Sure there’s timing of your jokes when you say ‘em, but the time I’m talking about is a little different. Yesterday I was at the new Aria hotel in Las Vegas. . .very cool, very high tech! When I walked into the room, music from the TV kicked on, the room lights lit up, and the blinds opened to reveal the Las Vegas strip – very impressive. The whole room was wired – it did everything but make you dinner. . .it was so cool. And of course my first thought as a comedian was. . .I’ve got to have some fun with this stuff on stage – what material! And I would have written some jokes about it, IF I was the opening speaker. But I was the closing speaker.
2 Reasons to NOT write jokes about your first impression
What does that have to do with my jokes? Well, on the first day of the conference, this stuff is funny because it’s new to EVERYONE. By the 4th day, it was only new to me. . .the rest of the group had been there since Monday, so they’d seen the stuff and they were over it. Jokes about it would be outdated. . .yeah, jokes can be outdated that fast.
Also, by the time I got there, some people were actually upset because their room technology wasn’t working very well. . .someone had even started a blog complaining about it. So if I go swooping in with some jokes about how cool it is, not only would people not be impressed, but they might be angry – it was an old subject, so move on.
I battle this issue all the time when I’m sitting in a conference session and am writing material about what the audience is listening to. Many times, when the speaker says something, I immediately think of a line. . .but then I have to determine if the audience will remember that point that the speaker just made. . .because if it’s not a significant point, or it didn’t make a big enough impression, then the group probably won’t remember it, and then my line will go flat. I’ve dropped many good jokes because they would’ve worked in the moment, but not, say, 3 hours later.
Jokes With Legs
How do I know it’s a subject with “legs” that will last? A couple of things I consider:
–how much time will elapse between me and the event I’m having fun with
–does the speaker repeat the point and/or is the point really relevant or is it just a passing comment
–does the point I want to poke fun at drum up a visual that the audience is certain to remember throughout the day
I have to remember to look at it from the OTHER people’s perspective if I want fresh material, not just the stuff that’s striking ME as new and funny.