A peek at my new thing

Previously, on “Jabbering with John”…

I told you how my daughter skillfully used the principles of anticipation and nervous excitement to magnanimously allow me to experience what a heart attack feels like.

Excitement and anticipation are fabulous ways of creating genuine interest in your offer. 

In comedy, it’s known as TENSION and RELEASE.

Steve Martin’s comedy was so unique because he subverted the form. While every other comic was using setups (tension) and punchlines (release), he asked the question:

“What if I kept building the tension without giving the audience a moment of release?”

What would a comedy act with no punchlines look like?

We don’t have to wonder… 

Let’s try something.

Here are the setups to some “two-line” jokes. Have a read and see how not having the punchlines makes you feel.

“And the Lord said unto John, ‘come forth and receive eternal life’…”

“I threw a boomerang a few years ago…”

“You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving…”

“My Uncle has the heart of a lion and a…”

“Women call me ugly until they find out how much money I make…”

“How many Germans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

If you’ve not heard these gags before, you’re liking wanting to open up Google and go on a search for the missing punchlines (worst Agatha Christie book ever).

Even if you tried to fill in the blanks with your own gags, you’re likely wondering what the REAL punchlines were, so you’re still going to check.

We need the release.

It gets worse. I’m not going to give you the answers.

How does that feel?

OK, I’m not that cruel. I AM going to give you the punchlines, but I’m going to wait until the P.S. 

See if you can make it to the end of the email before… you’ve already been to look, haven’t you? I knew it.

When you have something new to offer the world, it tempting to spill your guts about it. You’re excited and you want the whole world to hear about your new lamppost detector.

If you want your baby to be as successful as possible though, you need to build some excitement and anticipation around it.

Here’s a simple way of doing that…

Treat it like a Netflix series.

Before you do anything, plan out the whole thing on paper. Whatever it is your creating or showcasing to the world, plot the whole thing out on paper. See it from 10,000 feet.

Once you can see the whole thing, break it into sections that you can drip feed to your audience, like episodes of a TV show. 

If you’re struggling to find “episodes”, create some.

For example, if your book is about to be published, you could do a free challenge to build interest – and show people the basic process – right before publication date. 

Give them genuine value in the challenge, but leave them wanting more.

If you don’t fancy running a challenge, you could produce a short series of webinars, detailing an overview of the book’s contents, whipping them into a frenzy for more.

Think of your favourite mystery mini-series. The plot develops – with all it’s twists and turns – over seven episodes before the “big reveal” in the last one.

That’s the kind of thing that you’re after.

Also, remember that every episode doesn’t have to be packed with action, romance, twists and cliffhangers. 

Some are subtle.

Maybe one of your “episodes” is a Facebook post or a quick LIVE. 

Maybe you just give them the title. Or a glimpse of the cover. Or tease them with the problem it solves.

Give them something that gets them a little more excited about your thing.

(I have got to stop typing “thing”. The double entendre police will come down hard on me)

I have a few more ideas on specific tactics and ideas about anticipation and excitement, but I’ll save them for a PDF on the “Google Drive of AWESOMENESS!!!!“, as this email has gone on far too long already.

To increase excitement and anticipation, think:

“What would my thing look like if it was a Netflix series?”

Oh, and speaking of the Google Drive of AWESOMENESS!!!!…

…it’s coming next week.

At the moment it contains:

  • a comedy writing technique that you can immediately use to funny-up pretty much any content you create (written, video, podcast, the editorial column for the local parish magazine), and
  • a PDF guide to making a very specific element of your marketing more humourous.

That’s next week though…

Until then, have a majestically translucent weekend,



Here are the punchlines you’re looking for:

“And the Lord said unto John, ‘come forth and receive eternal life’…

 …but John came fifth and won a toaster.”

“I threw a boomerang a few years ago…

 …I live in constant fear.”

“You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving…

 …you need a parachute to go skydiving TWICE!”

“My Uncle has the heart of a lion and a…

 …lifetime ban from the local Zoo.”

“Women call me ugly until they find out how much money I make…

 …then, they call me ugly and poor.”

“How many Germans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

 One. Germans are very efficient and not very funny.”