In my previous blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 1: Comedy Teachesr Who Teach, 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, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 2: Comedy Books What-To vs How-To, I’ll explain that many so called How-To comedy books only tell you what you need to do, but don’t really teach you how to do it.
Greg Dean Comedy Tip 2:
Comedy Books What-To vs How-To
If you’ve read as manycomedy books as I have on joke writing and stand-up comedy, then you may have also discovered that too many comedy books only give advice. Technically, they’re not How-To comedy books, but rather What-To comedy books because they only tell you what you need to do to be a better comedian. These kinds of comedy 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.
I too, am guilty of this flaw in my comedy books Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy. and Workbooks. 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 comedy books are 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 comedy books 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.
When looking at comedy books on joke writing or performing stand-up comedy, make sure the comedy books give exercises that’ll teach you how to do whatever is being offered.
This is not to say What-To comedy 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 comedy books will not only show you What-To do, it’ll also teach you How-To do it.
For instance, in one of my comedy books 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 another of my comedy books 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 have What-To comedy books as well as the How-To comedy books.
In my next blog, Greg Dean Comedy Tips 3: Learn Joke Structure, I’ll discuss how all jokes have a structure and that anyone can understand it.