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Comedy Writer
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If you like, I'll post some reccomended Comedy Writing titles on my website.
(and classes)

Comedy Writer
Dannydoyle
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What web site?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicgeorge
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Although I've never attended workshops I have studied comedy, myself, through books, life and my own personal journeys. I don't think the issue is HOW you have studied comedy but IF. Many stand-ups learned their art by performing experience
and would avoid workshops and books on comedy, and any disection of the art altogether. While on the other hand many comics are the products of workshops, courses and research. So I don't think there should be any hard and fast rules as long as your target is your own original and funny act.

In short of course you should 'study' comedy rather than pad out a magic routine with old gags, nicked bits and facile puns but how you study it should be up to you.

A lot of folks praised Judy Carter's book as being the best. I have to say I disagree. I've found it far too restricting and filled with rules. It started off saying you can say what you want and then followed through with you can't do this and have to do that.i.e Don't tell true stories or anecdotes? Try telling that to Billy Connolly or Richard Pryor (well obviously you couldn't tell him now...). I think if all followed her instructions word for word the comedy circuit would start to get very boring. I also found it's presentation overly simplistic, almost like 'a dummies guide to comedy'. Having said that I think the workshop style of the book has a definite postive aspect of helping you to gather and create your material.


George
harris
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On the line of revealing self in ones routine, I found some interesting stuff (and great cartoons in Zen and the Art of the Monologue.

Nearly Normal No Prize to first to know the author.

My programs have geared to sharing my experiences. These include kid shows to workshops/lectures for mental health agencies & churches.

An example of the later.
I start telling Nigel the story of the Prodigal Son..There was a man who had two sons...

Nigel..Fred McMurray

Harris...No he had 3 sons...(from my early days of watching television)



Rather than use other peoples ideas I use my streaming(Nigel..sometimes flooding)
conciousness)

Harris Deutsch
Laughologist and Nearly Normal Righter

Harris Deutsch
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
gabelson
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Hey George,

You're right- there is no set "formula" to becoming a good comedian- and front line experience will always serve as a better teacher than any book. That being said, when Judy talks about people making the mistake of telling "true" stories, she's not referring to gut-wrenching, personality driven stuff like Pryor's. She's referring to those "armchair" comics, civvies who think that their workplace is a sitcom- that everything that happens to them in life (which their friends laugh at), will be funny on stage. And it's funny you mention Pryor, because it was Pryor himself who addressed this issue, in his typically brilliant, insightful way: Pryor said, "You start off making your friends laugh, so you think you can go on stage and be funny doing the same thing. Then you bomb, and you realize you've got to develop material. Eventually, your act gets strong, and you become so good and relaxed at performing comedy, you come full-circle, and can get on stage and go back to doing the same things that made your friends laugh."

That's what it's all about. And that's why there's no substitute for stage experience.
thecardtrick
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Currently reading "Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy" by Jay Sankey. An enjoyable and valuable read so far.
Jamie D. Grant
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This is a great thread!

I remember in high school- 15 years ago, I dreamed of being a Stand Up Comic because people thought I was 'funny' but, being from a small town in the Canadian wilderness, gave up on that dream for lack of an appreciative audience. Instead, magic took it's hold and here I am today (and loving it).

However, after the last 5 years of performing as a pretty successful (part-time) walk around magician, I really appreciate how much comedy has to do with my 'success'. As an entertainer, I've found the laughs, at times, equally important as the wonder. So I've taken it upon myself to start studying comedy as much as I can. I've gone to open mic night and will continue to do so in order to benefit myself and our art. Even though some people might consider me a success, already I realize that I have a lot to learn about the art of Comedy and that learning all that I can about it from a studious standpoint will only make me a better magician.

Wish me luck,

Jamie D. Grant
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Dannydoyle
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The problem with true stories is that problomatic "frame of reference" needed for good comedy.

Without a proper "frame of reference" things are not really funny. When you are at work things are "framed" in a certain way. When that "frame" is removed, well in general it is unfunny.

That is the difference in comedy on the stage, and comedy at the water cooler.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
magicgeorge
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Billy Connolly once said, "the trouble with life is there are no punchlines".

Gabelson thank's for your insight. That makes a lot of sense to me. Great quote, I agree with what you are saying but I still fear that Carter is going further than that premiss in her book. Statements like telling us if it's not in the form of set-up then punch, then your not doing stand-up (which seems to be at odds with her comment of not telling jokes) seems to be very restrictive. I certainly found some useful things in the book but I think following it to closely disallows for how diverse stand-up comedy can be.

It could also be a culture thing. Interestingly watching US comedians I find that I can relate her ideas on structure and performance to their acts whereas with a lot of UK comics I can't relate her rules to their performance.
Yes you can see some of her structures in most acts to some degree but following them to the tee wouldn't allow for:

Connolly telling a long , but hilarious, story about inconstinence pants.
Bill Bailey standing on stage ,looking bewildered making stupid noises.
Harry Hill bursting into song and offering sweets to the audience.
Tim Vine telling nothing but puns for an hour.
Ross Noble's surreal imagery.

The best book I have read on stand-up is "Getting the joke" by Oliver Double. It covered a lot of ground from the history of comedy to footwear and was insightfull, intelligent and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

George
MrHyde
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The ****ysis of comedy is fraught with censorship

timothy
Tony Iacoviello
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No kidding Timothy. Even your mention of the subject was censored!

Tony
MrHyde
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I didn't mean to sidetrack this very interesting thread
but thought some here would appreciate the delicious glitch.

Timothy
naturalturn
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Are there magic conventions devoted exclusively to comedy magic? I've always enjoyed Eric Buss's lectures on improvisation and being creative.
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Eric Buss
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Ray, Thanks for the kind words... How's it going?

There is a new comedy magic seminar that is going to be in Niagra Falls, Canada this January... late January... look for it! Should be good!

E
naturalturn
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Hi Eric,

DOing fine and laughing all the way!
I'll watch for it... Thanks for the heads up.

Cheers,
Ray
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When Magic Went WONG!
Chatterbox41
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Quote:
On 2006-10-24 01:34, Jamie D. Grant wrote:

Even though some people might consider me a success, already I realize that I have a lot to learn about the art of Comedy and that learning all that I can about it from a studious standpoint will only make me a better magician.



And this is the test of being successful... when you consistantly strive to study and improve instead of settling and stagnating.

Took an improv class a few years back.

I've studied Judy Carter's Comedy Bible... loved it and although it does appear restrictive at first glance, once you've worked with the formulas, etc. she does state that you can depart, do your stories, etc. She just starts with the formulas so you have a place to work from and then expand.

Also took a stand-up class from Jeff Justice... who is also a magician. Great investment of time and money.

Also have studied Steve Roye's Killer Stand-up system... actually bought it from Jeff a year or so after I took his class. Another good investment.

Plan to take another class this year, possibly an improve class next.

Prior to all these classes I spent 20 years performing ventriloquism and magic. The classes still have helped a lot. Now I need to find some good open mic's that I can count on getting some stage time more than once every 2 months!
coupcoupdaddy
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My mom taught me comedy. I was concieved above a laundromat on her birthday. On Labor Day.
She studied for two years at the theater school in Chicago where Second City now resides. Shelly Berman was one of her classmates. She talked about comedy a lot with me and she continued to participate in community theater productions through my childhood. People loved her on and off the stage. She taught me to be a lot of who I am when I help people laugh.

Tom
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Noel D
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I've been a member of an improv troupe and doing (or trying) stand up comedy for the past 3 years and go to comedy worshops. I'm also a theatre student at my school, though we mostly perform dramatic works and the occasional musical.

It's been a lot of fun and I'm definitely a much better (and funnier) performer than I was 3 years ago.
Comedy Writer
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I've taken classes on comedy writing, read a dozen books, studided improv and watched the masters at work. But beyond two dozen years of learning, that's about it.

CW guy
Kym Diamond
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Metalbender suggested the Humber School - great, if you live in Canada. I would give eye-teeth to see them open a branch here in the USA.

That being said, we are talking studying comedy here. There are a lot of concepts being tossed around. Even the "your funny or your not funny" thought.

There was a film I thoroughly enjoyed that dealt with the idea of comedy inherent in a person - FUNNY BONES. Oliver Platt, Jerry Lewis, Lee Evans, George Carl, Freddie Davies - and a lot more. That really gave me a lot to think about on comedy. Physical vs. intellectual...and, having to be willing to take what we do to an edge that we need to teeter on and be ready to fall off of in order to get people to associate with us, root for us, love us - and give us that response we need in our approach to humor.

Personally, I think anyone has the ability to be funny. Some more than others. But, humor is inherent in the human nature and soul. I mean, ever since the cave person dropped a rock on a foot and everyone else laughed at them...there's been physical comedy. And, a bird crossing the road has been around since at least Egyptian times as recorded verbal humor.

Yep. Take the training and the courses. But, when you are out in public with folks around you and you have to take center stage for whatever reason in an impromptu setting - and you find people laughing at something you say, do, or combination there of - take note of that response, take note of what you did to receive it, then, study that aspect of your character in you...and develop outward from that.

Watch comics. Find the ones that make you laugh most. Study them. What is funny to you is what will be funny from you...for the most part. There is an intellectual and spiritual inner link from your sense of humor that relates...use that.

Study the classic masters of comedy. Read books on artists of Vaudeville. Read the books of the great clowns of silent film, the comics of early film all the way through the current ages...but, focus on the masters...the Marx Brothers,WC Fields, Harold Lloyd, Jack Benny - study the less than famous - the Ritz Brothers, Olsen & Johnson, others...see what was inspired comedy...does it relate to you? Find those. Adapt those. Grow from those.

I have spent years doing this - and, will probably spend countless years more. It is all in honing the craft and learning what you do. I'm no great shakes, but, it gets easier when you stop and learn about it. And, the magic moment comes when the comedy comes out of you when you least expect it and is second nature. Once that moment happens - learn from it, study it, and, grow.

But, don't intellectualize the dang thing to death. Smile Laugh at the serious study you are giving, too.

I think an important clue (and I hit on it a time or two) is to study yourself - what makes you laugh at yourself...attach that to the style of comedy you like...and, develop your formula. And, the best way to work that formula is to get out there and work you.

Kd
:cool:
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