Crafting Comedy That Packs A Punch…
This is great old clip of Patton Oswalt discussing a magic act he worked with having a road melt down! Patton is such a fine example of a wordsmith comedian!
In the spirit of this blog’s message, I will make this brief!
Eliminate any extra words in your dialogue. Know what you are going to say and then write it down in the form of a script. Next go through that script and then carefully discard all unnecessary words. See how many words can be edited out of your jokes without it affecting the laugh and then ruthlessly cut them out. It requires hard work and discipline to write a really tight joke but it pays big dividends. Be particularly careful to make sure that your joke finishes on the punch line. Burying the punch line is a cardinal sin in the comedy world; make sure you don’t reduce your laughs by running on to long and cannibalizing your own material. Less words almost always results in more laughs.
Professional comedians spend endless hours refining what they say and how they say it to get the biggest response. It isn’t uncommon to see a magician who has spent endless hours perfecting their magic be sloppy or overindulgent in their dialogue. Know what to say and the most effective way to say it. To this end it is very useful to tape record your act and then edit, edit, edit. While videotaping a magic show gives you an excellent handle on the visual aspect of your show, the use of a tape recorder can be a much more useful tool in discovering where your patter needs to be pruned. Be precise.