Comedy Joke Buddy

Wooly mammoth and me!

When I got into comedy almost 20 years ago,

my friends thought it was cool. I vividly remember a party in which people egged me on to “tell a couple of my jokes.” So I did. And guess what? I got no laughs. The jokes I told were getting laughs in the club, in fact those same people laughed at them sincerely when they heard the jokes in the club, but the jokes fell flat in front of friends at a party.

 That’s because

I tested the jokes out on the wrong people in the wrong situation. What I’ve learned is that it’s very important to test jokes out and get feedback, but you have to find a supportive environment to do it in. That’s why I highly recommend that you find someone that connect with comically to write with.


 Don’t think that your

friend or your spouse or your significant other has to be that person either. I haven’t found a ton of people I can write with – not all comics can mesh their joke writing well –  But I have found a handful of comedians, and that’s more than I need.

 A couple things you should look for:

  • You need someone who thinks on your same wavelength in comedy.
  • Someone you think is truly funny.
  • Someone who truly thinks your funny.
  • Someone you respect so you take what they say as truly constructive.
  • Someone you trust – these are your joke ideas and you don’t want to have to worry about them being stolen.

 These are the top things

I’d look for in a comedy writing partner. It’s fun to bounce ideas off of other people and get their perspective PLUS as you’re telling someone about a funny experience, it reminds you of other funny experiences you’ve had and you wind up with more joke premises! So don’t confuse your ski friends (like above) with your writing friends!



Remembering Your Funny Jokes

So you’ve worked and worked on

some killer material. Great! But you’ve got to REMEMBER the joke in order to, well, get people to laugh. I have a couple of memory techniques that I use.

  • Say it out loud FAST.

Run through your jokes fast, so that you can get them down to one second, but rather it sort of ingrains the joke in your head. THEN when you say it at regular speed, in front of an audience, it rolls off your tongue as if you’ve said it a million times. . .which you might have done if you said it fast.

  • Sleep on it.

Sometimes you can get ahead while sleeping. I knew someone who was doing research on sleep and memory. I don’t know what her research found, but my personal research has shown that if I go over the new jokes right before I go to bed, then I seem to remember them the next day. Maybe they roll around in my brain unconsciously for 8 hours while I snooze, who knows. But it works  – and it’s an easy thing to try, anyway.

  • Group things together.

If I’ve got 3 jokes on the event, and 3 jokes on the industry, and 3 jokes on the food, then I just make sure they’re all together. Simple, but sometimes you forget the simple stuff.

  • End with a word that reminds you

of the first word in the next joke. If you’ve grouped similar things together, then that should be easy!

 I’m also reading

Moonwalking With Einstein” which is a book about how people do it when they win those memory contests by reciting 5000 decks of cards in perfect order in like an hour. It’s cool and I think they might just have something there.


Half of the battle

is writing a good joke, the other half is delivering it. If you can remember it, then you can deliver it!




Improv Comedy

Okay, I’m not too keen on Improv comedy.

Maybe because I spend too much time writing jokes, or maybe it was my experience with an Improv comedy troupe years ago. I was doing a show at a comedy club, and the Improv troupe who was going on ahead of me took up the entire green room. They had clothes all over the place and food and drinks, but the most annoying thing was that they had a SET LIST. As in a list of the bits they would do.. .it was VERY structured. . .more so than my act. And the irony was their name – Totally Unrehearsed Theatre! Yeah, right. Improv is supposed to be IMPROV! ANYWAY, regardless of my stance on Improv, I sometimes have to do a little myself – and you might too.

 On Friday I emceed a wonderful fundraiser wine tasting event

at the Computer History Museum in San Jose, CA. Very fun, but if you’ve ever tried to do comedy at a cocktail party, well, you can imagine the talking and walking that goes on. . . and it was happening Friday night. Plus there was no stage, but rather I was standing in the back of the room on a spiral staircase. I got people’s attention in the beginning to welcome them and do a few jokes, but once I stepped down, it was hard to get their attention back. The challenge was to pop up every few minutes to make announcements and keep people flowing through the wine stations, the food stations, the desert stations, the movie, the museum, the cash bar and the silent auction. . .oh, and did I mention there was a great saxophonist playing? Soooo, I improvised. Luckily I had a wireless mic, so I started walking around to the different stations and joking around, in between the music, with the winery people and the food people. They of course loved it because they had donated their time and wines/snacks, so they got more exposure. I liked it because I didn’t feel stuck in the corner being ignored, and the client liked it because I was keeping people moving.

Don’t get me wrong, it never got quite in there,

but I think people heard me and had fun. I got some nice comments, with even some people repeating the jokes during the event. AND when I got on the bus to go back to the hotel, I shouted out “did everyone have fun?” There was a big round of applause and one guy shouted out. . .”I couldn’t hear a word you said in there, but you sure were funny!”

This improvisation not only made the event more interesting

for all, but the fun facts I learned from walking around was worth it. One of the wineries was located in an old school house – “hey everyone, remember drinking back in school? Well you can do it again!” One winery was across the street from the infamous winery in the move “Bottle Shock” – a GREAT GREAT wine movie about the true story of a guy who got wines on the map in California. You MUST see it. One of the desert vendors made organic flavored (banana, watermelon and blueberry) cotton candy. . .and one winery actually started paring their wine with it and it turned out to be tasty. And then my favorite woman of the night made peanut brittle in different flavors – almond and coconut was good as was the “ballpark” brittle flavored like a hot dog, mustard, pretzel and beer!

The moral of this story. . .

Don’t freak the next time you have to do some humor in a situation that is less than perfect. Look around at the tools you have (in this case, a wireless mic and free roam in a museum), and improvise your humor. You’ll give your jokes a fighting chance, AND you may actually enjoy the weird situation.



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