Last month, ventriloquist Bob Abdou wrote a nice article for the Ventriloquist Central blog, entitled, “Now That’s Funny”, about comedy writing. (If you missed that blog, click here)
Here’s another installment.
That’s Still Funny, Part 2
After writing my last blog story for Ventriloquist Central, I had many personal emails from vents asking about writing material, they were having problems with either writing material for their act or not feeling comfortable with what they wrote. I never really had a major problem with writing,
I have problems in other areas (and boy do I have problems – but that is for my therapist to uncover). But seriously folks….this is what I did in getting new material for a new act.
Last month I took 4 days off to just write, write and write material for a new character for my adult show. I found funny bits from the newspaper, old tv skits, very old joke books and my own personal joke files. I was able to write over 100 jokes written for this new act.
What to do next? I stopped writing, yes STOP. To continue to the next level of writing, you need to evaluate the jokes that have been written. Take a break from writing and go live life
A few days later, I went back to my 100 jokes and took out the jokes that did not make sense anymore, were not funny or did not fit my new character. I cut down the 100 jokes to about 30 that were GOLD. Now to the next level.
I cut up in strips the jokes I wanted to use into 3 categories, intro, middle and end.
After dividing the material into the 3 sections, I then taped them to a piece of paper, that way it is easy to handle and to focus just on the subject on the paper.
I then put in order the jokes so the material made sense on each sheet of paper
After that I bridged the material so the intro would flow to the middle and the middle to flow to the ending of the routine.
After reviewing all that was written and I was happy with the finished product, I now have an act that will give me confidence to use, funny material for the puppet act and the audience will laugh and enjoy the show.
Levels of writing (a review)
1) Write until your hand, back, eyes and head hurt
2) STOP writing and don’t look at the material for a few days, relax and enjoy life
3) Reread your material and take out what is not funny, doesn’t make sense or doesn’t fit the act
4) Use what you now have and divide the material into 3 categories – intro, middle and ending.
5) Cut up the jokes and put them on a table and put them into the 3 categories
6) Tape them on a piece of paper, doing this makes it easy to handle and rearrange
7) After you arrange the jokes, bridge them into a conversation, a dialogue – intro, middle and end.
8) After you bridge the jokes into a routine, read them to see if they make sense
9) Congrats, you just got new material for a new act
These guidelines might seem juvenile, basic and simple but I gotta tell you, I don’t argue with success, it works for me and makes writing fun, easy and in the end, I have a new act that works!!
Once again, Bob, thanks for sharing.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger
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Awesome info, especially about taking a break from writing and coming back to it a few days later. After awhile writing comedy you lose perspective and need time away from it just to see what is really funny. And 30 out of 100 jokes is a very high percentage! More often it will be 10 out of 100, but at least you have a starting point that is valid. Comedy is about writing, writing, and more writing. The rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting!
As usual, superb and helpful info, Bob! Thanks!
Bob Abdou is a very energetic young man who really puts his “all” into his shows. This article shows how he is always thinking of how to improve his act. Bob’s a great talent who’s been fine tuning his performance for the last 17 years. He never stops working on his show. A wonderful article by a talented man & on top of that …a fine gentleman. Thanks for your help to all Vents Bob.
Sort of like a quilting party, first, middle and last arrrangement of material, patchwork, taking a break, and the finished piece.
Bob I hope to live to be able to say I was doing vent 17 years but that would make me all of 80 If i could remember half of what I have written i would be a bloomin genius…but to see what you have accomplished in that period of time, must say you have done a wonderful job keep it going and thanks for the many tips, I will keep doing what I do and hopefully with people like you to help give direction I will keep em laughing.
Great stuff , I really enjoy you sharing your secrets of success. I am 75 yrs of age, and an amateur in the Ventriloquist business , but as once told if you believe in your Puppet , & treat him as real life, it will improve your performance. Your tips were great , and good luck for the future. If you can recommend how to get a good working puppet with all the necessary face & eye movements , that would be really appreciated , BUT , being downunder this may make this difficult. ( In Australia )
Take a look at this stuff http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5023227/All-jokes-fit-into-eight-categories-says-scientist.html
Very good article Bob! Hey, everyone, I know I haven’t been around much but I just wanted to chime in to Bob’s Article. A good routine is just like a good speech. It should start strong and end strong…funniest lines at the beginning and the end…that gets their interest from the get go, and keeps ’em wanting more at the end.