You can’t watch that God awful X Factor program for five minutes without hearing:
“You made that song your own…”
This is usually after some teenager has completely butchered “Bridge over troubled water” by adding some drum and/or bass and bastardising it into a rap.
Comedians do this too – they talk about similar topics, but put their own comedic slant on it. They work really hard to get this absolutely right. If you see a comedian on Netflix, appreciate that she has busted her ass off for many, many years in comedy clubs, whittling away at the act, so it’s perfect – until it’s “her”.
It’s not easy.
But you need to get started somewhere and, for people who’ve never written comedy before, it’s pretty scary.
So, if you want to start writing comedically about your business, where do you start?
Easy. Steal someone else’s voice.
I know what you’re thinking. “isn’t blatantly stealing someone else’s voice a comedic crime, like overrunning for 45 minutes on your 5-spot or saying ‘I find the comedic talents of Jim Davidson refreshing and fabulous!'”.
Well, yes. Stealing someone’s voice as a comedic business plan is a terrible idea, but as a practice aid, it’s bloody fabulous!
Think of the comedian you’ve seen the most, not necessarily the one you like the best. The reasoning behind this is that, to make this nice and easy (it is the weekend after all), you need to be as familiar as possible with the comedian’s voice.
This exercise isn’t quite so easy if you’ve not seen much of their work.
Once you have a comedian in mind, rewatch a few of their shows. You can either phone them up, pay them millions of pounds to fly out to your house and perform their “A” set in your living room, or you can have a quick search on YouTube – your choice.
Now that their voice is fresh in your mind, open up a recent blog, social media post or your website copy.
Imagine that you’re the comedian and read through it.
- How would they say it?
- How would they respond to various words, sentences and ideas?
- Would they expand elements?
- Would they use different words?
The more you do this, the more comfortable you’ll get with the exercise.
It’s a good exercise to practice.
To make sure you don’t end up being a clone of Chris Rock, Lee Evans or Les Dennis, make sure you change things up – do it for different comedians and characters.
Just get used to putting a “spin” on your words. We’ll get round to creating your own comedy voice later…