Spinning The Wheels As Only Trevor Dean Can

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Progress is difficult to track in life when you are trying to reach certain goals.  In comedy it’s a bit easier to track that progress because in the end, it’s all about the laughs.  If you think you’ve knocked your material out of the park and nobody laughs, it’s usually a sign to head back to the drawing board for minor revisions to properly hit those laugh triggers the next time out.

Personally speaking, the comedy treck has been a strange one to say the least.  When I first started, I wrote a shitload of material with maybe only 10% of it being funny enough to work with.  As I wrote, even those 10% of jokes had a fatal flaw that many newer comics face.  I had a lousy punchline, or worse yet I would unknowingly put the punchline into the setup making the audience confused and losing them that much quicker.

Once I started receiving coaching from my comedy coach it became easy to see the process to write jokes.  After a few months I had a choice to make.  I could either go through the 100+ pieces of material I wrote and make them funnier through rewrites, or I could simply trash it all and start from scratch with the new tools I’ve learned.  Ultimately I chose to trash it all.  Some of the jokes I wrote originally while they were clever, weren’t necessarily funny.  There’s a difference between funny and clever.  People reacting to a clever comment won’t have tears in their eyes or their sides ache from laughing so hard.

I also see the “character” that Jerry believes I can make a go at.  While this is great, it has taken a while to figure out material.  I can’t do topical stuff anymore.  Not to say I couldn’t make topical stuff work, but it’s not me; coming from me it’s not as easy of a sell as the character is that we are trying to develop here.

It’s not easy though.  Last week I decided to write one new piece of material a day.  If it was an original joke, it was rewritten to be funnier or I simply came up with a brand new idea.  So to now write material based on a very specific reference point isn’t easy at the start, at least for me it sure isn’t.  It takes time, patience and you really have to think and break everything down to its lowest common denominator to properly analyze the humour in what you write.

I’ve come up with a great new topic to write about, and some decent ideas for new material.  The setup is perfect and could really work well with my “character”, but I don’t know how to finish.  I realize that my struggles with finishing a joke aren’t only limited to me because the punchline is the hardest thing to write.  Fuck up the punchline and you’ve wasted a good joke.  It doesn’t matter how great the setup is.  If the punchline falls flat you’re dead in the water regardless of how clever or funny the setup may have been.

With the failures off in the past, but not forgotten I try to write and make each joke as good as I can.  I remember what it was like for nobody to laugh at my stuff, even worse that my friends didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt enough to tell me not that my stuff didn’t work, but why it didn’t work.  They are part of the motivation I have to get better, to make my improvement SO OBVIOUS that they will have no choice but to offer up their praise.

I don’t have this mastered yet, I just wonder how much longer I will continue to write decent jokes with no clue about a punchline to write.  I haven’t talked with my comedy coach in a few months also, it would be great to sit down and get help from a person who believes you are capable of doing great things.  I want to get better, but I feel somewhat helpless at the moment.

Hopefully that passes soon.

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