In this blog, Maintain a Joke File, I’ll show how to take all those jokes, bits, and funny thoughts and organize them so you can find them later.
What do you do with jokes, bits, and routines that have come from different premises, are in random order, while others are disconnected thoughts? You create and maintain a joke file. Not to just record your jokes, but also to have place to put all those scattered funny thoughts. (I would call it a material file, but that’s a terrible keyword phrase.)
Many decades ago when I began writing jokes, I would write ten jokes a day for four days, and then on the fifth day, I’d clean up the best ones, and file them. Back then I wrote on a manual Underwood typewriter and filed the jokes on 3×5 index cards for jokes and 4×6 cards for physical bits and routines. I did this for the first three years of my stand-up comedy development.
My close friend, Tim Simpson, has been maintaining a joke file in his computer for nearly twenty-five years. He recently reported to me that he has accumulated over 50,000 original jokes and funny concepts. Whenever anyone asks him to write on a particular subject, he simply searches his data base, retrieves a multitude of jokes, and begins working on a job that’s half finished.
I suggest you do something similar to develop a daily joke writing habit. The more you write jokes the better you’ll get at it. I went back and read some of the first jokes I wrote, they were terrible. With a daily ritual of writing jokes, if you only write one hysterical joke a week, at the end of a year you will have 52 hilarious jokes.
Now living in a digital world you have programs or apps options for maintaining a joke and routine file. I personally use the Evernote app. (I’m not an affiliate or sponsor. I happen to really use this app.)
Evernote can record your funny thoughts by typing or voice to text, and so much more. You can use it on a smart phone, tablet, computer and even a Moleskine notebook (whatever the fuck that is.) No more need for scraps of paper or post-it notes. The feature I like best is that all your devices can sync so you’ll have just one consistent collection of notes.
You can also use Evernote to audio record your shows so you can review and revise them whenever it’s convenient to you. This app is excellent for comedians. It has so many other features. If you’d like more info on Evernote read this article One App to Rule Them All: 30 Ways Evernote Can Improve Your Life. (Also, not affiliated.)
Now you have no excuse to collect and organize all of your random, disconnected thoughts, and jokes. With a bit a discipline, you’ll be cranking out comedy routines at an amazing pace.
Get to it!