Funny Business – Mixing Things Up

Alright! We’re into the final furlong…

…the home stretch…

…the, er…I wish I knew more about sports.

We have our truths about our work, we’ve added some attitude and created some insightful and original premises and we’ve acted them out a bit, just to see if there’s any gag material there…

…now what?

Now, we add the final element – mixing things up a bit.

This is a fun part of the joke writing process. It’s the bit where you look at the idea behind your premise and ask:

  • Can you imagine if __ did this?

Let me show you with an example, selfishly chosen from my own work.

In fact, let’s use the specific example I used in my last post.

I know you remember, but I’m going to copy and paste it anyway!

[Premise] “What’s scary about a customer thinking all magicians are the same is that they will probably choose one based on an insignificant factor.”

[Act out – of a bride, sat at a computer, choosing a wedding magician]
“…Brian, this is the most important day of our lives, we need to get this right…[acting out scrolling past websites]…”Times new roman…nope!
Comic Sans…BLOCK!
GARAMOND! Yes! We’ve found our magician!”

Not a perfect joke, and, if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely happy about using “font” for the insignificant factor, but it’s good enough to work with for now.

Now we need to squeeze some more laughs out of it by adding in a mix.

Let’s take the idea and apply it to something else.

What would be a really silly example of this (i.e. of choosing something/someone based on an insignificant factor)?

“Imagine if…”

Imagine if…you chose a husband/career/doctor with the same level of thought…?

There are LOTS of directions you can go with this, so don’t expect this to come right away.

It’ll take some time and ideas will come at you at weird and unexpected mom…BOMB DISPOSAL!


“What if a bomb disposal expert employed a similar technique for choosing between things; in her case, between a red and green wire…”

“Red wire….green wire…red wire…green wire. How am I meant to know which?…wait a minute…this shade of green is EMERALD green…my wife loves emeralds and it’s her birthday soon. It’s a sign…THANK YOU UNIVERSE. I’ll cut the green wire and everything will be just fi…”.

(Her funeral will be held on Monday…)


Look at your premise and ask yourself, “what if someone else did this?”

The ask it again…and again. Look at your premise from every single angle that you can possibly imagine.

Careers/animals/famous people/politicians/TV shows/characters/groups – see your premise through the eyes of them all and play it out.

Get really specific when you do this. Don’t just imagine a politician, for example, choose A SPECIFIC POLITICIAN (contrary to popular belief, they are not all the same).

Look at your premise and ask:

“How can we exaggerate this idea to the point of almost being ridiculous?”
“What is the most extreme example I can imagine for this idea?”

Have fun. Play. Try things.