By Jerry Corley | Founder – The Stand Up Comedy Clinic
Comedy Tip of The Day: Write, write and write some more.
I’ve been a stand up comedian for 25 years. I’ve worked television, radio, the road, corporates, colleges, casinos, you name it. I’ve been teaching comedy now for 6 years. 4 years with my own comedy classes and 2 years with professional comedians at the Friars Club of Beverly Hills, when I help found the Comedy Writer’s Forum.
At the Writer’s Forum, several comedians would meet every Monday night and work on new material. It started out small but grew to be a nice group of professional comedians all trying to continuously develop material.
We then started to meet every Monday at 5pm. We would write all new material until 8pm. We would then open the doors to the public and put on shows where each comedian did 5 minutes of brand new material written that evening. At first it was hard for everyone, then it was just challenging and exhilarating. Meeting every week and forcing ourselves to generate new material every night gave us purpose. It gave us a reason to push and generate new material.
All of us who were in that group became better writers as a result. We learned methods to generate material. It was at the Friar’s Club of Beverly Hills where I first started teaching my joke-writing system. I didn’t know it was a system. I thought everyone knew how to generate material.
When comedians and comedy writers ask me how they can get better, one of the first things I say to them is “write.” Write your ass off and keep writing. Work on being original, work on structured material, work on writing clean. Even if your persona is not clean, you should work on also writing clean so that even if you can’t use the material yourself, you can sell it.
That’s why in my classes, every session is started of with a writing drill. I give the students a set up (usually from the news) and they start writing and you know what? I am almost always amazed—yes, “amazed” at the level of joke that each of these students wind up producing. It all starts with writing…
So what are you waiting for?
Write, write and write some more!