One of the things we figured out while selling radio bits to the syndicators… it’s damn hard to think up 10 unique, funny bits… but it’s much easier to come up with a funny format, and do 10 episodes of it. It’s a lot harder to come up with that format, but once you have it, and know the characters, it’s much easier to create material. Case in point: ‘Things You’ll Never Hear Anyone Say’ I thought I remembered George Carlin doing one liners similar to this in the 70’s… ‘Did’ja ever think….’ type jokes…. We saw another syndicator doing something similar, but thought it missed the mark – it was just a cold reading of the punch-line with no atmosphere. We thought it had potential, but needed to be more theatrical.. have sound effects, characters… try to create a whole situation in a few seconds, instead of reading a funny quote cold. We ended up doing hundreds of them. We picked a few and had friends read them into a camera in a confessional style in various situations. Some worked. Some flopped. Courtney’s made me laugh out loud. But the deal was, there are so many of them, you’ll find one of them funny, and if not, it’s gone in a few seconds, and you’re on to the next thing. Funny thing.. we found out later through a friend of a friend that the people who wrote the similar skits first were totally pissed we ‘ripped’ them off. We know how it feels when you do a skit about ‘Win Lose Or Draw‘, and then find it used 3 months later by a stand up comedian on ‘Comedy Tonight’ – but that was just lifting the material verbatim. I had a moment of moral quandary… their skit did make us think about something in a similar vein, but it ended up in quite a different direction… and it also was all original material… and derivative from a bit done 20 years previous by another comedian. Maybe I’m rationalizing things, but I don’t see a ‘rip off’ situation here. So. Stealing is bad. Don’t just have one idea when you pitch something. And be honest with yourself, because the web is forever and it will out live you and haunt you all of your days, so play nice. That’s the end of today’s sermon. Go outside and play.
How to write a lot of comedy that might sell