Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 8: Identify Assumptions

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 7: Be Playfully Contrary, I showed how comedians play devil’s advocate to uncover other’s opinions and clarify their own values. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 8: Identify Assumptions, I’ll discuss how assumptions are the doorway to writing jokes.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 8: Identify Assumptions

Assumptions are the interpretations of what we believe things are or mean, but can’t be proven. That’s why they’re called assumptions. All jokes shatter some assumption, which is how they create surprise. For instance, this joke: “I had a mud pack facial and for three day I looked much better. Then the mud fell off.”  You made the assumption the mud was removed as part of the facial, which is why this person look good. This assumption was shattered when it was revealed that this person looked better because the mud was left on. Assumptions are the doorway to punch lines. Once you know the assumptions, you can identify or invent a surprise. People laugh when their assumptions are shattered and surprised.

How to play this game: at first make lists about common situations. Sit in a restaurant and identify all your assumptions. It’ll be in the hundreds. For every assumption, jump to an unexpected meaning, other than the assumption. For instance, assumption: the waiter will be a presentable human. Jump: the waiter is Sasquatch.

Once you feel confident with identifying assumptions and jumping, take it into the real world and notice what others assume and make a joke by jumping to an unexpected meaning. Jokes come from shattering assumptions. Shatter.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 9: Notice Recurring Themes of Pop Culture, I’ll show how there are themes that run through everything in the media.


• Free Stand-Up Comedy Classes – April 1, 2013 – 7pm. Get on the Confirmation List.

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• While writing this blog, I smoked a Hoyo de Nicaragua robusto cigar. Strong and satisfying.

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Greg Dean

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