How to write comedy using analogy and incongruitySo you sit down to write comedy and what happens? Nothing! Now what?

I teach a lot of techniques so that people can learn how to write comedy. Most of what I focus on is writing comedy for a stand up act.

However, the same techniques are used in blog writing, script writing or any other writing, because the fundamentals of comedy and the goals, (getting people to laugh), remain the same.

The difference is the style. Stand up is more conversational. It’s about persona and empathy. In other words, as a stand up comedian, the audience has to like you. They want to root for you, while you share your struggles and life situations and observations. Also, as a stand up we have to connect with you and one of the best ways to do that is to share with your audience, you emotional point of view. If we don’t know how you feel, then it’s harder to connect.

Therefore, one of the best things you can do as a stand up is to focus on stuff you give a damn about. George Carlin once told me, “Take the shit that drives you absolutely crazy and make it funny:” That’s great advice, because if you, as the stand up comedian don’t give a damn about the material, the audience won’t either.

Here’s the key: Start with something you care about, that gets your blood up. Not something that is funny. The funny comes after you’re talking about what you care about–get it? DON’T SIT DOWN TO WRITE SOMETHING FUNNY!

But enough on that, let’s get to how to come up with the jokes. One of the techniques I use I call “1-2-3 Jokes“. It’s based on the most common comedy formula used in comedy today; incongruity. It’s putting a square peg into a round hole.

Whenever I use 1-2-3 Jokes, I can come up with subject matter to start writing about. I was talking today to a friend about relationships and break ups. Whenever I talk about a topic that is primal, (and relationships certainly is), I come up with analogies. My friend Rob Rose, was talking about break-ups that tend to go on forever and I said,

“…breaking up with crazy chicks is a lot like buying a smartphone on credit…you’re still paying for it long after it’s functionality is obsolete. You’re still stuck with 3g technology, but you want to move up to 4g. And why not? It’s faster! It comes with a touch scream.

…and if I sat down and made lists of everything ‘smartphone’ and everything ‘relationships’ or ‘breakups,’ there’s probably another 10-20 jokes sitting there…

Analogies are almost instant jokes. Why? Because, by their nature they are incongruous. Incongruity causes surprise, and surprise is the number one element that triggers human laughter, which is our goal when we’re learning how to write comedy, So next time you’re looking for something funny, just use an analogy.

    10 replies to "How to Write Comedy | Using Analogy to Write Jokes"

    • […] not as hard as you think to write clean. REALLY. Browse through some of my posts, read my blog on using analogy to write jokes and look at my video on writing 15 jokes in 30 minutes, you’ll begin to see how easy it becomes […]

    • Jay Firmino

      That’s right!

    • Mathieu Boumal

      It’s not the most original kind of joke though.

    • Jerry Corley

      Interesting point, but I did end the post with “when you’re learning how to write comedy…” Suppose, then you enlighten me with the “most original kind” of joke. Because whether you’re talking about Chappelle, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Carlin or most any other successful comedian, they’ve used incongruity as a technique to write comedy.

      It is by far, the most popular technique used in comedy writing.

    • […] demands a humorous script. Yes a good writing material is essential. Now the problem arises as, how to write comedy? The above tip applies here as well, be observant and social. Look for the basic instances and […]

    • Wellington Juku

      Great insight ! Thanks for the advice.

    • Ezra Apriyani

      Thanks for the advice

    • Karume Asangama

      I must say wow!!! This is the best technique ever. Thank you Jerry.

    • Joseph Bennett

      Love it! This post is a lot like a nap – pretty darn useful when I remember to do it!

    • liked

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