extra reference to the premise.
  2. EXAMPLE: MISDIRECTION: Be honest, most guys aren’t handy. (what’s the elephant in the room here? Guys are supposed to be Mr. tool man. So I add amplifiers to the premise and have:) “If we’re honest, most men aren’t handy. They’re immature, have low self esteem, and have boundary issues. His ex is thinking, if he can’t commit to a relationship, how’s he going to commit to fixing a sink?”
  3. REMEMBER: It’s a great exercise to write jokes from different perspectives. It’s also great to write jokes about what you know. Writing jokes fro a story from our life is amplifying our story, embellishing it. I call this framing.
  4. Take a 3 or 4 minute story from your life and ask and answer questions from a few different perspectives and answer the premise with as honest an answer that you can. This is the punch line.
  5. Put your premise in the circle and make the cross and insert 4 perspectives on 4 corners of the cross. Ask and answer questions from each perspective.
  6. Journal three pages each day on your material, story, Q and A’s premises and punchlines. If you journal around the questions and ideas of your set you will reap the benefits!
  7. HOMEWORK: Choose a 3 or 4 minute story from your life, a story that you think tells us who you are. REMEMBER, the more honest you are and using the elephant in the room about your life the better your set will be. HOMEWORK: 3 to 4 minute story with an opening and closing joke in it. ( more if you’re ambitious.) Also, add another voice to your set: an impression of someone in your set.
  8. if you have any challenges, E MAIL PLEASE 🙂
  9. REMEMBER: you can book me for your event/ Christmas Party, Key note/ Staff Workshops. Ask me in class please.

Graphing Your Set.

Great class Monday everyone. Thank you for working so hard everyone. Take the time to review the homework Blogs and REHEARSE and REWRITE you set and TAPE IT and LISTEN TO IT. Remember your energy, keep it positive. Now, graphing your set is a great way to track your material, what’s working and what needs to be worked on or placed further in your set, or removed. We insert the ‘KEY WORD’ of the first joke we’re tracking and the line to the number count on the vertical line.  ( What this means is, we’ve recorded our set and now we’re listening to it. Count the laughter out loud, “ONE, TWO, THREE , FOUR.” And we put the number next to the key word of the joke, and we make a line from the bottom of the page to where the laughter stopped. We’ll end up with peaks and valleys like a stock.) When we record our set and then play it back, we can track our set then know what changes to make.. After your graph your set you will end up with a series of lines that are peaks and valleys that coordinate with the amount of laughter each joke achieved.

We talked about the value of ‘GRAPHING YOUR SET’ and how to do that. In the ‘LAUGHTER COUNT,’ in the column vertical side of the page, we insert the numbers I’d shown you on Monday. If your opening joke doesn’t get more than 5 seconds of laughter, re write it. Try it 3 to 5 times. If it doesn’t get the five seconds, re write it or write a new opener. 2) Take the three jokes that have the highest tracking count in your set and TAG/rewrite them, put them in the circle( Q and A from different perspective and ask and answer the moments in your theme related story. REMEMBER to ask: what’s at stake, and what am I afraid to say.) re write them jokes from sarcasm then  misdirection and then put them in the set.  You want your set graph to be on a steady climb to your closing joke. 3) Your closing joke should get 10 to 20 seconds of applause and laughter.

POOL: somewhere on the page keep track of how fast you talked, if you said something that you could use for an idea later. Create some action plans you can take to make your set better: being more prepared, rehearsing more or pausing and letting the audience laugh. Keep track of how you felt and what other emotion would be better.

Image result for pictures of graphs


you’re preforming Tuesday April 9th at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club. Doors opens 6:30 Show time is 7:30. Tickets are 10$ only at the door. DVD’S of your show Will be available for those who want them. Edited, titled and packaged H-D copies of the night’s performances are 20$

REMEMBER: you can book me for your Christmas Party or business event, company moral boosters, work shops or Key Notes. E mail me for info:

I can be seen on YOU TUBE and if you have the chance, please share my web site and class. I would really appreciate if you’d share my website and class information to others please. Any questions please E mail me:

Class 3: Setting up your Set.

Learning Stand Up means Learning to laugh about yourself so we have the courage to be ourselves.

Alright, first off, I’m really proud of all of you for working so hard in my class. This is my 26th year of teaching Stand Up Comedy so I know when a class is firing on all cylinders. Each class is different, there is no wrong creatively; but this group is doing a lot of the work of my principles right. Thank you, all of you.


For the fourth class on Monday all of  a us will have: 1) five to seven minute theme based set, with at least 3 theme based jokes-( BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END.) 2) We will also have a 2 minute set that we’ve written from the E mail we exchanged with a class mate. We will create a story/set on this E mail and tag it with at least 3 jokes: opener, middle and closer. ( Remember: an opening joke is our SECOND BEST JOKE. It’s ripe with our theme and gets the audience’s attention. It tells them who we are and creates an identity. Our middle joke is pregnant with our theme. Our closing joke is rampant with our theme. ) ‘Ripe, pregnant, rampant,” three pretty good adjectives, come on, you have to give me that!!!

The story we perform next class will be the set we share for our Comedy Night Gala on April 9 at Yuks Comedy Club. Did I just use the word ‘Gala,?’ Yes I did citizens. Yes I did.

Look at your story , record it and play it back or write it out and Q and A your 3 premises/ ideas. Remember, if your best joke is in the middle, you need to move it to the end of your set! We close with our best joke.  Also, NO TALKING AFTER THE PUNCH LINE ( unless what you’re saying is funnier than your previous joke. Again, this is called a tag.

I want to share foreshadowing a bit and callbacks. The theme that I’m working on that a class mate sent me is: becoming aware. The story premise is a pan catching on fire because I forgot. (I once had a pizza from scratch catch on fire in the oven and I tried to put the fire out with a five pound bag of flower.)

Alright, I’m starting with an empty page and at the bottom of the page I’ve written the word, ‘POOL,’ and underlined it. Any ideas I get that bubble up while I’m working on this set, I’ll place under pool.

REMEMBER: when we ask and answer questions from different perspectives, we ask: WHAT’S AT STAKE, WHAT AM I AFRAID TO SAY? These questions and answers create emotion and emotion is laughs.

So, apparently I was making eggs when the pan caught on fire. (The first thing I thought was 3 minute egg and then 911) I’m not sure how they fit together so I’ll put it under pool. There’s a tendency to ask an audience off the top if they’ve ever burnt something on the stove, but you’ll lose the audience for a few moments as they discuss this. You don’t want that unless you’re really comfortable with ‘working a room.’

I ask, when was the last time I burnt breakfast, bacon, eggs toast? What’s at stake here? burning the apartment complex down. As I asked this I hit an idea. 1)( REMEMBER, I want to mention my theme off the top and remember it while I’m writing jokes. “I need to watch what I’m doing, keep my head in the game. . . I’ve had so many grease fires that fire fighters call me. 2) My 3 minute eggs are, 1 second to crack the egg  and 2 minutes and 59 seconds to put out the fire. What does that say about my cooking when the phone call I’m getting is FROM 911?

I can foreshadow one of these jokes in misdirection: “I’ve had so many pancake, bacon and egg grease fires, that fire fighters call me.” ( I’ve put egg as the last amplifier because now, it sets up the next joke about 3 minute eggs.

CALLBACK: Again, a callback gives your set history. So if you’re only doing three to five minutes, that’s a good thing.

In this set I’ll use this joke as a callback, a reference to a previous joke. “Had to call 911 yesterday. I kept getting Sveen’s place.”

Alright, keep journalling, taping and listening to your set. Be aware of your energy, let it be big, positive, inspiring and certain!!

REMEMBER: I can be booked as a Key note and Comedian. Please share my web site and spread the word about my class please. Really appreciate it 🙂

Class 2: Opening Jokes.

First, I want to thank everyone in this class for working as hard as you are. I really appreciate everyone for encouraging each other and for doing the hard creative work of journaling three pages a day on anything and everything connected to the class: joke writing, tagging, theme, story, set and more. Thank you for pushing yourselves, You will reap the benefits, I promise.

Second: The HOMEWORK for next class: have a 3 to 5 minute set that’s based on your theme THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH 🙂 I also want three jokes in this set: OPENING, MIDDLE AND CLOSING. ( REMEMBER: don’t talk after the punch line. Let the audience savor your material.)

This is the structure of our set: 1) Theme based personal story. 2) Writing jokes that are created from your story and inserting them into the story. 3) Allowing our energy to be huge, positive, abundant, gracious and limitless, and aligned with where we feel most comfortable and reaching where we’re trying to go with our humor. Remember, if we’re scared, the audience is scared. If we’re laughing, the audience is laughing.

Alright, the OPENING JOKE is our second best joke. This joke is directly connected to our theme. We tell the audience our name, wait for the applause to fade then; WE TELL THEM OUR THEME! After that, we open with the first joke of our set! This joke gets the audience’s attention and tells them who we are right away. Because our SET/STORY is based on our theme. SO: Find the theme based story that makes you laugh and record it and play it back, listen to the story and ask the questions and answer them. Here’s an example:

My set next class will be about going to a WATER SLIDE: (REMEMBER: PREMISE: what’s at stake? PUNCH LINE: what are we afraid to say?

I know the story of the water slide. I lived this day. So I’m going to start with the first moment of my story.

“Have you ever been asked to go to a water slide? (What’s at stake here? I don’t feel comfortable in a bathing suit, I’m an adult, it’s for kids. I could drown? REMEMBER: the more emotion in the premise and punch line, the bigger the response from the audience. Also, we want to keep the material related to our market brand/theme and where we’re going. I’m going to choose ‘drown’ for my premise.

They say drowning is the Worst way to die. Wear a Speedo to the pool, death from embarrassment is way worse. (SARCASM) REMEMBER: sarcasm is the first step in MISDIRECTION. We use misdirection because the audience doesn’t see the punch line coming and we can use this genre to foreshadow the next joke.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They say drowning is the worst way to die. I can’t swim, it’s been so long, I might drown. There is a worse way to die, show up in a Speedo,  death by embarrassment.

Now I can take one of the three amplifiers: I can’t swim, it’s been so long, I might drown, and use one to FORESHADOW the next joke.( REMEMBER: this is based on an actual story that happened to me.)

I’m not really afraid of dying. I think my Speedo joke proves that point. ( making fun of ourselves endears us with an audience)

REMEMBER: to look at other perspectives in your story to write material. ( my wife, other people at the pool, friends, my conscience.)  Q and A: what do people think of someone in a Speedo? How out of touch am I? Do I not, have any self respect? I think I wore them because the salesman said they were cutting edge trunk technology. (I like the trunk Idea)

The salesman said Speedos were cutting edge. They came in a tiny package. when I showed the box to my wife, she thought I was proposing again.

So have fun, remember to ask and answer questions about your story and then ask what’s at stake and what are you afraid to say? This will create emotion, which will create laughter. REMEMBER: we’re replacing the original sentence of our story with the joke we wrote. Any questions E MAIL PLEASE:

REMEMBER: I’m a nationally touring Corporate Comedian. If you need a Comedian/ Speaker/ or a Humor Workshop for your event please E MAIL me or talk to me in class. See you Monday kids 🙂