Sunday, March 15, 2015

He’s Not Fuuny – Blame It on the Writers

By Kimberly Johnson
Comedian X is not humorous. I will keep the blindfold on and not divulge his name. But, you know this prince of the punch line. He was the squire of the small screen, reigning for years. He’s currently the godfather for up and coming comics. He has a pedigree: played Saturday Night Live, Caroline’s, Vegas, Carson and Letterman (you get the snapshot).

I do not connect with his jokes, bits, anecdotes, tales and yarns. I made an honest attempt, but no dice.  Maybe it is his writing staff. I believe a chuckle king or queen needs a support cast that translates the jokes from the page to the stage. Chris Rock (SNL alum, TV and movies), Joan Rivers ("The Borscht Belt," Hollywood veteran) and Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) exemplify people who have employed writing staff that can translate the funny stuff into boundless laughs. I found three comedy writers that say it boils down to writing. Let me know if you agree or disagree.
Read your stuff out loud. Sometimes the way it reads in your head sounds different when someone says it. If you stick around, if you're a good collaborator, if you're open to new ideas and you keep trying, then you'll find there's a lot of different ways you can work as a writer. You can generate original material, or you can be a staff writer, or you can write about the comedy scene — all different things you might find you're good at if you stick around long enough.” Amy Poehler, comedienne
 “A joke in its simplest form is STRAIGHT LINE – PUNCHLINE. It’s not FUNNY LINE – PUNCHLINE. So the comedy writer must be vigilant in taking the straight line, the fact, the statement and writing it down. Isolate it in its most unfunny state, then, turn it funny by finding the double-entendre play, or doing a reverse, or doing a listing technique or an analogy play or apply 7 other comedy formulas to turn it into something funny. But always start with a straight line first.”  Jerry Corley, The Stand Up Comedy Clinic “In my short time doing stand-up, I've learned that every room has its own vibe. Older crowds, younger crowds, hipper crowds, dumber crowds. You're not doing your job as a comic if you're blind to that. Although you might polish your set, you need to tailor your material to the people you're trying to get a laugh from. I'll admit that I don't really like that.” Gladstone, 6 Ways To Not Suck At Stand Up Comedy

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