I get wildly inspired when I see a brilliant comic perform.
Some of my favorites are Brian Regan, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Ellen Degeneres–they perform observational humor and do so without the spicy language of many of their colleagues and that takes great skill.
When I watch them perform, I think of how brillant the writing is and often start to picture myself writing and performing just like them. The conversation I have with myself goes something like this:
(Andrew, a mid-thirties dad-to-be, sitting in his family room, watching Jim Gaffigan perform his ‘Mr. Universe’ piece on Netflix)
JIM: (on TV): Has your mother ever made anything as good as a McDonald’s fry? Not even close. We lie to ourselves when we eat at McDonald’s fries. Oh, they are so thin, they couldn’t be fattening. You ever eat too many McDonald’s fries? Of course not. There is never enough of them. There’s always that moment when you’re eating McDonald’s fries really. What happened? Where did they go? Then you search, scrunching for the fry crumbs. Oh that’ just a piece of paper from the straw, but it was touching the fry so…
ANDREW: (On couch) I could do that. I live. I think. I write. I perform. That guy makes a ton of money just talking about McDonalds and hot pockets.
(immediately inspired, Andrew picks up his computer and beings writing.)
ANDREW: Ok, so something like McDonalds that’s funny. Ok, yeah. TV stuff… here goes…
[box options]Andrew’s TV Stuff Stand-Up Routine…
So what is it about TV, folks? We come home from work and watch it and nothing is even on TV.
Am I right?
I’m like “where is the remote” to my wife and she’s like “your on your iPhone–that’s not a TV.”[/box]
So then I switch topics, thinking maybe that’s the problem…
So the other day I was eating Greek yogurt. I’m like ‘what IS this stuff’? When I was a kid we didn’t have Greek yogurt. We had yogurt made in America and just like the automotive industry, yogurt is going overseas.And how does American yogurt feel about this new trend?
I’ll bet it’s on the shelf saying “um, pal. It’s not so special…think about this: how many people even speak Greek that you know?
If yogurt could talk…right?!? Are you with me, folks? Folks? [/box]
The Truth About Comedy
All that actually happened–the scenario at least–and though the words are changed a bit, I am inspired by comedians and many times I’ve thought of how ‘easy’ it would be to come up with a stand-up routine.
I’ve even tried writing one–and it’s not a simple thing. It’s a craft on par with launching a rocketship into orbit.
The craft of comedy fascinates me because of the process…
- Pick a highly relatable yet unperformed topic
- Craft the wording to be succinct, surprising, and intellectual but not pretentious (more on pretentious here)
- Memorize the routine word for word
- Deliver to a massively critical crowd flawlessly
Comedians are some of the most creative artists: they write, produce, direct and act…just to make us laugh.
Now I’m gonna go try my hand at another routine–something like…
Any Lucky Charms fans out there? Good, good. Yeah, me too. I can’t get enough of that stuff.
Well, we’re really talking about the marshmallows right? ‘Cause let’s be honest, we don’t eat Lucky Charms for the whole grain goodness, do we? We want those purple horseshoes and rainbows. And we shouldn’t even call them marshmallows. Marshmallows aren’t crunchy–or at least they shouldn’t be.
If you looked in my pantry you’d find 4 boxes of Lucky Charms right now. And ya know what’s in ’em? Nothing but those oat thingies and the cocaine-like Lucky Charm dust that accumulates in the bottom of the box. Mmmm–Lucky Charm Cocaine Dust. There’s a market for that.[/box]
Maybe I’ll start with Lucky Charms…for comedy and for breakfast.