Increase the humor content (and laughs) of your professional presentations, informal business talks, and every day conversation.
There's no process for creating material. The problem is most people don't know how to sit down and do something. Most people when they hear lamp either think, gee, what's some type of joke that I know I can adapt or switch or make into a lamp joke. Or can I put that lamp into a joke. Or they try to say what's funny about a lamp and have no system for creating material.
Now if you created a joke, hang on to it. We'll come back to this. The main thing I wanted to illustrate is this is real typical in comedy. Particularly as a comedy writer. Somebody comes up and says I need a joke on this. Call me back in 15 minutes. Call me back in an ½ hour. That happens in the real world.
A friend of mine called me up at five o'clock and said, John, I've got an assignment we've got to write for the Smothers Brothers. They are doing some radio spots for water conservation. They have to be 30 second spots. I said, great. When's their deadline. This was at 5 o'clock and he said, 7 o'clock.
So we sat down and wrote three. We turned them in and they liked them. We wrote three more. They used three of the six spots we turned in. We wrote them in four hours. We didn't have the luxury of waiting. And what was great about it was the Smothers Brothers didn't change them. We wrote them for their style, for their rhythm and their cadence.
Comedy writing - it's not the topic - it's what you do to it. If you are creative and inventive then your jokes are going to be creative and inventive. If you're dull and boring then your jokes are going to be dull and boring.
I taught this class about four years ago at the Holy City Zoo. I had taken a hiatus for a couple of years and then I came back to the Zoo. My first class, there was a gentleman who was a neurologist. I don't think of neurologists as being particularly funny but when I gave out an assignment, everything that this gentleman came up with was fresh. It was unique, it was new. Everybody was doing the same thing but this gentleman.
And within 60 days he was writing for Pat Paulsen. He writes for Bob Hope now. But his material just stood out. Do you know what I am saying? If I gave a paint brush to paint - if you're Michelangelo - you'll paint a masterpiece. And if you're my brother, you'll put some paint on the canvas. I'll give you the tools folks. You develop it to the degree that you can with your skills.