Key Tips to Writing a Joke - How to become a Stand Up Comedian
Writing a joke can seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn't have to be! With the right tools and tips, you can learn how to write your own jokes and start delivering them with confidence. Stand up comedians make their money off writing great punchlines - so if there's anything they know best, it's how to craft the perfect joke. Below are some tips on crafting the perfect punchline for any situation:
1. It all starts with the premise
Start by developing your premise - this is the core idea that all jokes will build off of. Make sure it's something relatable and amusing that people will find funny. Try and steer clear of edgy topics when you start out as this can make audience members uneasy and therefore less likely to laugh even if the punchline isn’t offensive.
2. Select your comedy weapon!
Think about what kind of joke you want to tell: there are loads of different types of jokes. Are you aiming for a pun? A visual gag? Or a one-liner? Each type has its own rules and structure, so make sure you're familiar with them before writing your joke.
The easiest way to make someone laugh is by saying something unexpected, the “Pull Back and Reveal” is a common and really effective joke type, where you lead the audience one way and then go in a completely different direction.
3. Nail the Punch!
Find the right words for your punchline. The punchline is the climax of the joke - it should be the very final word in your joke and it should be short, sharp and well set up to have maximum impact. Make sure the rhythm is natural and that the audience are focussing on the meaning of what you said rather than how you said it by using simple language.
Stand-up comedians often run through their jokes on stage until they find just the right combination of words and timing that will get the biggest laughs from their audience. This is also important when writing jokes; practice until you can perfect your delivery for optimal results.
These tips are essential for crafting an effective punchline, but don't forget to also consider your audience. Different audiences respond to different types of jokes, so make sure you take the time to think about who you are writing for and how they might react. With a bit of practice and preparation, you'll be ready to write your own great jokes and deliver them with confidence!
If you are struggling, it is also worth looking at the jokes of your favourite comedians, analysing what makes them funny and seeing if you can apply those rules to what you’re doing. Here is a video of the legendary Jerry Seinfeld talking through how he writes jokes -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itWxXyCfW5s&ab_channel=TheNewYorkTimes
This is also well worth a listen to. Here is an absolute masterclass from One Liner Wizard Gary Delaney on the Comedian’s Comedian Podcast https://www.comedianscomedian.com/67-gary-delaney-live/
If you missed the first part of this blog series, check it out here
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