Okay, it’s been 6 weeks
since my last comedy writing blog – that’s what happens when you have a BUSY April and May for keynotes. It’s a good year for comedy! I just finished my quarterly newsletter titled “Jans article – Comedy Wisdom”, so I’m focusing this blog on editing your humor because I had to do a lot of it to get my humor article down to a manageable size.
One of the biggest mistakes
that new comics and speakers make is that they don’t edit the joke enough and/or they don’t edit it in the correct way. Go to any open mic night at a comedy club and even the worst comic will have a good IDEA for a joke. ..they just don’t edit it correctly. And I assure you that even Bill Cosby, though he sounds like he has these long rambling stories, spends time editing his stories.
A couple of key points
on editing your jokes – make sure you:
End with the funniest word or close to it. . .sometimes people put a prepositional phrase after the real joke. Cut that out to make it pithy.
- Don’t put too many descriptive words together. It makes people think too hard and you lose them in the joke.
- Do say it out loud. Many times after I’ve written a joke, it comes out different, and funnier, when I then say it out loud.
- Don’t use big words or unfamiliar that take people time to digest. Comedy is not the time to show your vocabulary unless it’s pertinent to the joke.
- Don’t use the same word in the set-up and punch. Example, if you use the word “child” in the set up, and you need to say it again, use the word “kid.”
- Do get an editor. Okay, I don’t use an editor in most of my stuff, but I do have one for long articles, like my quarterly comedy newsletter – Keynote Chronicles. And I highly recommend him – Andy Kirk. Contact him (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell him I sent you if you need a GREAT editor.
That’s it for editing at the moment. . this blog is already wayyyy toooo long.
PS Send me a note if you’d like a copy of my quarterly newsletter, and I’ll put you on the email list!