George Carlin May Be Dead; But Wordplay is Alive!

George Carlin - Modern Man

Wordplay in comedy is ‘hack!"

If you believed some comedians in this industry, you might think that statement is true.

If someone said that to me today, I would tell them that one of the most memorable comedy bits in all of comedy is George Carlin’s "Seven Words You Can’t Say On T.V."

It’s pure wordplay.

They might counter that with, "Well that was a long time ago."

And I might let them believe that they’re right and let them begin that fall into the abyss of ignorance and arrogance that usually accompanies a comedian who’s been doing comedy for all of four or five years.

But not you. I would never let you fall into that abyss.

The readers of my blog–all three of you–I’ll try to not only guide you but give you supporting evidence from one the the masters…

George Carlin; a master wordsmith in comedy.

Ironic, considering that he left school in 9th grade.

And although the argument that "Seven Words" is from a different era and that it wouldn’t play today might hold some relevance; though I doubt it, I give you "Modern Man," a bit of pure wordplay comedy that Carlin did in his later years.

And I dare you tell me it’s ‘hack.’

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Jerry Seinfeld Comedy Writing Kit – Sort of!

If you’ve been reading my blog the past couple of posts, you probably noticed that I am obsessing this week over Jerry Seinfeld. I studied him when I was first getting into comedy and then emulated him in my earliest years as a comic.

One of the many things I admire about Jerry Seinfeld is his work ethic. He writes every day. I’ve made it my life’s non-negotiable rule to write every day as a result. I was also encouraged to do that by the late, great George Carlin.

You may have seen the Jerry Seinfeld calendar in a previous post where Jerry has a year-long calendar on his wall (or used to) where he puts a red “x” in the day that he writes being sure never to “break the chain” of red x’s.

I use that technique and it is always a reminder to get down and get to work.

Well, here’s something even cooler:

The Jerry Seinfeld Writing Kit!

It’s simple and it will give you the same magical tools that Jerry himself uses.

Here it is (are you ready):

Yellow legal pad (Cost: $1)
12-Pack Clear Plastic Blue Bic Pens ($3.49/dozen)

I know, some high-tech shit, huh?

Jerry doesn’t use a desktop, a laptop or an iPad. He writes everything long-hand.

He and Larry David wrote the entire series of Seinfeld on legal pads!

But don’t take my word for it, check it out at the New York Times article where I lifted this tid-bit of cool info!

Now that you have the magic tools, get to work and write. What to write? How to start? Read my post on joke-writing from scratch.

Last-Second Gift Suggestion From the Magazine and Jerry Seinfeld, Sort Of –

And, as always. Drop me a comment. Let’s keep the discussion going!

How to Write A Joke – Jerry Seinfeld Style

This is cool!

As you might already know about me, I’m a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld. I studied him when I was first starting comedy right alongside two of my other heroes, George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

I know, what an interesting juxtaposition! Carlin, Seinfeld, Pryor. Considering that combination you’d think my jokes might start out, “I think bugs were our first friends, you ever notice how bugs walk? 

But alas, I my jokes aren’t nearly as clever or interesting sounding: (throat-clearing to indicate sarcasm):

Anyway, to the point of this blog post; In my previous post I gave you all a link to an awesome New York Times interview with Jerry Seinfeld. In the interview you may have learned how Seinfeld is considered a scientist when it comes to comedy. He dissects a joke and looks for the littlest nuances to make the joke funny.

That was in the meat of the interview but if your own interest in nuance was engaged, you may have seen this little tidbit off to the side:

In the N.Y. Times journey to become more internet savvy they’ve begun to add little morsels in their sidebars to keep the reader interested.

I love this interview with Seinfeld that they posted on how he writes a joke:

He even gets down to the nitty-gritty of what kind of pens he uses and his long-hand style of writing!

It starts out in typical Jerry Seinfeld style: “I know you think people are going to be interested in this: but they’re not:”

How to write comedy - Jerry Seinfeld style