Monologues

Monologues are probably the toughest comedy bits to write because they are so restrictive. They have a very distinct set-up/punchline format that generally only work when the jokes are amazing. Monologues are rarely improvised and if they bomb, they bomb hard. This probably makes them the most hit or miss form of comedy of all.

So, when I see that just about every late night talk show has a monologue, it puzzles me. Why do they keep running these so-so segments. They don’t generally produce many laughs, even when the host is good, i.e. Conan O’Brien. Stephen Colbert used to have a great monologue but that was because he played a ridiculous character, instead of his real self. SNL’s Weekend Update is not that great, but it can be (i.e. the effectively blunt Seth Meyers, and the dry, awkward Norm MacDonald were quite hilarious as Weekend Update anchors).

My theory is that they keep monologues because they are the best bits to use in order for a host to make a point or share a stance. With Trump in the White House, monologues are used by hosts to criticize 45, with a mixed level of effectiveness.

Monologues work best when the writer focuses on structuring a story around a great punchline, or a hilariously bizarre story. Monologue jokes about dumb thieves tend to be funnier than diatribes against politicians.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write political jokes. Just make sure humour is your main priority.

Advertisements

Producing comedy

I’ve written several blog posts on the subject of comedy, but never on how to come up with ideas.

So, here goes…

1. Always write shit down.

If you have a good idea, write it down. Even if it’s rough around the edges, or you don’t know where it’s going. Hell it doesn’t even have to be that good.

A merely semi-adequate idea can bring forth better ideas. Sort of like how mediocre parents can have amazing children.

2. Look, Look, Look

Always be on the hunt for funny material. Listen in on people’s conversations, watch Netflix comedy specials, check Wikipedia for different comedians, films, and shows to watch, and read everything. Even shit that isn’t supposed to be funny.

Go to an alarmist political website even. Salon, Jezebel, Huffington Post, Breitbart, and InfoWars are all great places for a laugh. The more extreme the better. These outlets give comedians great sources of material for writing satire as the extreme editorial biases of these publications often lead to their journalists making ridiculous claims or sharing moronic opinions. Hell, even mainstream sources such as the Washington Post do this (Their “Democracy Dies in Darkness” tagline is laughably pretentious. No, WaPo, you’re not some sort of beacon of truth in Orwellian times. You’re just another anti-Trump paper. Guess what? Ninety per cent of modern journalism shits on 45. You ain’t special, bitch!).

3. Get some sleep, shithead.

It’s hard to be funny without energy. Staying stimulated is necessary in order to produce material. A mind that can’t stay awake is useless. You’ll need brain power to come up with clever jokes and scenarios. Fatigue will make it ten times as hard to come up with a good joke than if you are alert. And once you’re no longer tired, you’ll realize that what you wrote on 2 hours of sleep is utterly unfunny, incomprehensible garbage.

4. Be happy.

I know. I’m giving you some incredibly wuss-ass advice but this is important. While it’s possible to think of comedy gold in a fit of seething rage, it’s hard for one to focus on being funny when he or she is not in the mood for jokes. So, even if your funniest delivering jokes with an angry or depressing persona, its much easier to create these ideas when you feel good.

Anyway, I hope this advice is helpful to all you readers out there. If it’s not, well…

Tough shit. My advice is free. Stop bitching. But if you do have some additional advice on how to be funny, let me know.

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello again

To all three people who have ever read my stuff— welcome back. It’s been a while.

So, I am going to write about comedy weekly (or at least try to) like I did before the start of summer. What I want to do differently this time around is search for new comedians, films, and other humorous subjects that I did not discuss during my first incarnation of comedic bloggery, and write about them. If you have any suggestions as to what or who I should cover, please let me know. I can’t just talk about how Norm Macdonald is the funniest man on this planet, regardless of how true this statement is.

So, people of the interwebs, fire me some suggestions. If they suck, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Cheers

 

 

 

Last post…maybe

Well, the school year is done, so my requirement to post on this subject is over.

It’s been semi-interesting to say the least and somewhat exciting to say the most.

I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. My reluctance to write on a weekly basis is only trumped by my love of comedy. So, it really wasn’t too bad.

It enjoyed writing this blog but it’s not my best work. It’s not my worst either.

So, anyway, here are my recommendations for comedy from all sorts of media. If you’re not watching or reading any of these. do it. If you’ve seen these programs but don’t enjoy, you have my sincere pity.

TV

The Simpsons (because you have to—it was the best show on Earth for at least seasons 3-9)

South Park (because you have the balls to watch little kids tear the beloved beliefs you hold to shreds)

Seinfeld (because it’s fun to watch people bitch about nothing)

Mr. Show with Bob and David– (because it’s the funniest and most random sketch show you’ve never heard of)

The Office- both versions (because it’s how you wish your work environment was)

F is for Family and Mike Tyson Mysteries (because Bill Burr and because Norm Macdonald as a pigeon who solves mysteries with Mike Tyson is funnier than people who find Sarah Jessica Parker attractive)

Film

Wayne’s World (only legitimately good SNL film ever)

The Room (so bad it’s good- you will shit your pants every time you here Tommy Wiseau attempt to say something in English)

Twin Peaks (not a film and only sort of a comedy- who cares, it’s fucking mint)

Slap Shot (because Paul Newman and the Hansons will teach you to man the fuck up—hockey style)

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (cause your useless ass needs to feel good about itself once in a while)

Now get watching, clowns! I’m off to celebrate, Homer style.

 

 

 

It’s becoming the Norm…

for me to kiss Norm Macdonald’s ass on this blog. At this point, my lips are chapped and bleeding. But still, like any addict, I won’t stop even if it’s not good for me. So, I’m going to march on like a good little soldier and post more of his magic.

So, here’s a treat, from me to you. A barrage of videos featuring the Greatest Canadian.

(Seriously though, did you ever read that list? David Suzuki’s on it for God’s sake. And a healthcare reformer beat out the founder of our country. Cripes!)

Here he is in a good mix of talk show and podcast appearances, fearing from hilariously meek to overtly offensive.

The first one I’m putting on here is one of the ballsiest, savage comedy routines I’ve ever heard.

Here’s some more funny stuff for ya!

Andrew Klavan and Norm Macdonald.

I’ve discussed both of them and I also admire both greatly. But I never thought that the two would ever come together in one video.

And then it happened. Sort of.

I have a clip of Klavan discussing Norm Macdonald’s bullshit (but good bullshit) memoir. He then provides a passage from the audiobook, read by Norm himself, with impeccable timing so great, it might force you to get yourself a clean pair of shorts.

Here it is. A match made in heaven.

Politics in Comedy 2

Just before I get into discussing another favourite political comedian of mine, I’m just going to warn you that yes, he’s another conservative.

I’m doing this mainly because we know the great liberal political comedians already. Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, John Oliver, etc. They’re all great at what they do.

But conservative political comedians are much less visible for the most part, and where they are seen is online. So, unless you’re actively searching out these people, you will likely not have heard of any of them.

This brings me to Andrew Klavan, the author and screenwriter who hosts his own show for The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro’s online news publication.

Andrew is such a funny guy because of his opening monologues. He is incredibly sarcastic but is also very good at speaking in a funny way. He zig-zags through the stories he tells and intentionally makes his stories confusing because his point is almost always to mock the logic of his ideological opponents.

Here he is being a ridculously smart-allecky bastard. The opening couple of minutes is an example of why I’m such a fan of this sickly looking brother of Mr. Clean.