45 Laughs in 5 Minutes - Deconstructing Jim Gaffigan's Tight Five
45 Laughs in 5 Minutes - Deconstructing Jim Gaffigan's Tight Five

Putting Together Your Tight Five Can be Overwhelming

Sometimes when you’re learning you just can’t “see” how that first comedy set will come together.

I received a request from a student recently asking if I had a pdf template for putting together a solid tight five. He hadn’t done his first set yet and needed support.

Your brain might be so overloaded with questions that it seems to paralyze you. I can’t even tell you how many comedians were stuck on questions like:

  • How do I start?
  • How many jokes should I have?
  • How many laughs should I be getting per minute?
  • How do I even know it’s good?

Knowing that this type of confusion is common, I decided, instead of a PDF, I would find a comedian who could not only create a solid set, but someone who knows how to really craft a joke for maximum impact.

The first comedian I looked up was Jim Gaffigan.

The video (you can watch below) was from an original 22-23 minute Comedy Central special, that aired in 2000, and it was one of Gaffigan’s first TV appearances. In this 22-23 minute set you can tell that the first 5-6 minutes was Gaffigan’s “Tight Five.”

So I edited the video down to that 5-6 minutes, then added commentary after each laugh.

In the video, I break down the structures he uses to get laughs. Gaffigan get 45 laugh in this 5 minute set, so there’s a lot of breakdown of the material.

This video has gotten a lot of praise for the short time it has been up on YouTube. I think it’s because I help the viewer understand exactly the techniques Gaffigan is using to write his jokes.

Take a look at the video below and see how it’s done. Gaffigan’s favorite structure is Compare & Contrast. When you’re watching, take a moment to write some of your own jokes in that style.

Watch the Video Below

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Jerry Corley
Jerry Corley

Jerry Corley is a professional comedian of nearly 30 years, working nearly every venue imaginable.

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