The third guess

Heard a comic mentioning this idea the other day: What's funny is people's third guess.

If what you say is the first or second guess they have in their minds, it's too obvious. That's what they expect. Fourth guess and higher is just too weird and too far out there. The third guess is the sweet spot. (At least that's how I interpreted it, maybe someone's got a better explanation?)

Explains why shows w/ lots of comics in the room are a bad way to judge material. A comic's first guess is like a civilian's third guess.


3 Comment(s)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen that when waiting to go up for open mics. I see where the joke is going but can see how a standard audience might not (let's see if I can sound a little bit more superior, yes?). Though it's really bad when I can see where a misdirection is going. And on the other end, I'm trying to strike a balance where the joke surprises comedians but is within reach of standard audiences. Third guess. I'll work with that.
Joe Pilato

7/27/10, 4:06 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

"A comic's first guess is like a civilian's third guess."

Great line!

7/28/10, 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Relatedly, even worse for joke development, a comic's third guess is a civilian's fifth guess (and usually it's rape-related). So to make a comic laugh, you've got to go beyond what regular folks are going to follow you on.

Was that exactly the same as what you said? I just woke up from an unsatisfying nap. Sorry!

7/28/10, 3:59 PM