JUST ABOUT ANY TOPIC is open for a comedian, but there is one thing you must not do – and that’s steal another comedian’s material. Even if you do steal a joke, it’s unlikely that other comedians will tell you that they know. Instead, they will avoid working with you, or talk behind your back. Don’t kill your career by being lazy.
Your first five-minutes of stand-up comedy material should be tight. Think a laugh every 8 to 15 seconds, and to get that many laughs so quickly means you need to continuously write. Jim Jefferies says, “Keep writing material. Write as much material as possible. It’s not about being the funniest guy on stage. It’s about being really funny consistently.”
So how do you generate so much material?
In the School of Hard Knock Knocks stand-up comedy course, you will learn a number of techniques, including:
- Random Word
- Omit a Given
Have you backpacked around Australia, Europe or the entire world? Have you had triplets, or been brought up with seven other siblings? All of these experiences make for good comedy, no matter how mundane.
We spend around 40 days of the week at work, so use this as a source for inspiration. Is there an odd colleague, strange manager, or Gollum-like creature in accounting? Alternatively, you could talk about some soul-destroying jobs you’ve had in the past.
Now we’re getting creative! The Random Word technique allows us to be truly creative, by reducing the cliche and expected. It’s very had for us to create completely new ideas. This is because our brain is hard-wired to think a certain way, based on habit, memories and language. However, we can create new neural pathways by inserting a random word into a problem. Still don’t understand? Don’t worry you will after the course!
Omitting a Given
Greek philosopher Heraclitius once said, “When there is no sun, we can see the evening stars.” This philosophy can be applied to comedy writing. For example, what do all restaurants have. You might have said “tables”. Now imagine a restaurant without tables. How would a waiter wait ‘tables’? Where would the bill go? What do all politicians have? You might have said “limousines.” Now how would they get around if they didn’t? All these are good answers in creative some random creative thinking that could become the basis of a joke.
During the stand-up comedy course, you will become familiar with these methods of generating comedic ideas, as well as others.