Most comedians think of
their comedy in “bits” like I’ve got the “kids bit” or the “animals bit.” We group similar jokes together so that all the jokes flow together perfectly. Comedians come about writing their bits differently. I am very good at writing separate jokes, and then grouping them together, but there are some comics who have more stories and so they’re bits are together naturally because they wrote the bit at the same time. This is a different way of writing for me, but it’s still very effective.
A comedian who does this
once told me how he does it this way . . .he said he writes material by first doing a brain dump of the experience. He just writes down what happened, without trying to come up with punch lines, and THEN he goes back through and looks to see where he can make it funny. Once you take the pressure off “being funny,” and writing funny lines, then it’s easier to just get the story out. And sometimes you inadvertently pop in some funny as you’re pouring out your words.
I recently tried this
with a bit about buying a timeshare, and it worked! I turned my timeshare buying fiasco into funny; hey, maybe I can even write the timeshare off? Okay, maybe not, but it did give me a good bit. I just wrote out everything that happened that lead me up to buying it (“3 bottles of champagne and good credit!”), the people around me during the buying process (“the guy next to me thought it was a scam, and he’s a Scientologist”), and what I felt like after buying it (“I woke up the next morning and had no idea what I’d bought. I had to sit through the sales pitch again just to figure it out . . . so now I’ve got TWO timeshares”). This was a different way of writing, but I got the bit out and I have 5 or 6 jokes in the bit.
So next time
you’re working on funny material, take the pressure off yourself and just write out your story. Then go back through and punch it up. You’ll find the funny and have fun doing it.