People will often ask me, “Andrew, how do you come up with this stuff?” It’s not an easy thing to explain. You have to really be me to know how the inner workings come up with such prepostorous stuff. I never know when it will strike me, but I make sure I always have something to write on when it does. It’s not even really making the effort either. I mean, sometimes I’ll try to think up some jokes and maybe I’ll get one or two good ones out of five that I feel I had to “force.” But it’s better for me to think of jokes while in a conversation or while thinking about something else. I think of more observational stuff when I’m just talking and hanging out. It’s more or less the equivalent of a joke writing opiphany. Or however you spell that word. Sometimes I’ll just write stuff and shit will just come out. It’s like one of my jokes was “in the closet” waiting to burst out and tell the world it exists. I don’t know. It just happens.
Sometimes, when I watch comedians, I develop ideas about different things. That is why I love to watch different comedians and see how my ideas are similar to them. But many of my ideas are different than theirs as well. But one comedian, named Jim Gaffigan, did this joke that just spoke so true to me, it was amazing: “You ever had one thing to do all day, but you just didn’t do it? You’re like, ‘I gotta go to the bank, but that means I’d have to put on pants. I’ll have to do that next week.’” That just reminds me of how I think. Relatable material. In some respect, that’s what sells. One thing that really resonates with me is getting all motivated to do something and then just “not.” It’s like you get all geared up to do something and then ya don’t. It’s like, “I’m gonna start my own business, yeah! Let’s do it!” Then the next day, I’m like, “What the hell was I thinking? Starting my own business? How gay is that?”
One thing I like about developing jokes is putting a set list together. I like to surprise people. For example, mixing up jokes is one of my specialties. Many comedians you know like to transition their material, but not me. I do it like I just thought of each joke as it comes to me. It’s more real, at least to me. Like I may do a joke about volunteering at an old folk’s home, then go to Native Americans trying to get a reservation at the Olive Garden. It’s all up here.
One tool that really works well for developing original premises is journaling. Just either when you wake up, or right before you go to bed, just write stuff down. Write whatever comes off your hand to the pen. Whatever is in the back of your mind, push it to the front and let it loose. Jerry Seinfeld used to write for one hour every day and used a timer, supposedly. That’s a little too structured for me.
A lot of comedians like to tell stories. I find that really boring, unless there’s jokes peppered throughout the whole thing. If there isn’t, it’s like watching a slide show of my aunt’s trip to the barren landscape of Arizona. I mean, come on. Make me laugh, don’t make me sleep. People like stories, though. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they feel they can relate to it. Like a story about a breakup. But if you’re going to do that, at least have a few punchlines in there. Not only one because it’s going to take too long to get where you need to go, which will make the audience forget what you were talking about.
One-liners are jokes that often get a big response, but they often don’t have much substance to them. But they can be very funny. Steven Wright, Rodney Dangerfield, Mitch Hedberg. They’re all somewhat household names among comedy fans. Among non-comedy fans, I’m sure no one knows who they are, but that’s not important. They’re not the people who will be able to carry on long conversations about the dilvery of Carrot Top.
I really want to call Comedy Cabana and see if I can open for someone soon. It’s mostly going to be after I get my driver’s license (I’m 20). Once I can go down there and hang out with the comedians and eventually headline there, I’ll be awesome. It’s just the transportation problem right now. Eventually, I’m hoping to go somewhere that I have at least six or seven comedy clubs to oscillate between, which will give me optimal stage time. Also, open mic nights are key. I’ve done my share of those. All I gotta say is I have the material. If you were to look at all my jokes, (100s of pages), you’d know I could wow quite a bit of audiences, so I need to start performing more and getting more laughs. But I believe I’ve got the material down. On to performing! Peace out. (I have performed over ten times. I just need to do it more frequently.)