Increase the humor content (and laughs) of your professional presentations, informal business talks, and every day conversation.
Okay, those are the introductions - now for TBA - To Be Announced joke exercise. This is - those who have taken the standup may have heard this before so just bear with me. Don’t give it away.
But for those of you, I don’t care who you are - I want you to get out a blank sheet of paper. Blank sheet of paper. Okay, now. There are several things you could be doing. You are writing a chunk of material for a standup comedian. The comedian says to you, did you hear that General Electric just came out with this new night lamp that is about the size of - it’s about this big but it’s ten times brighter than the normal lighting fixture. It‘s a really bright lamp, and very, very popular. I’m going to open up my TV show tonight with a joke on this lamp.
If you’re a public speaker you’re going out to speak to the team at General Electric who invented this lamp and you’re going to open up with a joke tying in with their invention.
If you are a writer, you read an article about this lamp and you want to do a humorous piece on this lamp.
I don’t care what your frame of reference is, the point is - ‘Oh! I need a joke for this.’ Three minutes, write a joke on the lamp - bright lamp. I’ll give you three minutes to write a lamp joke. If you’re a professional, I’m giving you twice the time that it normally takes.
Here we go. Anybody want to share what your reactions were. First of all, not what you wrote but what was your reaction when you heard what I said.
(Not all responses included due to sound quality.)
Anybody else's reaction. How many people managed to write 10 ideas for a lamp joke. Ann did - okay. Anybody else? Marie did. Anybody else?
This is the first rule in your notes. First of all the problem with most people when they hear that - nobody said it, but usually there's two reactions to that.
First of all - most people's reaction is what's funny about a lamp. Why didn't you give a subject that's funny. This is a real important principle that I am trying to make folks. There is nothing intrinsically funny about anything. Let me repeat, there is nothing intrinsically funny about anything. The Army is no more funnier than the Navy the Navy is no more funnier than a football team, a football team is no more funnier than a university. It's never the subject, folks.
It's one of the principles of comedy writing. It is the way you approach the subject, it's what you do with it. It's always what YOU bring to the table that makes a topic funny or not funny. There are no inherent funny topics. And that's what I'm going to show you for the rest of this day. And this is what is really going to open it up for you.
Too many people sit down to write comedy and think, oh, let me get this really funny, brilliant original idea and this is what you get with what I call kaka comedy.
"I was walking down the street and this green UFO landed and this Martian got out and they took me to Pluto..." They're thinking, oh it's a funny subject matter.
That's crap. That's content. That doesn't have anything to do with anything. Great comedians, great comedy writers, great pieces of literature that entertain us - talk about everyday things. Relationships, everyday experiences... Don't manufacture crap, just take ordinary everyday situations...
What makes a brilliant comedy writer or brilliant comedian is somebody you say, "My God! They just look at the world differently. They see everything I see, they just see it differently." That's what you say when you read a brilliant piece of comedy writing or hear a great comedian. I never looked at a car that way before. I never looked at a relationship that way before. I never thought about school that way before.
It's not what a brilliant school, what a brilliant automobile - it's always the approach that you take. It's really important to know, there is no such thing as funny or non-funny topics. It's what we do with it and I'm going to show how to approach it.