“I know you think people are going to be interested in this…but they’re not.”
That’s how the video of Jerry Seinfeld, talking about how to write a joke, begins.
Joke writing is not sexy. it’s not fun.
It’s exactly the opposite of what you think it would be.
I won’t waffle on too much because the video explains the idea better than I ever could, especially since it’s one of the greatest comedians on the planet doing the explaining.
There are some things I want to point out though:
COMEDY STARTS WITH TRUTH.
Did you spot the truths in Jerry’s jokes?
“The snack is as nutritious as the box”
“It’s not fresh, because it was never fresh”.
Notice how he takes the truth about Pop Tarts and makes it funny.
it all starts with truth.
He talks about shaving syllables and words out of jokes, to get it to flow better, as it’s more like songwriting.
Comedy is spoken, not written. But even written words are read aloud in the heads of the audience.
(That sounds deep and meaningful, but it’s not. It’s just true.)
If you take nothing else from the video, it should reinforce the idea that writing comedy is a craft – it takes work (2 years of work in the case of the Pop-Tart joke!)