Understanding The Difference – A Major Factor In Your Success As A Comedian
If you understand how basic eating utensils work, then you can easily understand why funny and talented people struggle needlessly to create and develop stand-up comedy material that actually works to get noteworthy laughs on stage.
Let’s assume for a moment that I have invited you to my home for dinner. When we sit down to eat, I provide you with a bowl of soup and a steak knife to eat it with.
Or let’s assume that instead of soup, I serve you a steak and provide you a spoon to eat it with.
The problem remains the same – In both cases I provided you the wrong eating utensil to consume the food I served you for dinner.
While these scenarios may seem somewhat absurd, they accurately illustrate one of the significant issues new comedians face when trying to produce stand-up comedy material that generates the laughter levels they want when they hit the stage.
While a spoon and a steak knife are both eating utensils that are about the same size and have a similar shape designed for use with the hand, they are vastly different in how they function in the process of eating different foods.
And while both writing and talking both use words and sentences in the process of communication, they are as different as a steak knife and a spoon when it comes to functionality.
Here’s why I say that…
Writing is a formally learned process that results in communication intended specifically for an individual reader (unless of course the writing is being read aloud). Talking is an informally learned process that results in communication intended for an observer or group of observers.
Hint: Stand-up comedy audiences don’t read stand-up comedy material – they experience it as it is delivered and expressed by a comedian.
Writing only involves the use of words and sentences as a communication medium. Talking involves not only words and sentences, but also other powerful communication aspects (body language, voice changes, etc.) that significantly accentuate what a person has to say.
It is interesting to note that writing can frequently produce a condition known as “writers block”. I have never heard of a person experiencing a condition called “talkers block”.
And just like a spoon and a steak knife are not effectively interchangeable even though they are both eating utensils, writing and talking are NOT effectively interchangeable even though they are both forms of communication that involve words and sentences.
I identified in detail in the first lesson in Training Module One why new comedians assume that they need to “write” stand-up comedy material the way they have been taught to “write” for a reader.
So when someone interested in becoming a comedian asks me “How do you write a joke?”, it would be no different than asking me “How do you eat soup with a steak knife?”.
That’s why I say that if you cannot recognize that talking and writing are two different and distinct forms of communication that are created, developed and consumed differently, then you need to seek out other resources that do meet your expectations on how stand-up comedy material is produced.
There are plenty of other so-called stand-up comedy “experts” who are more than willing to show you the process for eating soup with a steak knife (figuratively speaking as it applies to developing stand-up comedy material).
Just don’t be surprised if you can’t seem to get the laughs you want or make much headway as a comedian quickly — no matter how funny and talented you may be.