Jokes and joke writing are about taking things to the extreme. As I’ve said before, when you want to imply that someone is old, you don’t say 110 – because it’s plausible, you say 310 because it’s outrageous. So make sure in your joke writing that you’re taking things to the extreme. . . one way to do this is to come up with extreme solutions to issues. Many of my jokes provide extreme, ALMOST do-able solutions, which is where we get the funny. I talk about doing a show for architects who design hospitals. . .they are now designing new hospitals so that the patients’ window faces a garden because they say that makes the patient get well faster. I told ‘em if you want the patient to get well faster, you should have their window face a cemetery! Funny and extreme.

how to solve the problem

So when writing a punch line, think of how would you REALLY solve the problem? Look at your set up as a “problem” and then brainstorm a number of ways that, if you could do ANYTHING on the planet to solve this problem – regardless of legality or political correctness – how would you solve it. My spa joke is much the same way. . .all these spas have stupid “treatments” that are supposed to make you healthy and young. Most of the treatments involve food items. I was actually at a spa in which they offered a milk bath, a seaweed wrap, a raspberry relaxer, a vanilla been dip. I don’t have time for all this stuff, so I just went to Denny’s and rolled around in the buffet. It’s extreme – you almost could do it (okay, you could but you’d get arrested mess up a lot of people’s Sunday morning meal plans) – and maybe you wish you could do it – but you won’t.

Think of extreme solutions to common problems. .how would you solve the gas crisis, the banking fiasco, the war. . .or make up things to solve that aren’t really a problem, like the Denny’s example. And don’t stop with your first extreme solution – keep brainstorming and you’ll come up with some really hilarious stuff and maybe some real stuff too!


A show near Gettysburg this week