Trying to write extended bits instead of quickies

Lately, I've been trying to write extended bits that are a few minutes long as opposed to just a funny joke and on to the next topic. Part of that is stretching existing bits and another part is trying to fold other jokes (old and new) into the new stuff. Mark and I were discussing it:

Me:

actually, the way birbigs works is helpful on that too. he's reusing jokes from his first two albums in his new show. but it's all there to support the story and his attitude. "a rapist wouldn't have a bed like that"...I think he's used that joke on two CC Presents and his new show too. but it's because it's the PERFECT joke for setting up who he is and where he's taking the audience.


Mark:

Aww man, tying jokes in to other jokes is the best. not only does it help you remember it but it sounds so much better. that's how audiences tell an amateur from a pro. It looks more like a convo. seamless. When I do that longer spot next week, I'm going to try to weave a lot of shit together.

Did you read somewhere to do that or did it just come as a natural progression?


Me:

Natural progression I guess. I just feel like there's a flow when shit is tied together. It feels like there's a bigger point rather than just trying to get laughs. And the comedians I dig most...CK, Birbigs, Tompkins, Mulaney...all their bits are longer. It's not in-and-out jokes. They're on a topic for minutes at a time. They go somewhere with it. I figure if that's what I like most, then that's what I should be trying to do.



It used to be I'd have an aha moment for a new joke idea. Now it's sometimes an aha moment where I figure out that some old joke I threw away can be tied in with something new I'm working on.

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4 Comment(s)

Blogger d said...

I agree with everything here. I think the audience can really latch on and follow you more if it seems like you are talking to them like a conversation. And I think that when a comic resets or changes topics, the audience has to reset as well.

2/10/09, 12:08 PM  
Blogger Matteson said...

In an interview with Woody Allen (Woody Allen on Comedy) he says he does the same thing, starting with individual jokes and figuring out how to string them together into a story. Great interview and theirs also a very good one with Seinfeld in the series.

2/10/09, 1:02 PM  
Blogger Matt Ruby said...

@Matteson, yeah those are great. "On Comedy" albums at Napster. Carson and Carlin ones are good too.

2/10/09, 1:21 PM  
Blogger Aalap said...

Good post. This idea didn't occur to me until very recently. I saw St. Germaine do this in his set at Kabin (he plugs in his "what happens in atlantic city" joke into his Kurt Wiggers story) and that's when i realized it.
I end up thinking of one usable homeless joke every other month, so now at least i can string them together eventually.
Good bits have a structure, similar to good non fiction writing, or persuasive essays.

2/10/09, 2:02 PM  


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