Stay funny during the holidays

Holidays Can be Stressful or They Can be Comedy Gold, Your Choice!

I love the holidays, but every year we hear stories about how stressful the holidays can be.

Suicide rates go up, family arguments occur, anxiety and depression increases, crime increases and so do heart attacks. 

That's not fake news, those are facts and I know it sounds drastic, but as a comedian I say, "Comedy Gold, right?!"

One way to be sure you're keeping your sense of humor is to remember to keep

trying to write jokes but getting stuck

Trying to Write Jokes, but Feeling Stuck?

So you're writing and you get a premise down on the page and then... it just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Does this happen to you?

I was Skype-coaching with one of my students today and he said, I've been trying to write, but I keep feeling like I'm getting stuck."

It can be super frustrating, especially when you’re just writing to put something, ANYTHING, on the page.

So how do you take that idea and make it into something?

Here's a sure-fire way to develop that idea further to get to the jokes.

When Jokes Hurt Personal Relationships

What to do When Jokes Hurt Personal Relationships?

I have a student who talks about her husband having a hard time getting aroused in the bedroom. "Unless he’s watching porn, he can’t get it up." It really bothers her. She wanted a joke to respond to him.

Now as part of her act, after setting it up, she says...

"One time, me and my husband were at Disneyland at one of those ice cream kiosks... The guy said, “Would you like some soft serve.” I said, “No thanks. (points to her husband) I brought my own.”

She debated whether or not to keep the joke, because she was afraid that it would hurt his feelings. That’s an honest dilemma. It is a very personal thing and she's still in a relationship with this man.

So what do you do when your joke hurts personal relationships...

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...

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!

right way wrong way to do comedy

How is Writing Comedy the Fastest Way to Complete and Utter Failure?

I was listening to some comedy the other day and I came across this video (podcast interview on YouTube). There was a guy in the interview who was talking about comedy.

This guy was from Kentucky and he had a bit of that Southern accent that made me think, "Damn! I didn't know they had the internet in the hollar.

He said, "Writing comedy is the fastest way to complete failure." As you might imagine, that got my attention!