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 .

Class Three: FRAMING.

We’re in a fast food, quick hurry, get to the point kind of World. If you want your material to work for you, whether you’re a STAND UP COMEDIAN,  WRITER, PUBLIC SPEAKER, in SALES, BUSINESS, TEACHER,( did I mention I have an award???) or in SOCIAL SITUATIONS; what ever the reasons you want to hone your HUMOR and CRAFT, remember this:
1) Be ALL IN ON YOUR STORY and CARE about what your talking about. 2) Know the emotion of the story. 3) Know the point. 4) EDIT OUT THE EXTRANEOUS tidbits. And develop the POINTS of the story.

Par exemplar; (Don’t be intimidated; that’s French for check this out) Look at this premise: I fell off the stage into the audience, the first time I was on stage: FALLING OFF THE STAGE. Why wouldn’t I share this? (We get our material from OUR STORY; the moments we’ve lived and moments that CARRY OUR THEME ARE UNIQUE. We also grow stronger as comedians, writers and people when we explore and develop our story. We also attract our audience from our stories. FRAMING IS: locating the moments in our lifer that make us memorable and then INSERT JOKES INTO OUR STORY SO THE JOKES AMPLIFY OUR STORY. THIS IS CALLED FRAMING.

My first time EVER on stage I fell off it. I’ll repeat that. The first time I was on stage TRYING STAND UP; I fell off it! I was the funny guy at parties, the loud obnoxious INSECURE guy starving for attention, the guy that knew a lot of jokes but not STAND UP, nothing about honesty vulnerability or being myself. (where our gold is) A comedy club opened and my drinking buddies coerced me to get up on stage and do what I did which was hide behind copious amounts of beer and decades old jokes. The MC called my name. I remember stumbling to the microphone as if I was about to be executed. It’s ironic, shortness of breath, night sweats, seeing a dark tunnel; the symptoms of COVID-19 are the same symptoms as performing stand up.I forgot who I was and why I was. I mumbled something about having to leave and stepped where I thought the stairs were. Ever done that? absentmindedly stumble toward a wadding pool and find out it’s a shark tank? The good thing about that is, you only make that mistake once. I walked off the edge of the stage onto a table. The table collapses and the drinks of the 20 people at the table explode on top of me. Up to this moment, this was thee single most humiliating experience of my life. I’ve had others since, picking a fight with triplets, parachuting into a Hudderite colony during a potato harvest… There’s a difference between being laughed AT and laughed WITH. Being laughed with, opens many doors. Being laughed at… has one door. The one you sprint through to escape the pain! The inability to be vulnerable attracted this life lesson. ( if I would have had the creative courage to tell the audience I was terrified they would have empathized with me and pulled for me.) One pinnacle element of creativity and purpose I’ve learned from 30 years of experience performing stand up in clubs, festivals, concerts, auditoriums, key notes for corporations, sharing humor work shops in colleges and in clubs, performing one man plays, writing plays, a novel, is: the ENERGY and EMOTION we emit is what we get BACK! If we’re terrified so is the audience. If we’re having fun, so is the audience.) While I was writing jokes for this; I came up with: “If you want people falling off their chairs laughing, fall off the stage!” (I could insert and start with this into my original story or FRAME.  The best way to write jokes is to locate the PUNCH WORDS in each sentence of the STORY/FRAME- FIRST. We did this with random PREMISES in class. Look at the POINT of the sentences in your story, ask the question and answer with sarcasm; see how many more different PUNCH WORDS you can come up with when YOU’RE going over different PERSPECTIVES in your story! (PUNCH WORD- the most important word in the joke.)

I want to look at being honest and vulnerable. This is another place on the circle instead of coming from trauma, humiliation and regret, which by the way, are still gold mines of hilarity.

What about another perspective, peer pressure of friends to get me to go on stage as a premise? “For every comedian’s first time on stage, there’s a dozen friends, family and co workers in the audience who’ve convinced their friend they’re hilarious. These are the same people in grade school who convinced their friend they could fly off the garage if they wore a cape.

Look at a moment from your life and write out all the HONEST VULNERABLE thoughts you come up with in the POINT OF EACH SENTENCE. Remember how we mined PUNCH WORDS? (Look at the KEY WORD in each sentence and see if you can insert a more emotional impact- full word. Lets mine the PUNCH WORDS from the EMOTIONS ATTACHED TO THE STORY!

I love this group, your passion and creative courage. I love the support and the laughs we’re having together. This truly is the Lemon aid, you legends of the Paul. ( am I really using that? The answer is yes. Yes I am.) Please share my website and tell your friends about my online class please. If you’re in a Book Club and have an Author series, I am able to talk online or can stand outside on the sidewalk and shout at a building; interested in booking me as a KEY NOTE or COMEDIAN FOR YOUR EVENT. E MAIL ME:

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.