During a client call last month in which I was interviewing them to gather information so I could customized jokes for their group – I had a hard time getting them to be specific. When I asked about their challenges they gave me stress and mergers. . .it was hard to pin them down to exactly, specifically what is causing the stress and how are the mergers impacting them. We finally figured it out, but they really just wanted me to write jokes on general subjects. . .but the thing with joke writing is that you have to get specific with your information AND with the joke, in order to make it funny.
If I tell you to write a joke about “dogs” or one about “Collies” what do you think is easier? COLLIES! Because that gives us some things we can joke about, like Lassie and Timmie, and lots of fur and long dog noses, etc. . .the subject of dogs doesn’t help much.
I hate the word “drill down” because it got over used a few years ago, but really, you need to DRILL DOWN and find out what the specific topic really is. The hardest writing I ever did was for greeting cards because they wanted specific-yet-general jokes. For example, they wanted a Mother’s Day card that appealed to mother’s of all ages with kids of all ages – yeah, good luck! I did it, but it took a huge amount of effort to find something that the mom of a toddler and the mom of a teen can both relate to. The jokes weren’t belly-laugh jokes, and you’ll notice that few greeting cards these days are belly-laughs. . .they are “ha ha, that was cute” type things.
So the next time you’re having trouble coming up with some lines, take a check to see if you’re topic is too broad, then, (ugh) DRILL DOWN!!!