How Do I Write Jokes For A Stand-up Comedy Routine?

how to write stand-up jokesThis may sound a bit odd, but I couldn’t tell you how to write stand-up comedy “jokes” that would actually work on stage if my mom was being held hostage.

Here is the reason why:

For those who actually know what they are doing when it comes to developing a stand-up comedy routine that will actually generate big laughs when delivered…

There is a HUGE difference between trying to “write” jokes out of thin air from a blank piece of paper and “writing down” and structuring what you want to say and express to an audience.

Understanding (and applying) this difference means the difference between success and failure when a comedian hit the stage.

Now for the details…

1. We are taught to write much differently than the way we actually talk and express ourselves verbally.

Question: Do you have the sense of humor you have and did you develop the ability to make others laugh from learning how to write and passing written notes to people to get laughs?

The answer is NO you did not. You developed your comedy talent from countless live and in-person interactions that you have had with others since you were a very small child.

Which ties into the next fact which is…

2. Audiences don’t read stand-up comedy material. They experience it as it is being expressed by the comedian.

Hint: What makes stand-up comedy different than what you do in everyday conversations involves a much more premeditated and tightened expression of what you have to say without the need for someone else to set-up the “jokes”.

3. Most of an individual’s laughter power does not come from the words alone – it comes from the expressive traits of the comedian.

You simply cannot “write” on paper the power of your personality, appearance, facial expressions, body language and the host of other attributes that are unique to you and how you communicate with others.

4. Most stand-up comedy material that is produced by a comedian for their own sense of humor and natural expressive comedy traits won’t usually read funny from a piece of paper.

Unfortunately most new comedians are under the false impression that if something reads funny on paper it will generate laughs when delivered on stage.

While there can be some overlap, by and large this is NOT the case and leads to bombing on stage.

5. The comedy attributes and the sense of humor you have is unique to you and different for everyone.

Subsequently, you can’t expect to use some “one size fits all” joke writing process to get the laughter results you want with your stand-up comedy material. But if you want to keep on searching for that sort of thing…

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You might want to buy some fake teeth, put them under your pillow before you go to sleep and see if the tooth fairy leaves you some money for them.

If you want to understand exactly what I am talking about in this article, just take some time and review the 5 free lessons in the Killer Stand-up Online Course.

Unfortunately, most comedians are under the false impression that they have to “write stand-up comedy jokes” in the literary sense for a number a reasons:

  • That’s what they assume by watching comedian interviews on TV where they talk about “writing” their stand-up comedy material.
  • That’s what they learn by talking to other comedians who are clueless about how to develop and deliver a high impact stand-up comedy routine themselves.
  • That’s what they learn from the outdated and ineffective “joke writing” processes described in popular stand-up comedy books.
  • That’s what they learn from the same outdated and ineffective “joke writing” processes taught in stand-up comedy classes and workshops.

Subsequently, because of these prevalent assumptions and misconceptions – funny and talented people end up getting highly frustrated and discouraged when their paper written “jokes” result in constant bombing on stage.

And that’s why I say this in lesson 5 in first training module in my online course for comedians:

Try what everyone else has to offer FIRST in the way of stand-up comedy books (#ad), classes, workshops, etc. – see if that works for you. And if you have real comedy talent and get tired of bombing on stage, then come back and give my online course a closer look.

My online course for comedians can show you how to quickly and easily develop, structure and deliver a topic based stand-up comedy routine that incorporates the critical comedy attributes that YOU have already developed that make YOU funny in the first place – right from the beginning of the stand-up comedy material development process.

But I don’t have a clue about how to begin to tell someone some sort of magical process for “writing” stand-up comedy jokes from a blank piece of paper and somehow cobble them together to produce a stand-up comedy routine that’ll actually get the big audience laughs that you want (and deserve).

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2 Replies to “How Do I Write Jokes For A Stand-up Comedy Routine?”

  1. Something you mentioned that I’ve never really thought about before is the fact that most comedy that’s developed for a certain sense of humor won’t necessarily be funny if you just read it from a piece of paper. As I think of my favorite stand-up comedians, I really do like them all for different reasons. I mean, they’re all funny, but their jokes are funny because of how the comedians shares them. This is something I’m going to have to try and apply moving forward, so thanks for the tip!

    • FYI: There is no actionable information in this article and there is a lot to know and apply in order to be able to develop and deliver a stand-up comedy routine that generates the 4-6 solid laughs per minute you need to move ahead as a comedian. It’s not difficult for sure – just multiple pieces you need to weave together to get the results you want. Best of luck to you!

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