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Old 03-06-2014, 03:20 PM View Post #1 (Link) My first attempt at stand up comedy
AdrenalinJunkie (Offline)
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So I've just started watching the Ellen show and of course I've had the thought everyone has-<<Huh- I'm wasted as a writer. Why on earth aren't I a stand up comedian?>>. So this is my first attempt at a set. Critique it down to it's bare bones, people.

So I come home from school the other day and what’s the first thing I see as I’m unlocking the door? The tv’s on and I can hear deal or no deal, there’s Noel Edmonds, those weird box things, you know, it’s the whole set up.

Well, I leapt to the obvious conclusion- clearly the house has been burgled by psychopathic maniacs who watch deal or no deal. I’m terrified. What if they’re still here? You know, I grab the mop, I tuck my hair into a sauce pan, I’m all ready to go out there and take them on.

So I leap round the corner, I shout hands up at the top of my lungs, I’m doing every thing just like in avengers assemble- that’s a cop show, right?- and the rest of my family turn from the sofa to look at me as if I’m the complete maniac. Yes people- I’m associated with a family that watch deal or no deal. What will happen next? Will I have to put up with a family that like football? It’s bad, people.

So, you know, after that I started to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour. I mean, it’s just not right, is it? It’s ok for other people to watch those kind of shows, but this is my family. Obviously they should be watching the shows that I want to watch!

They’re being brain washed even as we speak. You know, the other day, I’m sitting down at the table and my mum’s like, Meal or no Meal, Bro?, cos I’ve never been keen on tagliatelle. You see? They’re picking up the lingo as well. Disgraceful.

Moving on, what do you get if you cross an elephant with a dumpster? A smellophant!

[mellow]I quite agree, people. That really was a terrible joke.[Pull out overlarge hanky and start wiping eyes] It’s not my fault, you know. You just never hear jokes growing up, apart from propoganda from the potty companies.They tried to bribe me, but[Start crying] I told them I could make jokes without saying poop. It’s just not possible. Who makes jokes without saying poop?

Poop. Such a lovely word- so soft, and warm and… [hesitate]

[cheering up]But I turned down that big fat cheque, firstly because I really don’t think any of you people need potty propoganda and secondly because they told me that I wouldn’t be able to say potty, and all in all potty is such a more satisfying word than poop. Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful audience.

Oh, and I’m lying. I kept the cheque. Please go on potify.com for more information.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:53 AM View Post #2 (Link)
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This is kind of tricky to critique, so... Well, let me just say that I didn't really find it funny. I think next time you should experiment with recording the stand-up as well, and giving us audio, as I think timing and delivery can make what read like lame jokes funny, especially when it comes to impersonations or something. I'm also probably going to kill it further by analyzing the humour itself.

So let's look at this in chunks:

So I come home from school the other day and whatís the first thing I see as Iím unlocking the door? The tvís on and I can hear deal or no deal, thereís Noel Edmonds, those weird box things, you know, itís the whole set up.

[...]

Theyíre being brain washed even as we speak. You know, the other day, Iím sitting down at the table and my mumís like, Meal or no Meal, Bro?, cos Iíve never been keen on tagliatelle. You see? Theyíre picking up the lingo as well. Disgraceful.
This joke kind of fell flat for me because it operates on an assumption that I would find it weird that anyone would watch Deal Or No Deal, when I find that perfectly normal. It's kind of a suspension of disbelief thing. It's easier for me to think that your family (and remember, as a member of the audience, I don't know your family, so the only things I can assume about them are stereotypes or similarities to my own family) would watch a game show than whatever story you've come up with. So the set-up falls flat on me, and the rest of the joke just drags on.

I think it's also important to capture in impersonations, which is what I assume you'd do when you go "Meal or no Meal, bro?" that you try and aim for something recognizable to your audience. Maybe your mom would actually say "bro" but it's hard for me to believe that because, as I said, I don't know your mom and I'm supplying my own mum onto that story. So unless there's more of a setup in a previous story, or something, to establish that your mom is the kind of woman who'd say "bro" then it'll be hard to believe.

I get that you're going for some sort of irony--as in, of course you're the maniac in the family--but going up in front of people and being awkward is a hard thing to get a laugh out of. Because only one of three things is likely to happen: 1) the bit clicks, and people find it funny (and I did not find this funny) 2) people don't get that you're being awkward on purpose, and don't find it funny or 3) people get that you're being awkward on purpose, and think you're exploiting the socially awkward for laughs, which is a bit problematic.

Moving on, what do you get if you cross an elephant with a dumpster? A smellophant!

[mellow]I quite agree, people. That really was a terrible joke.
Telling a joke that's purposely bad is also a bit risky, even if you draw attention to it. Chances are, you don't have a lot of time, so why would you waste it by telling bad jokes and then forming the rest of your joke around analyzing why it was a bad joke?

[Pull out overlarge hanky and start wiping eyes]
This struck me as a major switch in tone. It wasn't so much prop comedy to me as it was... clowning. Don't get me wrong, if you want to make a bit around clowning style, that's great. But it's jarring to switch from an anecdotal style to this random moment of prop/clown comedy.

Itís not my fault, you know. You just never hear jokes growing up, apart from propoganda from the potty companies.
This is where you lost me.

They tried to bribe me, but[Start crying] I told them I could make jokes without saying poop. Itís just not possible.
There's a change in time here that threw me off. First we're told "you never hear jokes growing up, apart from potty companies" and then you jump right to you being a comedian and them bribing you. The result is it sounds like they're bribing you when you're growing up. But otherwise, you've entered into a really juvenile form of comedy which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but even the word "potty" makes you sound like an eight-year-old.

Who makes jokes without saying poop?
Tonnes of comedians.

Poop. Such a lovely word- so soft, and warm andÖ [hesitate]
Again, juvenile humour that doesn't make me, personally, laugh. It also feels like it's purposely awkward humour that makes me feel more uncomfortable than it does jovial.

[cheering up]But I turned down that big fat cheque, firstly because I really donít think any of you people need potty propoganda and secondly because they told me that I wouldnít be able to say potty, and all in all potty is such a more satisfying word than poop.
"I wouldn't be able to say potty" is also not an interesting line to me because a) you've been saying potty this whole time and b) I'm an adult, and words like "shit" and "shitter" don't offend me, so trying to convince me that "potty" is a bad word is a stretch.


So I'm a bit torn on who your audience is here. There's a juvenile aspect that would probably appeal to a certain age group--the kind that thinks saying potty is funny and risque--but the sort of staged awkwardness is the kind of thing that I think most people, especially younger audiences who are less likely to pick up on it, won't find that funny. There's also a style inconsistency that I think is jarring, and I think should be what you pay the most attention to.

I'd be interested to hear what comedians you like, and who, if anyone, you model yourself after.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:01 AM View Post #3 (Link) This post is a reply - don't critique it
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Thanks, that was really useful like always . I think there might be something in the presentation, cos my mum seemed to like it when I read it out, and she's generally not biased about writing, so maybe it just doesn't work as a script. In answer to your question, I generally watch Ellen, Blackadder, stuff like that. And yes, I have a very juvenile sense of humour. But seriously dude, is deal or no deal actually OK? Maybe it's having a younger brother- you learn to never trust him around a tv. But thanks for the great critique.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:12 PM View Post #4 (Link)
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Okay, I'm going to tell you right now, never do this again.

This isn't how to practice stand-up.

How do you practice stand-up?

If you're going to write, don't write it like this. Write a diary sort of thing, like an autobiography. Think someone like Dave Sedaris. Ramble about what you hate, what you like, what conflicts that appear with your friends in likes and dislikes. Try to tune in also with what annoys everyone in general.

Write down in a little notebook that you can carry anywhere any witty observations or humerous thoughts that come to your head during the day. Because I have once in a while thought of something funny and then completely forgot it because I never had the chance to write it down.

Then you practice by making a video of it.

No one else has to see it if you don't want to. Because stand-up is all about the delivery, and simply writing it down like a script isn't good enough. You have to practice not just what you're going to say, but how you're going to say it. Some jokes aren't funny if they are written down and read, but hilarious when said with a certain facial expression and tone.

This is coming from someone who has regretted not doing stand-up. I really wish I did back in college but I didn't have the time. About 90% of stand-up is building up material and practicing it. The other 10% is the actual going on stage part.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:32 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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Originally Posted by AdrenalinJunkie View Post
So I've just started watching the Ellen show and of course I've had the thought everyone has-<<Huh- I'm wasted as a writer. Why on earth aren't I a stand up comedian?>>. So this is my first attempt at a set. Critique it down to it's bare bones, people.

Let me preface this critique by saying that I am reading this with a complete open mind. I've seen a lot of stand up comedians both live and on tv. Big name ones. I've done an open mic night before and I didn't get booed of the stage but that's a whole different story. Basically, I am telling you that I SORT of know what I am talking about. Kind of. I hope.

So I come home from school the other day and whatís the first thing I see as Iím unlocking the door? The tvís on and I can hear deal or no deal, thereís Noel Edmonds, those weird box things, you know, itís the whole set up.

Well, I leapt to the obvious conclusion- clearly the house has been burgled by psychopathic maniacs who watch deal or no deal. Iím terrified. What if theyíre still here? You know, I grab the mop, I tuck my hair into a sauce pan, Iím all ready to go out there and take them on.

I'm with you so far. In the sense that I am imagining myself as a kid again. As an adult this isn't exactly making me think of Carlin or Cosby.

So I leap round the corner, I shout hands up at the top of my lungs, Iím doing every thing just like in avengers assemble- thatís a cop show, right?- and the rest of my family turn from the sofa to look at me as if Iím the complete maniac.

I broke this part up because this is where I assume you would take a pause. The others above me have mentioned how important timing is. You need to let the joke settle just a bit before moving on. Let the people laugh if they are laughing. Then again, if there is awkward silence then maybe it's best to just move on.


Yes people- Iím associated with a family that watch deal or no deal. What will happen next? Will I have to put up with a family that like football? Itís bad, people.

Again this would be where you would pause. Or not. Maybe it's just me. Remember, comedy is different to everyone!

So, you know, after that I started to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour. I mean, itís just not right, is it? Itís ok for other people to watch those kind of shows, but this is my family. Obviously they should be watching the shows that I want to watch!

Theyíre being brain washed even as we speak. You know, the other day, Iím sitting down at the table and my mumís like, Meal or no Meal, Bro?, cos Iíve never been keen on tagliatelle. You see? Theyíre picking up the lingo as well. Disgraceful.

This made me laugh. Sort of makes me sad that the above critiquers (who are in their own right incredibly gifted writers) said that this sort of humor wasn't funny. Or am I paraphrasing incorrectly?

The absurdity of the whole thing gets me. Meal or no meal, bro? That's fuckin' funny. I don't care what anyone says.


Moving on, NEVER have heard a comedian say that in a set. It's weird. If you can point one out to me and show me a link I may just shut up. what do you get if you cross an elephant with a dumpster? A smellophant!

HORRIBLE joke. Haha. But clearly this was the point so I like it.

[mellow]I quite agree, people. That really was a terrible joke.[Pull out overlarge hanky and start wiping eyes] Love the prop idea. It's got to be EXAGGERATED and enormous though so people understand that it's part of the joke. Loving the absurdity so far.

Itís not my fault, you know. You just never hear jokes growing up, apart from propoganda Typo here. from the potty companies.They tried to bribe me, but[Start crying] I told them I could make jokes without saying poop. Itís just not possible. Who makes jokes without saying poop?

I'm not feeling the crying bit here. It's gotten a little over the top. And very quickly if I may say so. Perhaps you can keep this bit but space it apart a bit further on down. It just comes too suddenly from the hanky bit. You know?


Poop. Such a lovely word- so soft, and warm andÖ [hesitate]
Made me smile. I like it. Again, this absurdist type humor tickles my funny bone. I think it's the hesitation at the end that really makes it work.

[cheering up]But I turned down that big fat cheque, firstly because I really donít think any of you people need potty propoganda and secondly because they told me that I wouldnít be able to say potty, and all in all potty is such a more satisfying word than poop. Thank you, youíve been a wonderful audience.
This part here sounds VERY juvenile. Not as in, fart joke juvenile but very child-like. Like Rugrats type stuff here. Like a kid who is doing his best impression of Jerry Seinfeld. I am not sure if it necessary to the routine.

Oh, and Iím lying. I kept the cheque. Please go on potify.com for more information.
This joke CAN be really funny if the punch line is set up better. Potify.com doesn't necessarily sound like a poop site. Try a different website name here. If you had something like (and here comes the pretentious DO IT MY WAY part) "rootintootinpoopin.com or something equally as idiotic, I would more than likely laugh.
Overall, it's not necessarily a bad first start to stand up comedy, it's just extremely childish. I like fart jokes and poop humor as well as very cerebral and dark comedy. I'm not a comic snob by any means at all. I just think that your tone is very childish. Are you around 12-14 years old? If not, your routine sounds like you are. As I said before, it reminds me of a kid trying to do his best Seinfeld routine at a school talent show.

Listen, comedy in writing is EXTREMELY difficult to get across. You may not have even noticed my self deprecating quips that if spoken, would have had a ton of sadness and uncertainty to them. THAT'S the biggest part of comedy.
Attitude! Delivery! Timing!

I mentioned some of my favorites throughout the critique. Comics who are universally praised and lauded as the best in their field. If you are going to try to continue down this path, I highly recommend you branch out and listen to them and all the other greats.

You ever hear that joke? The one about comedy?
It goes, "Hey. Wanna know the secret to comedy?"
To which the person you ask would say, "What?"
And RIGHT before they even get out the first syllable you say extremely loud and obnoxiously, "TIMING!" before they even finish.
I'll find a spoken example and post it on your page so you can see.

Hope I was of some help to you.
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