Run-on Sentence Summary
Guru Judy Carter gives a step by step 26 day plan for writing your first formulaic stand-up routine.
This book is heavily geared towards aspiring comics looking to make a career out of comedy. I don’t have any interest in that, and ended up skimming over large portions of the book, such as what it takes to be a professional comic and how to write sitcom scripts.
I was more idly curious about stand-up as a craft, and Carter gives lots of practical advice. Most of it is straightforward and expected. Don’t write about hack topics like airline food, write about something that is authentic to yourself.
She literally breaks down day by day exactly what to do so that anybody can create a stand-up routine. To me it felt like it sucked the life out of the whole process. What you’ll write is going to be formulaic, because she literally provides the formula! Here it is:
Attitude + Topic + PREMISE + Act-out + Mix + Act-out
So first, pick one of four attitudes: either weird, hard, scary or stupid. Then, pick a relatable premise: “Its hard getting older.” Then make it funny “It’s hard being older. I used to take acid and now I’m taking antacid.” Now you’ve got a one liner, but stand-up is a performance art and the big laughs will come if you act it out. Pantomime being an old lady with indigestion. etc etc.
I don’t want to be too hard on her, because this book is exactly what people must want to get over anxiety and force themselves to start.
“The “funny first” approach to creativity can be stifling and depressing when nothing seems funny. A more productive approach is starting with an unfunny topic and making it funny.”