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Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 9: Recurring Themes of Pop Culture

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 8: Identify Assumptions, I showed how assumptions are the doorway to writing jokes. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 9: Recurring Themes of Pop Culture, I’ll discuss how Pop Culture feeds comedians a constant stream of topics for writing material.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 9: Recurring Themes of Pop Culture

The media creates or repeats the recurring themes on a daily basis, so they’ll have some drivel to report. These themes can dominate the media, like pit bull attacks, autistic savants playing music, etc? Pop culture is constantly evolving, so must your comic mind to keep up with what’s new.

When at a bar or club, do you notice the names of the popular drinks?

How to play this game: Exploit these themed stories before they become passé. Identify these recurring trends so you can use them as topics or premises to write material. Are you familiar with all the products for depression, ED, feminine pads, bad breath, dry skin, sore feet, etc? Many people are closed to the latest thing. Be open.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 10: Know How to Research, I’ll demonstrate how being able to research helps to turn a topic into a routine.

BTW

Greg Dean’s Beginner Stand-Up Comedy Classes begins April 8, 2013. Limited time offer $50 Off.

• I am working on the Be Funny Book Series workbooks which take all the comedy techniques and turn them into exercises so anyone can learn them. Look for it in 2013.

• Smoked a Camacho cigar while writing this blog. These are great cigars.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedIn

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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.

BTW

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

• Look for my revamped website. Coming soon

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

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedInYouTube

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 7: Be Playfully Contrary

In my previous blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 6: Find the Contradictions, I discussed how everyday contradictions can be used as jokes. In this blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 7: Be Playfully Contrary, I’ll show how comedians play devil’s advocate to uncover other’s opinions and clarify their own.

Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 7: Be Playfully Contrary

Comedians do not accept the status quo, they go against the stream. When you take the opposite position against other people’s principles and beliefs you can find comedy material … and sometimes arguments. If you always agree with everyone because you want to be like, you’ll never really know who you are and understand your own values and beliefs.

Have you ever argued for the opposite side of your political views?

To play this game: Disagree even when you agree. This can quickly get irritating, so do so with some discretion … or not. Pissing people off can really teach you how much others care about their opinions and beliefs. If you’re a theist, be an atheist. Dislike chocolate. Become the meat police. The average Joe avoids confrontation. Confront.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 8: Be Aware of Your Assumptions, I’ll show how assumptions are the doorway to writing jokes.

BTW

• Greg Dean’s Beginner Stand-Up Comedy Classes begin April 8, 2013. Sit in for free. gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• Every night, I state three things I’m grateful for. It just helps to remember how good life really is.

• While writing this blog, I smoked a real Cuban Cohiba cigar. Excellent.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean’s Comedy Classes

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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 when it’s convenient. Vegans do smoke cigarettes. PETA members use prescription drugs that are test on animals. When the authorities arrest and remove protesters from blocking an abortion clinic, those protesters scream that the government has no right to tell them what they can or cannot do with their own bodies.

This mental game is based on you searching for these contradictions. They are, in and of themselves, jokes. All you need to do is recognize and present them. Unfunny folks don’t find the contradictions of life. Find.

Did you know Mitt Romney’s family accepted welfare from the government?

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 7: Be Playfully Contrary, I’ll show you how taking the opposite position against other people’s principles and beliefs can lead to comedy material, and sometimes arguments.

BTW

• Free Stand-Up Comedy Class – Monday April 1st 2013 – Get on Confirmation List. gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• In the next month, April 2013, look for my redesigned website. stand-upcomedy.com

• Had an excellent humor theory discussion with my friend, Scott Meltzer. It’s always inspiring to get another point of view.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedIn

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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 your grandmother. Pick a war and read about it. Study the bible. Read the biography of your favorite historical hero. Most uncreative people overlook history. Look.

Do you understand the significance of the French Revolution on your everyday life?

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 6: Find the Contradictions, I’ll show how comedians use everyday paradoxes for comedy material.

BTW

• Free Stand-Up Comedy Class – Monday April 1st 2013 – Get on Confirmation List. gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• Getting ready to publish on LULU.com: Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy – Workbook Series. If you liked the information in my already published book, you’ll love this workbook series because all the techniques have exercise that make them easy to learn.

• While writing this blog, I smoke a Man’O’War Rumination cigar. Strong and tasty.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedIn

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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 to know? Know.

Do you know the names of the super-tall buildings around the world?

To play this game, go on Youtube and check out the latest viral videos. Get on google and type in “trends.” Join Digg or StumblUpon to stay in touch with what’s happening. It’s kind of like what you’d imagine what the joke writers for Leno, Letterman, Fallen, etc. need to do every morning to write topical jokes for their clients. Spend 10 minutes every day investigating the latest trends and news or the internet. Comedians know what’s going on in the entire world.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 5: Pay Attention to History, where I’ll encourage you to play the game of learning about the past that affects you presently.

BTW

• Check out my student Anthony Jeselnik on Comedy Central “The Jeselnik Offensive.” Tuesdays 10:30 pm Pacific and 9:30 Central. It’s deliciously mean.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsLinkedIn

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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?

To do this game, make a list of things you’d normally avoid, and then put yourself into these uncomfortable situations. For instance, if you normally watch the liberal news MSNBC, choose to watch the conservative Fox News, or visa versa. This will make you confront your values and why you have them. They’ll be reinforced or they’ll change because you’re getting new information from a different perspective.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 4: Know the Latest Trends, I’ll prescribe a game where you’ll notice the latest trends, so you can be ahead of the crowd.

BTW

• For comics in Los Angeles, check out the once-a-month comedy show at the Canoga Bowl produced by my student Luigi DeTone.

• Just made plans to revamp my website. Stay tuned!

• While writing this blog, I smoked a real Cuban Cohiba cigar. Illegal, which made it even tastier.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsYouTube – Students

 

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

In my last 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 mind, begin with this question:

What is the function of a blue reflector in the middle of the road?

Then turn your observational skills toward other details you’ve overlooked which are right in front of your face. Play this game for 15 minutes every day for one week. It’ll open your eyes and expand your comic mind.

In my next blog, Comedy Classes in Your Mind – Lesson 3: Investigate Things You Dislike, I’ll introduce a game where you’ll confront the things you don’t like to be around. Know thy enemy.

BTW

• I’ve finished writing the Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy – Workbook Series. It’s an addendum to my published book, Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy which offers tons of joke writing and performance techniques. Now you have a way to practice all of them. It’ll be available in 2013 on Lulu.com

• Check out my DVD: How to be a Stand-Up Comedian. It’s the next best thing to attending my comedy classes.

• Smoked a Joya de Nicaragua cigar while writing this blog. Strong and tasty.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsYouTube – Students

 

 

 

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 end,” “Sold up the river,” “The real McCoy.” You may know their implied meaning, but do you know their actual meaning and origin? The average person doesn’t care. Care.

Do you know what etymology means?

The question above is a starting point to get you to investigate all the obvious tidbits of information that everyone takes for granted. By noticing what others miss you’re rehearsing the habits of the comic mind and creating comedy classes you can do for free.

BTW

• Free Comedy Classes – Monday April 1st…really. To get on the confirmation list email gregdean@stand-upcomedy.com

• Beginner Stand-Up Comedy Classes – Monday April 8th. Learn the fundamentals of joke writing and performance.

• Check out my website: ijokewriting.com and learn how to write a joke in less than two minutes.

Take Comedy Classes,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsYouTube – Students

 

 

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 your punch lines and shown to be wrong. Here are some examples of target assumptions:

Setup (good): “Post workers are actually very efficient…”

Target Assumption: They are efficient at handling the mail.

And.

Setup (bad) “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors.”

Target Assumption: The neighbors are within a few houses or blocks of your house.

Next, you need to recognize what in the setup caused you to make the target assumption. This will be your connector and will be in the form of who, what, when, where, why, or how. For instance:

Setup (good): “Post workers are actually very efficient…”

Target Assumption: They are efficient at handling the mail.

Connector: What the post workers are efficient at.

And.

Setup (bad) “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors.”

Target Assumption: The neighbors are within a few houses or blocks of your house.

Connector: Where the neighbors are.

Now identify or invent an unexpected interpretation of the connector which will be your reinterpretation. The reinterpretation will be your idea for the punch lines. You must keep the target assumption and reinterpretation consistent. Which is to say, if the target assumption is a what, then the reinterpretation also needs to be a what.  A who for a who; a where for a where, and so forth. Follow the progression below:

Setup (good): “Post workers are actually very efficient…”

Target Assumption: They are efficient at handling the mail.

Connector: What the post workers are efficient at.

 

What else could the postal workers be efficient with?

Reinterpretation: Guns.

And.

Setup (bad) “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors.”

Assumption: The neighbors are located within a few houses or blocks of where you live.

Connector: Where the neighbor are.

 

Where is a neighbor that is not within a few houses or blocks?

Reinterpretation: a neighboring country like Canada or Mexico.

Now you can write punch lines using the idea of the reinterpretations. You may need to add a little information to the reinterpretation so the punch lines clearly expresses it, but remember that punch lines are short. So don’t overwrite it. Here are the examples again, now with punch lines:

Setup (good): “Post workers are actually very efficient…”

Target Assumption: They are efficient at handling the mail.

Connector: What the post workers are efficient at.

What else could the postal workers be efficient with?

Reinterpretation: Guns.

 

Punch (bad): “With guns.”

Joke: “Post workers are actually very efficient…with guns.”

And.

Setup (bad) “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors.”

Assumption: The neighbors are located within a few houses or blocks of where you live.

Connector: Where the neighbor are.

Where is a neighbor that is not within a few houses or blocks?

Reinterpretation: a neighboring country like Canada or Mexico.

 

Punch (worse): “In Mexico.”

Joke: “My post person delivers my letters to my neighbors…in Mexico.”

Here’s the interesting thing: these punch lines are examples of the joke premise: postal workers are incompetent. This isn’t something you have to think about because it should happen naturally by using the joke mechanisms of target assumption, connector, and reinterpretation. This process makes the illogic of jokes logically understandable. Now you can write jokes at will.

BTW

• My advanced stand-up comedy classes have a showcase at the Comedy Store in Hollywood on Wed. March 20th. Join us.

• Free Comedy Class Monday April 1st. stand-upcomedy.com

• I didn’t smoke a cigar while writing this blog.

Live to Laugh,

Greg Dean

Stand Up Comedy Classes#gregdeancomedy@gregdeancomedyYelp ReviewsYouTube