Jerry Seinfeld on Writing a Joke

Jokewriting2

Jerry Seinfeld is considered a god of comedy and rightfully so. He’s known for his well balanced and excellently orchestrated jokes. Most of all, which is one of his more admirable feats if you ask me, his wit. Jerry Seinfeld knew what would make himself laugh and how to deliver that to someone else who may have either shared his experience or has an understanding of what he means. Either way, he told his own jokes. He did everything the way he wanted to and followed his own system.

At the end of the day, if you aren’t making something that you would enjoy, why even bother doing it? That concept really sticks with me and it applies to comedy as well. My jokes center around things that I have experienced and found to be absolutely stomach turning because of the punch line. They were ironic and I found that hilarious.

Moments that were a good slap in the face where I couldn’t help but find myself chuckling, asking “Really!? Of all things, really?” Because that is just how life works. When I relay my jokes and stories to the audience, I’m putting out there material that I would find humorous if told to me. If I enjoy it and think it’s funny, that will definitely show when I talk about it to the audience. I am talking about what has meaning to me. One of the most important things Jerry Seinfeld stresses about comedy is to begin with something hilarious right off the bat. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just needs to be something that will hook in your audience and catch their attention.

Something funny will introduce them to the joke and kind of make them perk up their ears in curiosity. This happened, you say? Tell me more. It kind of works like that. Almost as if you were telling and story and trying to capture their interest with the first page. Your starting line of the joke is the page one of your
book. Make sure you choose wisely. It’s all about the wording in the joke. Such as key words or phrases that are going to stand out and resonate with the listener. As the comedian is talking about the story and trying to emphasize the emotional aspects of the situation, key words will be stressed to dig for an even bigger funny.

Use specific words that the audience is more likely to find funny in the first place. As for the design of it, make sure it sounds like a story. People naturally gravitate towards storytelling and it will gain their interest. They will be absorbed in it and want to know more. You have their attention. But make sure not to drag it out too much. If the story is much too lengthy, it’ll feel like the joke is being dragged out. Lastly, end that joke with a bang! The conclusion has to end with the biggest laugh that way it really sticks with the audience.

Stand Up Comedy in the YouTube Era

StandUpComedyYoutubeERA

This day and age is all about technology. No matter what, we are glued to our phones, tablets, laptops, you name it. We’re attached at the hip to something technological and are always involved with the network.

People are always talking to someone far away from them through a screen or watching other people’s lives. I’m not criticizing! I’m no exception to this, I am completely absorbed in my phone the majority of the time. But this is the kind of world we live in.

We’re not doing things the way our parents used to them or their parents before them. We communicate differently, navigate around differently, and view things in a different way. If you want to get anyone to notice anything you do, you’ll need to be Internet savvy and involved in multiple social networks. It’s the same way for filmmakers, music lovers, artists, and even comedians.

You can still rely on word of mouth and communicating without people in person, those techniques will work. But if you want to really draw some attention to yourself, you’ll need the glories of the Internet on your side. Many comedians I’ve met and heard of got their start on YouTube. You wouldn’t expect comedy to have such a strong connection to YouTube, but I swear, it’s a godsend and it works. Many started by posting videos of their routine and the occasional video blog to show people what their everyday life was like.

But the part of that caught the most attention was the clips of their comedy act. I noticed a similarity in them all, they were roughly three minutes in length. Three minutes is considered just long enough to deliver a couple jokes to get the viewers interested and satisfied with what they are viewing. Just a joke or two is thrown in there but never more. If they just posted the entire video of the comedy act, the viewers won’t be eager for more.

If it’s rather small in length, it’ll really pester the viewers. They’ll love the joke but only so much material is offered to them in that teeny, tiny video. Naturally, they’ll want more. The viewer will be eager to find another joke and get more familiar with the comedian’s material. If this comedian has this video posted, surely there are more! And so the process begins. They start scanning the Internet for more comedic material from this person. Exactly as if you just discovered a band and wanted to find every bit of music they’ve ever created and now.

It won’t just be YouTube that they will be scanning. Facebook, Tumblr, you name it. Google will be their best friend through this process. The more videos you have posted on your YouTube account, the better. The views will stack up as will the subscribers as do the Facebook likes, Tumblr followings, etc. Suddenly, this comedian has established a community of followers. He/she has solidified that cluster of interest. Their comedy has gained more interest

The Thrill of Stand up Comedy

do-stand-up-comedy-800X8001

I don’t know which part is more invigorating for me but I can tell you deep down that I love this trade. Laughter is considered the best medicine out there and there’s nothing I love more than delivering that cure to the audience. I believe Comedy can fix just about anything weighing down on your shoulders so why not get a higher dose of it?

There’s no such thing as an overdose of laughter and joy, so why not chase after it a bit more? Comedy is all about the presence and impression you make.

When I step out onto that stage, I have to be ready. I have to be prepared to make an impression on these people. Whatever I am going to be saying, whether it’s a story or a one-liner, it has to stick. There needs to be something about it that the listener can attach to, look over at the person next to them, and laugh maniacally (well, maybe not that much!) because I get it.

They get it.

It’s something they understand and went through. Airplane food, what’s up with that? Everyone dislikes the airplane food, it’s notorious for being unpleasant. Anyone who has taken a flight anywhere would understand. Because I bring up something they know and can relate to, it’s a laugh. Pitch the joke. Let it sink it. Everyone relates. Everybody laughs. Everyone feels better. Now we’re cookin’!

That’s what is so thrilling about the comedic experience for me, I can make everyone feel better. The laughs keep coming, the jokes keep flowing, and the laughter just increases left and right. We’re all friends, we’re experiencing something great together. Suddenly, I’ve created a memory with these people. They’ll go back and reflect upon this awesome time I gave them and fantastic things I made them feel. And it’s just magic.

Seeing those smiling faces, tears streaming, and stomach’s being held tight is nothing less than rewarding and amazing. I feel full of a life and energy that no other experience could match. I am the supplier of wonderful feelings. I am the doctor feel good. That is my favorite part of the experience as a whole.

But it doesn’t end there, oh no, no. When the audience starts to communicate with me it just becomes an even bigger event. The interaction between comedian and audience is absolutely crucial, in my eyes, and I try my best to optimize that feature of the gig. I say something they find hilarious and suddenly they are talking back to me. Shouting out questions or just trying to joke back at me, you name it.

That conversation and interaction is made by my comedic routine. By interacting with the audience, I have room for improvisation and can make a more personal connection with them. The wall between performer and viewer is broken and suddenly we’re all just people again. And here I am, standing tall with my microphone and sense of humor, trying to make these people smile and forget about their troubles. It’s great.