In my previous blog, Stand-Up Comedy Classes – Tip 1: Find a Comedy Teacher Who Teaches, I offered the advice to make sure a comedy teacher teaches you the fundamental skills of joke writing and performing by having you do exercises. In this blog, Stand-Up Comedy Classes – Tip 2: What-To Books versus How-To Books, I’ll explain that many so called How-To books only tell you what you need to do, but don’t really teach you how to do it.
Stand-Up Comedy Classes – Tip 2:
What-To Books versus How-To Books
If you’ve read as many books as I have on joke writing and stand-up comedy, then you may have also discovered that too many of them only give advice. Technically, they’re not How-To books, but rather What-To books because they only tell you what you need to do to be a better comedian. These kinds of books always left me depressed because when I finished, I knew, in detail, all the things I couldn’t do. And then it offered no way to learn how to do all those things.
Step by Step to Stand-Up Comedy in workbook form is used to teach joke writing and performing technique in Greg Dean’s Stand-Up Comedy Classes Los Angeles Santa Monics.
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I too, am guilty of this flaw in my book Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy. There are some chapters where I explained what you needed to know and then gave exercises to learn how to do them. Yet, much of my book is filled with great advice about what to do, with no exercises to learn how to do them. For this reason, I wrote the Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy Workbooks Series with five workbooks which took all the sections with advice and turned them into exercises. Now, anyone can learn the skills within the advice and how to implement them.
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Greg Dean’s Stand-Up Comedy Classes Advice:
When looking for a book on joke writing or performing stand-up comedy, make sure the book gives exercises that’ll teach you how to do whatever is being offered.
This is not to say What-To books are of no value, they are. The advice can point out many important techniques you’ll want to learn. Yet a real How-To book will not only show you What-To do, it’ll also teach you How-To do it.
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For instance in Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy, I wrote a section on ending Punches with the Reveal. A Reveal is that word, phrase, or action which creates the surprise. Whereas, in my Workbook 2: How to Improve Jokes and Routines, I also gave an exercises with sample jokes which were written incorrectly, so the user could correct them by recognizing the Reveal and then placing it at the end of the punches. You need to know the What-To as well as the How-To.
In my next blog, Stand-Up Comedy Classes - Tip 3: Learn Joke Structure, I’ll discuss how all jokes have a structure and that anyone can understand it.
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