My stand-up class went really well last night. I got some big laughs with three new jokes. One of them takes several beats for the audience to catch up to the punchline. And, being new at this joke thing, I stepped on my laughs by starting another joke. I was three words into the next set up when the class busted into laughter, having just got the previous joke. It’s all in the timing, but it’s easy to forget when you’re new to the spotlight.

I wrote a lot this week. Many bedside notes typed into the iPhone. Many scribbles on paper scraps. Many green traffic lights missed while recording thoughts. I wrote, wrote, wrote and then I edited, edited, edited. It’s so easy to get up there and ramble on, adding superfluous information that quickly distances the setup from the punchline. The greater the distance, the weaker the impact. Get up there and tell the story in the fewest words possible. I wrote one joke 38 different ways until I got it down to the absolute fewest words possible. It drew the biggest laugh of the three last night.

I’m feeling much better about my act. I still have to write about a page and a half of jokes to make the four minutes. The class is lucky because our time limit is a suggestion. We’re allowed to go over. There will be no flashing red light to cue us off the stage. Jeff said that several students’ acts have gone on for twenty minutes or more because of the laughter. I’ll be happy with four solid minutes. I just need to remember not to step on the laughs.


5 responses to “Time

  1. Sounds like you’ve got more of a handle on it than heaps of people who’ve been doing it for ages! Rewriting is certainly the key – speaking to myself here more than anything.

    Great stuff – can’t wait to see you in action someday!!

  2. PS You should check out Jane Espenson’s blog (it’s on my links) – she has a wicked link a couple of posts down about the Simpsons, it’s long but definitely worth the read. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. I just read the article. It’s definitely worth the read.

  4. I have so much admiration for (and a wee bit of envy) anyone who attempts stand-up, let alone someone who actually gets laughs.

    I tried about 30 years ago when I was fearless (or so I thought) and I really sucked. I’m very funny off the cuff, it just comes out. I had a ball and was quite good with improv.

    But stand-up is so freakin’ hard – the timing – I already can talk like a NYer on crack – imagine if I had to time myself!!

    I have so much respect for your stamina and courage.

    Keep on keeping on

  5. Thanks Dianne, I’m working way outside my comfort zone with this. It’s tough, but it’s been rewarding. Although, I’m taking the easy way with the class. If I had challenged myself to do this alone, I would still be saying, I’ll do it next year.

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