Sometimes a Sight Gag is Better

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

greg dean comedy blog

Sometimes seeing it is funnier than hearing it. This goes along with the adage, “Show don’t tell.” Showing or acting out something is almost always stronger than telling them about it. For example, a student of mine, Alan Bockal, does this joke:

So look for me at your local freeway off-ramp. I’ll be the one holding the sign that says: Married a Jewish Girl – Will Work for Sex.”

Alan could have just said that joke, but it works much better when he stands there holding the sign like a homeless person on a freeway off-ramp.

Comedian and food fan Kevin James has an entire routine about how tiny a Geo Metro feels when he sits in it. He could, of course, just tell the audience that the car fits like a jacket, but instead he pretends to be in the car, holding a steering wheel that appears to be the size of donut and hanging his elbows out of both windows. The sight of his obvious discomfort is much funnier than any description could ever be.

Don’t be afraid to try acting out scenes instead of talking about them. Do be careful about using props, though. Not because it’s cheating or hackish, (as some comics mistakenly believe), but because, practically speaking, schlepping a lot of props from gig to gig can get to be a real drag. If the joke really needs it, and you don’t mind carrying it around, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a prop.

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