A lot of people ask me “how in the world do you continue to create killer comedy material on a consistent basis without running out of ideas?”
It’s simple, once you know what to do…
Most people have a natural sense of humor. Notice I said “most.” Not everyone.
Those who do are often being told “that is so funny.” However, the thing they just said was not intended as a joke. It was just their honest opinion.
In fact, if you check out the following interview of Bret McKenzie on Conan O’Brien, you’ll notice that people keep laughing at his serious comments:
If you look at the history of some of comedy’s greats (Eddie Murphy, etc.), they ran off the stage the first time they walked up to an open mic.
Even if it wasn’t that dramatic, most comics were still horrified the first time they went onstage? Why?
Possibly all their life people had been telling them how funny they were. They’d experienced getting a room full of people laughing; however, they enter the comedy scene and can’t get one laugh. The problem?
They’re “trying” to be funny, instead of letting their “natural” sense of humor work for them.
In a nutshell, the way to get your God-given sense of humor to work for you is to write what you’re passionate about down on paper. (I.e. What seems interesting / puzzling / intriguing / drives you nuts / etc.)
Then, read back over it. After each line, write whatever opinion/thought comes to mind about that particular sentence. These are your punchlines.
As an aside, it helps to speak your lines out loud. You’ll find that you use a different set of verbage for “spoken” word versus “written.”
I know this works because I would struggle for years to come up with enough funny lines for the comedy stage. I would work four to five hours a day on creating new material, and would only produce a maximum of twenty minutes per year! (Apparently, this is a normal yield for comedians…)
Now, I can come up with 10 minutes a week if needed. This is how some comedians, like the now controversial Bill Cosby, can put deliver three hours of brand new comedy in his shows – even if you saw him a couple years before.
If you’re writing a speech, interject your own natural gut reactions to some of the things you’re saying. You’ll be surprised at how the audience might burst into uncontrollable laughter by just listening to your “honest” opinion about things.
Remember: If you “try” to be funny, you might not be funny at all. People will sense it as being “contrived.” Focus more on “expressing” yourself than being funny.
Of course, you won’t know for sure until you try it out on a live audience (or an unsuspecting friend).
There’s more to it, but just this advice alone can take your trying-to-be-funny-but-isn’t at-all speech and turn it into a comedy gem.
I wish you the best in your motivational speaking endeavors, and if you’re ever at a comedy show of mine, you’ll have a better understanding of “how” I’m doing what I’m doing.
To your success!
P.S. If you want more in-depth info on this subject, I do not offer personal coaching; however, I HIGHLY recommend Steve Roye’s online course Killer Stand Up. I’ve tried several and read SEVERAL comedy writing books. His is the best!