Can You Help Me Finish The Joke?

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I have this joke I wrote quite a while back.  It’s funny but it needs some work, so I am soliciting input from you, my readers and followers of The Stand-Up Diaries to help me round this joke into form.  I do plan on using it at my upcoming show on June 1st.

Before I tell you the joke, I will let you in on a small piece of the teachings I have received from my comedy coach.

Comedy is structure.  The set-up to a joke needs to have some truth to it for you, as the comic, to get the attention of the audience.  Then once you have established that truth it’s time for the punchline to shatter their perceptions and come up with an ending (punchline) that is the opposite of what the audience expected you to have as an outcome for that joke.  Do it correctly and you will hit certain laugh triggers to make the joke work.

Now, here is the joke.  Kinda in a joke form.

I wrote a bit about Captain Crunch cereal, you know?  The cereal that stays crispy in milk.  Anyhow, the basic premise for this joke is that I believe Captain Crunch was invented by alcoholics instead of the cereal company.  Why?

Well, remember in your younger days when you were out with your friends after a night of getting completely wasted at the bar?  At closing time you do one of two things.  You will either hit the McDonalds drive-thru or you will get home and decide (in your infinite wisdom) that you should make an elaborate snack utilizing the stove, pots, knives and ingredients you find in the fridge.

What usually ends up happening once you start this process is that you make one hell of a mess, and you end up making your dish badly or you don’t finish it at all because you pass out on the kitchen floor.  The basic idea is that an alcoholic must have invented Captain Crunch because when they get home after a bender, they try to make something to eat in the kitchen.  Since they always pass out before the dish is complete, they came up with the recipe for Captain Crunch, so even if they pass out when they wake up in the morning it will still be crispy in milk.

Got that?

Okay.  Originally when I wrote this joke I couldn’t figure out why it got very little laughs.  Then I realized that I made a common mistake from when I wrote my early material.  I put the punchline at the beginning of the joke instead of at the end of the joke where it belongs!

I started the joke by saying “I think Captain Crunch was made by alcoholics.  Think about it…..when you get home from a bender at the bar, what’s the first thing you and your friends decide to do?  Hey!  Let’s have Frosted Flakes!  Then the kitchen looks like hell, and you did everything right, including putting milk in the cereal, you just forgot to eat it.  Now you wake up from your bender with soggy cereal.  Alcoholics made Captain Crunch because they can put the milk in the cereal, pass out, and wake up in the morning and have it still be crispy in milk.”

The punchline should include the reference that Captain Crunch was invented by alcoholics.

As I mentioned earlier, the set-up of the joke should be a factual statement that the audience can either understand or relate to on some level.  The set-up of the joke would talk about how your friends get home from the bar and decide to bake or cook something, then they end up passing out before the dish gets completed and the kitchen looks like shit as a result.  You wake up in the morning in the kitchen with food that isn’t done or went soggy or was undercooked, making that dish completely inedible and having to throw it away.

Then I would talk about the experienced party crowd who gets home and could make something that would still be fresh or edible when they woke up in the morning.  Then the punchline would kick in.

Lots of people in their partying days can relate to such a situation.  One of the easiest ways to make an audience laugh is for them to see themselves in the joke you are telling as the comedian.  That’s called recognition.  That’s one of the laugh triggers comics use.

I have the basics of the joke as far as the important points I want the audience to know, but the joke needs to be tightened up a bit.  This is where I would like your input.  I think it would be fun to get some ideas on how to structure this joke.

Remember though, through the set-up I want to make it factual and relevant, easy for the audience to understand and follow along with.  Nothing kills a joke quicker than an audience trying to connect all the dots during the set-up.  If you do that, you’ve confused the audience and lost them for that joke, so even if your punchline is really really good, it won’t get the desired laughs from the audience because they tuned you out when they had to connect too many dots.  Spending lots of time connecting the pieces of the set-up makes the joke not seem believable and you lose credibility on stage, unless you know how to bring an audience back.

Leave your comments below.  Remember that all comments have to be approved by me before they get posted to the blog, so don’t be shy!  Let’s see what you guys can come up with!   🙂

Be blessed!

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