by Jerry Corley – Founder of The Stand Up Comedy Clinic
If you search online for information on “how to be funny” or “how to become a comedian” you’ll encounter some pretty useless stuff. It looks to me that somebody’s trying to get as much video footage up online as possible just to improve the SEO of his website. Unfortunately the information is about as useful as a sponge made of shit. The poor guy is lost, trying to give his two-cents on what constitutes a joke.
Sid Caesar said that a joke is a story with a curlicue. That’s a clever way of saying it’s a story with a surprise or something unexpected happening, yet it still doesn’t give us the fundamental structure that allows us to learn how to piece joke together or to learn the concept of joke writing.
Let me lay it out for you: In its simplest form, a joke is a convergence of two or more clearly identifiable ideas. It’s the convergence of the contrasting ideas that creates surprise and, in turn, humor. Let’s start out with something that was just in the news:
“Officials have reported that a stash of porn was seized in the raid of Osama Bin Laden’s compound.”
It is clear in that news headline that there are at least two clearly identifiable ideas. In this case we have Osama Bin Ladin and Porn. We could also branch out from the core ideas with what is implied with Osama Bin Ladin, (Terrorist, terrorism, Islam, Muslim, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Pakistan Afghanistan, etc.). The ideas are clearly contrasting. There is also the implication of sex, and since the mention of sex creates tension and anxiety in our society, it creates an even more heightened possibility for humor.
You can’t get a more simple opportunity to dig into some jokes than that! Just the possible names of the porn movies provide a rush of comedy ideas and in minutes your list of porn titles found in Bin Ladin’s compound could look like this:
Inside Her Burka
Whore on Terror
Is that a WMD in your pocket?
Osama The “Terror-fist.”
Tea-bagged by the Taliban
Deep Inside The Bush Cabinet
Al Qaeda Cream Pie Cuties.
Attack of the Bone Drone
Deep In Her Pakistani Hideout
Buttman and Rocco Go to Abbotobad
Bra Bustin Burka Babes
Double Pakistani Penetration
And once you have the titles, you can clearly see the convergence of two or more clearly identifiable ideas that are contrasting in their nature. Combining the two in a porn title gives you humor. Just as a comedy writing exercise for yourself, take it further. What would be the log line of one of the porn movies?
“Watch as busty Burka babes give oral pleasure to Osama Bin Labia as he tickles their chins with his Taliballs, while you get to see–close up–how Bin Labia really colors his beard.”
Okay, so you might find yourself with a fatwa issued against you, but what the hell, you got some really great comedy out of it!