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Laugh, Damn You, Laugh…

Or I’ll make this entire audience sorry.

You’re having a great show. There are screams of laughter and applause breaks. You’re crushing it.  But there’s that one friggin person who refuses to laugh or even smile. What do you do? I’ve seen way too many comedians make it their sole mission to make that one person laugh no matter the consequences. Their egos get caught up with breaking that one unresponsive audience member. They’ll stop doing their show and yell, blame, and even antagonize that person who won’t laugh. Soon the show stops being funny because the comedian has excluded the rest of the audience. In my opinion, this is just plain stupid. So, what’s a better choice?

3 Techniques to Triple Your Laughs

How to tag jokes and tag tags...

  Tagging jokes is the comedians’ term for adding another punch to an already successful punch, without a new setup. Getting two or more laughs from an initial setup increases the laughs per minute LPMs. Most comedians and speakers rarely push past the initial laugh. This leaves way too many laughs on the table. Tagging your jokes and tagging your tags is the road to comedy success. With one-liner jokes, 95 to 99% of the performing time is spent delivering the setups. This means 95 to 99% of the stage time is spent not being funny. But if you tag every one of the jokes and then tag those tags the audience spends 95% of their time laughing. If you think of setups as an investment with the laugh as your payoff, then by tagging every punch is like getting paid again and again for the same investment. How d

The 4th Season of Inside Comedy Set For May 5th

Where else can you get first-hand knowledge about being a comedian?

Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart are also set to be profiled and interviewed on Inside Comedy. Already, host David Steinberg is setting to chat one-on-one with Stephen Colbert, Michael Keaton, and Dan Aykroyd about comedy in the 4th season of Showtime’s Inside Comedy. Inside Comedy Greg Dean's Stand Up Comedy Classes Los Angeles • Facebook • Twitter • Yel

How to Kill a Laugh – Part 2 (No Joke)

Is bad joke writing technique making you the air brakes of comedy?

In my previous blog, How to Kill a Laugh - Part 1, I defined the joke reveal and showed the importance of placing it at the end of every joke’s punch. In this blog, How to Kill a Laugh - Part 2, I’ll describe two ways punches get screw up and how to fix them. Unnecessary words are said after the joke reveal. Talking past the reveal is one of the most common and irritating errors. Two issues here: one, a nervous funny person adds mindless prattle beyond where the joke gets a laugh. Solution: Shut up when the audience is laughing. Second, the joke is badly written with superfluous words added past the punch’s reveal. Here’s an example written by a gay student,

How to Kill a Laugh – Part 1

Stop interrupting my comedy routine with you damn laughter.

Results of How to Kill a Laugh One night at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, I watched a comic, I’ll call “Biff,” train an audience to stop laughing. In the beginning, the audience laughed as his jokes. The problem was he didn’t know what part of the punch was causing the laugher. So when the audience laughed, to finish saying what he’d written, he’d shout over the top of the audience’s laughter. This is basically saying to an audience, “Stop Interrupting my comedy routine with your damn laughter.” Since the audience still wanted to hear what Biff had to say, they quickly learned to be quiet. Around the tenth joke, the audience had been trained to stop laughing altogether. They were still smiling and enjoying his show. But Biff wasn’t ge

3 Mental Habits of Funny People

This won’t make you a better person…but it’ll help you become a worse one.

Funny People “Ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you, but when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window?” – George Carlin Funny people are voraciously curious and aware of everything. To find original humor, they investigate and have opinions about world around them. Whereas most average people are living in their head…and it’s sublet. To help you create the mental habits of funny people. I’ll teach three games you can play, on and off, during the day. Only through continual practice do these games become mental habits. The more you play, the more you’ll find excellent ideas that are funny. Ga

Go Ahead … Just Throw Away Your Funny Thoughts

Stupid is as stupid doesn't.

  Gayla Johnson's Funny Thoughts “I took my white husband to a black arts festival. I forgot something about myself when I leaned to him and whispered, ‘We’re the only white people here.’” This joke gets a huge laugh in my wife, Gayla Johnson’s, stand-up comedy shows. But if she hadn’t written it on a napkin and tossed it into her random funny thoughts' basket, it would have disappeared into the ether without a laugh. Several months later she was searching for ideas to write a new stand-up comedy bit. She rummaged through that basket of funny thoughts and found the above joke. Would you walk down a busy street, take all the cash out of your

Yelp Reviews Pissed Me Off – So I Got Them Back

What to do when Yelp hides your 5 star reviews

Yelp. com is one of the most powerful sites on the web which offer reliable and credible reviews for any business. BUT, what if their algorithm, not a person, decides to “not recommend” and hide your best reviews? That’s what happened to me. I had twenty plus 5 star reviews not seen by the public. What can I do about this. Nothing says Yelp policy. Live with it. Suck it up. I don't do that very well. Then,

Lessons from Comedy for Business

Are you missing what's right in front of you?

I’ve taught stand-up comedy for more than three decades. There are lessons I’ve learned about being funny that also apply to other aspects of life. But often we just don’t think to use them when we're not performing. For example, here’s something I teach my students: Do the show that’s in front of you … not the one in your head. I know this lesson very well because I remind my students of it in almost every class. Yet, I don’t always apply it in other contexts. Like the time I designed for my wife and me a wonderful week-long jaunt up the California coast, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I’d spent a great deal of time on research and booking B&Bs, remote cabins, and cliff side hotels. Alas, when we got to our first stop, San Luis Obispo, the car broke down. It was on a Saturday evening. The closest car repair shop couldn’t get the required part until Monday and our car wouldn’t be fixed until Tuesday. I was upset and frustr

Assumptions and Joke Writing – Part 3 – Greg Dean Comedy Tips 10

  In my previous blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 2, I explained how understanding assumptions lead to uncovering more joke mechanisms. In this blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 9: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 3, I’ll discuss the mechanism between the target assumption and reinterpretation, and how this lead to creating my original joke writing system The Joke Prospector. Greg Dean Comedy Tips 10: Assumptions and Joke Writing - Part 3 After a year of teaching joke structure wi

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