You mean you don’t do it all yourself??? Well, yes and no. I DO write my jokes, but sometimes even I need someone else’s perspective. For example, for a long time, in my Finding the Funny in Change program I mentioned that we’re getting too “green,” and all this environmentally friendly stuff is going to the extreme. For example, they’re now offering “green burials”. . .being buried without a casket. Now, that’s funny, but I never really had a punchline nor did I think much of it. . it was more of a passing funny observation than a joke.
But a comedian friend of mine
heard it, and he really honed in on it and told me that it’s funny and I should do something with it. . .we bantered around a few ideas, and nothing came up. But the next day, I thought of it from a different angle. . .if you’re buried without a casket, what do the pall bearers hold onto??? That got a laugh at my show last week, AND a woman came up after my show and gave me a callback to it when she heard another joke of mine about not having life insurance. So now, after letting this “green burial” line sit for over a year, I’ve got jokes and callbacks and it’s actually a funny theme I can weave through my act.
So listen to others. . .
Definitely write your own material, but you can get ideas from friends, colleagues, and audience members. Sometimes your listeners don’t come up after the show and blatantly tell you a line. Instead, you need to listen as you’re saying the line. On several jokes of mine, I’ve heard the audience laughing during the set-up. And because I’m listening to them, I realize that there’s another joke in there if I pause.
Getting help doesn’t mean
you have someone write your whole comedy routine or speech – you can if you want to, but what might be even better is to partner with someone so that you get different viewpoints on the set-up, and then listen to your audience when you deliver it. This will give you some great material and may even breathe life into current stuff you’ve already been saying.