I have been working on my standup comedy script and I did go to an open mic on Wednesday. I try to incorporate some limericks into my script. They make me stand out from the f-bombers and the stoners, not that being 30-40 years older than the next oldest comic doesn’t make me stand out.
There are two distinct aspects to stand up comedy – writing and acting/performing. I am a well trained at both. Granted, my formal education in these things took place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but I use the writing almost every day and I love the acting/performing so those lessons are not forgotten. Stand up comedy writing is formula writing. There has to be a laugh line every five to ten seconds. It’s a set up and a punch line followed by tags. Most of the time I write the punch lines first as they are things I save from daily life and ball busting with my friends. I know they work, because people laughed at it when it came out in conversation. Setting it up is where writing skill comes in. I am constantly tweek-ing the script to find a way to make the set up quicker and smoother. That is part of the fun. It comes from trial and error on stage testing.
The acting part is something all together different. That requires stage presence, timing and delivery; maybe some costume comedy and some body blocking and mugging. I really love this part. There is nothing that compares to the thrill of walking out on stage, having the lights hit you in the face and then, if it goes right, having an audience laugh at something you wrote and performed. The difference between this and acting in a play or film is that when you do that you are trying to interpret a character that came out of someone else’s mind and you have a director that also has an opinion of how the character should be played. With stand up comedy, you just have to be yourself and in my case, I am known as a bit of a character that is a bit out of his mind, so it is easy for me to come up with bits about me using self deprecating humor. No one can make fun of me better than I can and believe me, everyone close to me tries all the time.
One of my favorite comedy topics is marriage. For me, it is the mother lode of self deprecating material. The only problem with it is that it does not always play with the younger crowds. To reach out to them, I am going to have to start working in what has proven to be the most popular topic here at my blog – blow jobs. If I keep them clever and tasteful (pun intended), I am OK with going there. But marriage has been a great source of jokes for me. As previously stated, my knowledge of women is next to nothing (https://jgkravitz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=133&action=edit) and I have been married for close to thirty years to three very different women. That combination has led to many comical situations.
For me, the secret to marriage has been that I am good at being told what to do. Despite the outward appearance that I want to be the lead and tell all the jokes, what I am best at is being a straight man and the brunt of all the jokes. that is where the self deprecating humor flows like a river up north in the spring after the snow melts and torrential rains. Severe flooding. The best part of taking this approach to marriage is that it takes a lot of thinking out of play, which is good as there is a lot of pressure and liability attached to serious thinking. I like to keep my cerebral activity to things like writing my stand up script, this blog and my limericks. When I am asked to do it otherwise, I take on a strong resemblance to Curly Howard.
MO: Ok, you knuckleheads, think of something
CURLY: Ooh, ooh, ooh
MO: What’s the matter?
CURlY: I tried to think, nuthin’ happened!
So I am good with letting my wives make the rules and I try to play by them. Now of course, I realize there is a double standard and two sets of rules, but I am OK with that too. As my sister used to say, “Don’t trouble trouble unless trouble troubles you.” Doing it this way is the only way to take the trouble out of play. In my script I do a bit about taking the problem of infidelity out of play by going to a vet and having myself gelded. I did the set for my wife the other night before I went off to the open mic, when I got to this part, she remarked that if I were to be unfaithful, she wouldn’t be taking me to the vet for that surgical procedure.
And it led to this:
I’m not one of those chauvinist fools
Who contemptuously breaks his wife’s rules.
The penalty’s too severe.
I’d rather just say, “Yes dear”
And hang on to my family jewels.