Letting Go . . .Of joke ideas that aren’t
working that is. And this is a hard one because, as we comics say when we come up with an idea for a joke we just know “there’s something there.” I’ve been working on a joke about “tribute bands” – you know bands that mimic a real band – for about 6 months now. And it’s still a no go. Here’s the idea. . . you know you’re getting older when all the concerts you go to are just tribute bands of the groups you wish you’d seen. I went to a John Denver impersonator concert recently, and that’s okay, because I’ll never see John Denver (at least for a while hopefully!). But what I don’t understand is that after the show, people were spending $15 on the impersonator’s CD. .. when for 10 bucks they could buy a John Denver CD.” I think that irony is hilarious. . .but so far my audiences just think it’s sort of “oh? Yeah, that’s right.”. . .ho hum.
So to let go or not
let go is the question. And I have no answer. What I have found that works is to put it away for a while. . .sometimes years, and then bring it back out. I recently came across some old notebooks of mine and some of the jokes were (and still are) hilarious. . .some of the jokes worked as is and some caused me to come at them with fresh ideas and then they worked. I tried one last night, and even though it’s probably not going to stay in my act (it’s about the former porn star Linda Lovelace!), it was funny.
But letting go sometimes
is the real key. . . it allows you to move forward and on to other material. What I realized after finding these notebooks is that I let many of these concepts go. . .and my act never suffered. I’ve written other stuff, I’ve forgotten about these joke ideas, and all is well.
So if you’re working
on an idea, don’t drive it into the ground until you are forcing people to see the humor. Let it go. . .and if the humor was meant to be, it will come back to you!
As for me,
I think I’ll attend one more John Denver impersonator concert before letting this go. . . I just know “there’s something there.”