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.