Doing 30 and visiting the junkyard

So I did a 30 minute set on Friday. That's a lot more room to stretch out than the 7-10 min sets you typically get in NYC. It was nice to be able to go deeper into some personal stuff (e.g. talking about my parents) that maybe doesn't have as many punchlines-per-minute but has more of a narrative. I also dusted off some golden oldies (a few of which proved themselves worthy of a comeback).

Actually, that's something I've been doing a lot more in the past few months: revisiting old jokes and retooling them. I used to constantly plow ahead with writing fresh material. I figured the best way to learn about creating funny was to try to keep making it from scratch.

But now that I've got more experience under my belt, it's fun to go back to the old stuff and see if there's any gold there. A lot of times there's a good premise that I didn't milk enough or didn't know how to maximize back then. (Dan refers to his old jokes as a "junkyard" that he dives into occasionally to find gems, a good analogy methinks.) It's funny how just one new tag or a slight changing to the wording can breathe new life into a bit that seemed stale.


Paul Kelleher said...

Did you bounce around? Or did you have a planned set?


Matt Ruby said...

I mapped out the first 2/3rds and knew what I wanted to do. For the last 10 minutes, I picked out some bits from a set list I brought onstage with me (saving a good bit to end on, of course.) Set lists are kinda lame for short sets but I think fine when you're doing 30 (or longer).

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