Don’t Suck! The 9-minute Comedy Mastermind Session

This could be the most important 9-minute comedy lesson of your life.

In the next 9 minutes you're going to learn a lot! I mean a ton! I'm calling this article my 9-minute Comedy Mastermind Session.

When it comes to comedy writing and theory, my argument always focuses on structure.

"Structure is king!" I'll usually say.

Getting to the point and getting the laugh with a strong point of view while saying something that actually means something is crucial but structure is where the laugh occurs, not just...

bullying in school

Got Haters? Stay True, Practice and Turn it Into Opportunity

I have a student who emailed me recently about people hating on him.

He's a little awkward on stage. He's working on it, but he comes across as the guy next door or maybe the 'creepy' guy next door.

He's got a lot of the locals including the local club owner who constantly berate him. They put him down, they tease, they pick.

He said, "Jerry, you've got to help me. I just have these guys totally hating on me all the time. What do I do?"

byron-valino-flappers

Performing the Same Jokes Doesn’t Make it Boring

When you're starting out, I cannot emphasize the importance of building that core act. You should do it constantly, revise, refine and polish. Add act-outs, tags and toppers. Until it crushes. Worrying about your friends hearing the same jokes is counter-productive to you really developing and polishing your act. Not to mention that it can have a cascading negative impact on your development.
misconceptions on comedy writing

Another Common Misconception About Writing Your Comedy

In the vast horizon of possibilities of where comedy can come from, why would anyone who's taken any time to study this art make such a definitive and limiting statement about comedy?

Not only that, just look around! Jerry Seinfeld, "What is it with bugs?!" or "I don't know if horses really know they're racing. I think horses are sitting at the starting gate going, 'I know there's a bag of oats at the end of this and I wanna get there first.'"

Does that sound like it comes from the depths of Seinfeld's soul?

Or take Anthony Jeselnik: "The best way to break up with a girl is like I take off a band-aid, slowly and in the shower."

Depths of his soul? Or just a incongruous association joke about breaking up with a girl?

Of course there are pieces the "depths of the soul" comment that make sense. It's cathartic to talk about things that are deep and you have an emotional connection to. But how limiting is that statement?

It's missing something, like, where the laugh comes from!

bridge-new-york

Develop a Strategy to Avoid Killing the Momentum in Your Career

When I started in show business, I was an actor. I had the fortunate experience of watching my Dad go through his career as an actor. There were ups and downs. Sometimes the downs were really down.

I said, "That's not gonna happen to me." Now it's one thing to say that in a matter of wishful thinking and it's another to take action. So right after I said, "That's not gonna happen to me," I said, "How can I make sure that doesn't happen to me?"

late night tv hosts

Opportunity for Writing in Late Night TV Continues to Grow

The opportunity for writing in Late Night T.V. continues to explode. We've never had more movement in that industry. There are more shows. And more shows need more content.

Who's going to provide that content?

Comedians and writers like you!

watch for big head

Stop Overthinking the Joke. Sometimes It’s Just ‘Funny’

Sometimes I'll write a joke and think to myself, 'that's too simple... that's not going to get a big laugh,' only to try the joke on stage and get an applause break. I wrote a joke the other day and opened with it that night at the Comedy Store: "The republicans are consulting with Caitlyn Jenner on how to best deal with Donald Trump...
nat-margolis-comedian

The Best Way to Write a Comedy Act if You’re an Absolute Newbie

There are three primary techniques I use when creating a comedy routine. The first way is to always write down things that are funny. Usually when I'm with a group of friends and something occurs that makes me and them laugh, I will write it down to possibly use later.

The other technique is to sit down and write jokes. I prefer this technique because I don't have to wait for the coincidence of the moment with friends or a funny situation to just happen to 'occur' to me. I can just sit down and generate material.

I do this by utilizing about 23 different approaches, but for the sake of this blog post, I will just write about two approaches. Here they are...