Saturday, July 16, 2016

You don't really need to practice joke writing.

It was a couple of days ago when Ken Levine, an award winning writer wrote on his blog and asked his readers to write punchlines. He wanted his readers to complete his sentence (in link) and make it as funny as possible.

As it turned out, a lot of his loyal readers were more than willing to help and gave a lot of different suggestions. I think there were more than a hundred and fifty entries that were sent by his blog's regular followers.

Yet, the problem with this comedy improv exercise was that it just wasn't good at all. Not only were all the 150+ suggestions pretty lame, it's hard to believe that anyone learned about comedy writing from the exercise.

When it comes to this 'comedy improv' exercise not being useful, it's mostly because its premise was so bad. I honestly can't see what exactly is inspiring or motivating about writing 'funny' material based on your girlfriend seeing other men.

At least in my opinion, comedy writing is supposed to be about things that could make us feel good about our lives. It should be about lifting our spirits and giving us hope that tomorrow things are going to be okay.

In my opinion, comedy is not supposed to be about being mean or trying to come up with stuff that might hurt us. Comedy writing almost never is supposed to be about things that could make us feel worse about our lives.

Besides, what's really the point with coming up with these kinds of 'jokes' anyway? At least in my view, comedy in most cases really isn't that much about writing clever punchlines or writing 'funny' stuff like that.

Instead, good comedy writing should be about the story and storytelling. It should be about paying attention to the big picture, being able to see the forest for the trees and not getting too bogged down in the minutiae.

Aleast in my opinion, practicing writing 'jokes' like these in most cases is just a waste of time. I have no idea why someone with writing talent would try to come up with those punchlines or take part in comedy improv workshops like these.

As far as I'm concerned, most of the time we shouldn't worry too much about getting our jokes right. In most cases, we should worry about the story, because that's where almost all the bigger problems are going to be.

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