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Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 6: Find the Contradictions

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 5: Pay Attention to History, I explained that comedians use established historical event and people as fodder for their jokes. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 6: Find the Contradictions, I’ll show how comedians use everyday contradictions for comedy material. Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 6: Find the Contradictions There are so many little things that make no sense if you look at them for what they really are. For instance, George Carlin’s joke “Dogs hate it when you blow in their face. But put them in the car and they stick their heads out the window.” On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he often presents news personalities contradicting their own opinions from one broadcast to the next. To create a comedy class in your mind, you must first understand that everyone is a hypocrite. We all contradict ourselves wh



Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 5: Pay Attention to History

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 4: Know the Latest Trends, I explained how comedians know the latest social trends to be ahead of the crowd. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 5: Pay Attention to History, I’ll explain how comedians use history as fodder for their jokes. Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 5: Pay Attention to History If you’re like me, you hated history classes in school because it had nothing to do with today. How wrong I was. History is filled with known events waiting for your comedic spin. Famous comedians often use historical facts to create material. Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets? I was good at math, until they turned it into letters. A quantum physicist walks into a bar ... maybe.” History is everywhere, so it’s easily available. To play this game, investigate your family history. Do you how and when your relatives came to America? Talk to



Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 4: Know the Latest Trends

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 3: Investigate Things You Dislike, I asked you to play a game where you put yourself in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations to challenge your values and establish your negative opinions. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 4: Know the Latest Trends, I’ll explain a game where you’ll check out the latest social trends to be ahead of the crowd. This will be easy for you if you have kids. They know all the latest trends. Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 4: Know the Latest Trends If you’re familiar with the “tipping point,” then you understand how trends come about. Comics often recognize a forming trend and talk about it before it becomes a fully accepted trend. If you want to make jokes about topics that aren’t overdone, then you need to be aware of the trends that are about to “tip.” Are you the first to know or the last



Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 3: Investigate Things You Dislike

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 2: Be Aware of the Details, I asked you to play a game where you notice the details of all of things you take for granted. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 3: Investigate Things You Dislike, I’ll ask you to put yourself into situations you find deplorable to hone your negative opinions. Comedy Classes in Your Mind - Lesson 3: Investigate Things You Dislike Comedians’ jokes are based on telling the audience what’s wrong with the world. So, you need to get to know all the things you’d normally avoid. Know thy enemy. Everything you find upsetting is a potential premise for material. Instead of avoiding unpleasant situations, you need to actively seek them. Volunteer for jury duty. Help someone move. Dance alone in a plaza. Others don’t do what they don’t want to do. Choose to do. Have you ever sat and talked with a homeless person?



Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 2: Be Aware of the Details

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 1: Notice What Others Miss, I discussed how you need to recognize all the idioms that you hear all the time, but don’t really know what they mean. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 2: Be Aware of the Details, I’ll ask you to play a game that makes you aware of objects and the details within them. Comedy Classes in Your Mind - Lesson 2: Be Aware of the Details Every day, in your environment, you’re bombarded by millions of details you need to pay attention to. Do you look at the architecture of every building you walk into? Do you study the logos of the products that you use? The jokes are in the details. All of the seemingly irrelevant details others dismiss can be fodder for jokes. Comedians note those insignificant details that others can’t be bothered with. Bother. Lesson 2: Be Aware of the Details To create comedy classes in your mi



Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 1: Notice What Others Miss

In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 1: Notice What Others Miss, I’ll introduce the concept of how to create comedy classes in your mind so you can think like a comedian. Comedians write comedy about everything. Great comedians are voraciously curious and aware of everything. To find original material, comedians investigate their own psychology and honest opinions about world around them. The average person is living in their head…and it’s sublet. To help you create the mental habits of comedians and create comedy classes in your mind, I’ll offer a series of 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 for writing comedy. Lesson 1: Notice What Others Miss When you hear a familiar phrase, but you have no idea what it means. Learn its meaning and origin. Begin with these phrases: “Down to the bitter



How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 4 – How to Write Punch Lines

In my previous article, How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 3, I showed how to write setups that misdirect. In this article, How to Write Jokes - Joke Writing Part 4 - How to Write Punch Lines, I’ll cover how assumptions open the door to the ideas for your punch lines. Now that you have some setups, you’ll want to write punch lines for these setups. Remember, jokes go from good to bad or bad to worse, therefore the setups need to be more positive than the punch lines. Here are two example setups for which we will find punch lines: Setup (good): “Post workers are actually very efficient...” Setup (bad) “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors.” To get the idea for the punch lines, notice what is the most obvious assumption suggested by each setup. This assumption will be your target assumption for that setup. Later, the target assumption will be targeted by



How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 3

In my previous article, How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 2, I explained the ingredients that construct joke setups. In this article, How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 3, I’ll discuss the two styles of setups. To write setups, you must first know the subject you’re going to write about and what position you’re taking on that subject. This is where the joke premise comes into play. The joke premise was thoroughly covered in How to Write Jokes – Joke Premises Parts 1, 2, and 3. First define your premise: (a negative opinion about a subject.) For instance, this premise: postal workers are incompetent. Once you know what your subject is and your judgment about it, you can begin to search for ideas for setups that misdirect. Create Misdirection As shown in How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 2, misdirection is the function of a setup and this is accomplished t



How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 2

In my previous article, How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 1, I explained that the relationship between the setup and punch are always in opposition, by going from good to bad or bad to worse. In this article, How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 2, I’ll explain the ingredients that go into makes an excellent joke setup. Joke Premise Revisited As I discussed in my articles, How to Write Jokes – Joke Premise Parts 1, 2 and 3, the premise is the fountainhead mechanism for writing jokes. So this is where we’ll start for learning how to write setups. Joke Premise: a negative opinion about a subject. The premise forces you to define the subject of your jokes and the pejorative judgment you’re taking on that subject. Once you have this, you can begin to search for opposite ideas that’ll help you misdirect the audience. Writing Setups Setups have very specific functions which mu



How to Write Jokes – Joke Writing Part 1

In my previous article, How to Write Jokes - Joke Structure Part 7, I defined the central mechanism of joke structure, the connector. In this article, How to Write Jokes - Jokes Writing Part 1, I’ll discuss the opposite relationship between the setup and the punch. Setup and Punch As discussed in, How to Write Jokes - Joke Structure Part 2, the function of the setup and 1st story is to create a false expectation and then the punch and 2nd story can reveal a surprise. To do this, these two stories must be in opposition. Opposite - Directly or By Degree Charlie Chaplin said it a long time ago: “Comedy is two opposite ideas that collide.” This is true even today. In general terms, setups and punches are opposite either directly in the form of: good to bad; or by degree in the form of bad to worse. Good to Bad A joke based on the pattern of good



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