Tag Archives: stand-up

Stand Up, Sit Down

Fight, fight, fight?

Okay, it’s not a fight. But doing stand-up requires writing, of course, and just like other writing, the writing requires revision. I even have a few jokes about writing. They’re not great, but I did write them myself.

You may not know this, but query is an old Sanskrit term that means, roughly, “Throw it down a deep well.”

Okay, not that funny. That’s because I used it once, in my first stand-up class, and never used it again. It’s never been revised. But anything I do on stage certainly has. For instance, here’s a revision sequence for a joke I’m probably going to include with my next performance.

1. My cousin got a ticket the other day. Used his turn signal.

Not a bad idea, but is it funny enough? Who the hell knows? But could it be funnier? Well, almost anything could.

2. Traffic in Vegas is sort of weird. My cousin got a ticket last week for not using his turn signal. He caused a six-car pile-up.

More detail, probably be funnier when delivered. Is it funny enough, though? (See above.)

3. Traffic in Vegas is so weird, a friend of mine got a ticket for not using his turn signal. They’re sending him to traffic school to learn to be an asshole like the rest of us!

#3 is the funniest of those, and the most revised. I prefer it because it flows more smoothly, it includes more people in the punchline, and it’s a lot more unexpected at the end. That’s one joke that takes maybe fifteen seconds to deliver, and you can see what a bit of revision has done for it. I did a lot of that revision aloud, and I’m not saying that it will remain as you see it here, just that it got better at each revision. And now, I come to my point about writing and revision, to wit:

When I revise out loud, I stand up. Then when I type it into my file of material, I sit down. (See how I cleverly worked in the title of this post here?) Revising out loud helps me see where things hit snags, where I can make something stronger, and which parts maybe I should just toss and forget. (What? Forgettable jokes? Say it ain’t so!) And this technique works not just for comedy, gentle readers, but for any writing.

Right now I’m metaphorically bleeding as I slowly revise a YA romance I drafted during the last Nanowrimo. The revision will take a lot longer than the first draft, I can tell you. Sometimes I find that reciting a passage aloud provides a lot of insight into what’s right and wrong about it, which makes the process a lot easier. How about that? A perfectly serious book can be helped by a technique from stand-up comedy? Who knew?

You may not know this, but “First Draft” is an old Farsi phrase meaning “Five-Hundred Hours on Facebook!”

That last one is true, of course. 😉

 

Jokes? I Got a Million of ‘Em!

Well, not really a million, but a lot.

That is, if “a lot” means what I’m posting below.

I’m taking a class in stand-up comedy, which is more difficult than you’d imagine. As a part of that class, I have to write jokes (will wonders never cease, huh?) So, what follows is a list of the original (to me — so far as I know I made them up) jokes I’ve come up with so far. Laugh your asses off! I dare you!

 

 

I got a letter in the mail addressed to my neighbor today and stole a $100 check out of it.

He was okay with that because he said he was really enjoying my tax refund.

 

My cousin got a ticket the other day. Used his turn signal.

 

Isn’t it great to finally finish up at the DMV? After three hours stuck there you’re cleared to go out and drive ten miles per hour stuck behind a semi.

 

The way some people carry on, you’d think a cold in the head was the worst thing that could ever happen to them.

But it’s snot.

 

We keep a basset hound that’s so enthusiastic that she’ll jump right up on you. It’s bad manners, but you can’t really blame her, because her mother was a real bitch.

 

They keep changing the food pyramid, and I can never remember everything that’s in it.

Outside of grease, salt, and sugar I mean.

 

There are worse things than getting old.

Trouble is that I’m too old to remember what they are.

 

Went to Fry’s today to pick up one of those knockoff phones made in China, and discovered you can actually eat lunch there.

‘Course, I was hungry again an hour later.

 

There’s a new restaurant in town that serves food exactly like my mother used to make.

The health department is shutting them down tomorrow.

 

You know that feeling you get when all the lights turn green and you just fly across town?

Yeah, me neither.

 

And, here are the ones I wrote just today:

 

 

If comedy doesn’t work out I know I can be a photographer’s model. Everybody loved me at my session the other day.

Well, at least the photographer complimented my posing.

Okay, the guy taking the mug shots thanked me for my cooperation.

 

I like to run. I’ve completed four marathons. Last one was just yesterday morning.

Okay, it was closer to a half marathon.

Actually, it was just to the bathroom, and I barely made it.

 

Don’t you love living in Las Vegas? You get to hang out with all the stars!

Or at least you can run into them at the grocery store.

Okay, it’s easy to steal the souvenir napkins!

 

There are a lot of stories of bravery in Las Vegas. People rescuing people from burning buildings; overcoming personal tragedy; crossing Boulder Highway on foot.

 

I also write funny songs. I’ve got one about to hit the top ten.

It will as soon as I release it.

Right after I finish writing it.

 

In school I was always that kid who got As on everything.

Well, sure, I got a few lower grades.

Like when I flunked algebra, but outside of those . . .