Whenever I say I’m a comedian,
invariably someone jumps in with a “joke I can use.” Which is usually a joke I can’t use because the joke is too dirty or it’s been on the Internet a million times or it’s just not funny. So non-comedians sometimes are not so helpful in the humor process. But they can be helpful if you approach it the right way. If you’re writing comedy for a particular industry or event, then by all means solicit information from non-comedians who have worked in that industry or been involved in it somehow. They don’t have to be your client, and in fact it’s better if it’s not your client – you’ll get the “real scoop.”
Don’t ask them to
write jokes or come up with “funny things that have happened,”. . .ask them to tell you what they hate about the industry/job/etc . . .or what their biggest headaches and hassles are, or what has caused them sleepless nights, or who are their worst kinds of clients. A few of those questions will prompt a plethora of funny information, and you’ll be able to sift through it to find some real gems for the jokes.
Sometimes they’ll even
come up with stories from their own experiences that you can morph into “something that happened to you.”Especially if they know they’ll be anonymous, and it’s an event that they are not attending or even related to, you can get some great details on their industry. Sometime clients are nervous about telling you stuff, because they’re afraid you’ll attribute it to them or that the audience will figure out that the joke material came from them.
I recently did
a comedy show for a group who is in charge of corporate moves – moving executives from one city/state/country to another. I knew there had to be good stories in there, but obviously the client didn’t want to tell me any juicy details . . .so I asked a friend. My friend did tell me some ridiculous things that executives have demanded when they’re being moved, and I got some great jokes from her information.
So use non-comedians for comedy. . .you’ll get a great angle on touchy topics which will translate into hilarious humor!