How do you get started writing jokes?

class getting ready for showcase

How do you get started writing jokes?

comedy schoolThe number one thing is to WRITE. I suggest you get a comedy writing book, so you can write all your creative, quirky ideas down as they come to you. I am a fan of the pen/paper writing method and there is brain research that shows this method makes you more creative) that will be a later blog.But you may choose to use a phone app to post your comedy ideas. Try both.

Just WRITE sounds simple but it starts to stall when you put the pen on the paper or your fingers on the keyboard. You will start to judge everything you are writing. All the great comedy ideas that you had become shity comedy ideas, that you don’t think are funny when you write them down.

I always ask my students to make a pledge “I promise not to throw out anything I write”. I do this because if I don’t, all they show up on week 2 and they have an empty book because they thought all their writing is crappy and not funny. Or sometimes they have a bunch of ideas they wrote half an hour before the class started.

We all are really good at self-editing ourselves….”no one will think that is funny, my writing sucks, this is not good enough…..and on and on we go. Comedy writing is best done with an “I’m going to just write this and see what everyone thinks” attitude. I am a firm believer that if you write it, and you think it is funny there is a good chance; you will be able to make it work on the stage. You just have to learn the tools to make it work for a comedy audience.

To kick start your writing, write a list of subjects that you have strong attitudes towards….things that frustrate you, drive you crazy, or that you are confused by…..


In Judy Carter’s Book, the Comedy Bible there is a great exercise to get your writing started once you have your subjects. Add a strong attitude to the subject…. words like weird, scary, hard, and stupid, are good words to start with. Strong attitude words to get your audience listening.

If you open a joke saying, I’m not sure about smart cars they are ok….the audience is already bored, because you don’t have a strong attitude towards the subject…but if you say I hate smart cars,,,,,,ohhhh now they are listening, they may not agree with you, but they are willing to listen to you to see where you are going to go with this subject.

I love my body piercings because……  subject= body piercings  attitude=love them  You have just wrote your first set up or premise of a joke.

Do it now… make a list of 10 subjects you would like to write comedy about. What is your attitude towards these subjects? Write the subject and the idea together as a set up to your joke. Keep writing…

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