There are no bad premises in comedy, only premises we don't feel connected to. But there's always a way to take a premise and give it some context so that it comes alive and can create excitement.
I believe that if you think an idea is funny, but it's not getting laughs, then most likely it's funny, but it's just missing an element that is needed to trigger the laugh.
In my classes, part of what we study is WHY people laugh. What triggers that?
When you understand that at its most intrinsic level you can begin to make changes to a joke to take it from a semi-chuckle (because it's a funny idea) to a triggered laugh because it a funny joke.
Here's an example:
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
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.
There are a ton of ways an emcee can ruin the introduction for a comedian. They can bomb a joke then immediately bring you up. They can create an incident with someone in the audience and bring you up on a sour note. They can screw up your name or screw up your intro.
They can do a backwards intro. A backwards intro is where they mention your name first and the audience doesn't feel the impulse to applaud...
A comedian walks into a bar and sees a poster with a saying that is similar to a joke he's been doing. It's not the same joke, but it almost has the exact set up line. He panics. A thousand questions run through his mind: "What do I do?" "Did the guy who did that poster see my act and use a version the joke?" "Did I see that poster some time in the past and it stuck in my head?" "Should I stop doing my joke?"
Save This Article! Share it with Others! Take a look at Emily Zemler's article in Esquire on Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer and others on how
From the time we are toddlers, we learn by watching and imitating. That's how we learn to walk, to talk, to express ourselves. Imitation is the 'stem-cell' of our learning ability. So