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Old 06-27-05, 08:16 AM   #1
Andy S
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Default Reoccuring jokes a good idea?

Hi everyone. I'm new, so sorry if this topic's already been exhausted.

I watch Whose Line is it Anyways a lot, and the funniest shows to me are the ones with reoccuring jokes. Sometimes it's a joke that actually works in many different situations, others it seems random after the first use , making it even funnier (to me). Is this generally a good or bad idea for street shows? In reading some of the articles here, I've heard several performers suggest focusing on a bond with your original audience -- the ones who would appreciate a reoccuring line or joke that was established at the beginning. But I'm sure that also could frustrate people showing up after a routine has started.

Any thoughts? Thanks for helping out a beginner.

-Andy S
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Old 06-27-05, 08:43 AM   #2
martin ewen
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They're called 'callbacks' (I Think) and they can be very effective. If the original crowd all get it and laugh the others know they are missing something but they include themselves the next time.
One more thing.

(see you don't get that but it doesn't matter because my core audience does. My core audience radiates into the rest of the crowd and infects them with a general feeling that what they are participating in is a really good time. Always focus on your core audience's entertainment dont think it's applicable online but it works on the street)

'Tennis ball' is a deliberately stupid but brilliantly effective callback that nick uses in one of his shows.

I'm really ineffective and indulgent and sometimes I will have a crowd of 100 or more and my core audience is 5 or 6 people.
They are the only people who 'get' close to 100% of my stuff, the others are spluttering along on 50%
but thats OK because to them its 100%
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Old 06-27-05, 10:09 AM   #3
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The only part of your post I cared about was the tennis ball.
I think I'll keep checking back to see if it turns up again

"an honorable and decent human being"
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Old 06-27-05, 04:48 PM   #4
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(see also running gag)

the best callbacks are improv ones.
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Old 06-27-05, 11:26 PM   #5
Marcus Wilson
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Default Yes its a good Idea.

Yes call backs are a good idea along with a lot of other things. If your trying to develop a funny show read some books on the subject it will help. Check these out . But the most important thing is just keep performing any chance you get. Being funny is something you get better at.
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Old 06-28-05, 02:31 AM   #6
Doctor Eric
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"the best callbacks are improv ones."

And then when they work, try to keep them, otherwise don't force it. I see guys try to write in call backs all the time to make themselves look clever, and it usually just makes them look like a smug prick. !@#? reading about comedy, just do it until no one will speak to you anymore. At that point you'll be forced to be funny. Comedy theory is slightly less interesting and entertaining than the inner mechanics of a broken down microwave oven, but nowhere near as useful.

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Old 07-03-05, 04:21 PM   #7
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Call backs are affective but not necessary. What is necessary is being funny. Improvising any joke is like playing Russian roulette with five chambers filled and one empty. The best improvers on the planet (including the Whoís Line guys) practice for hours every day writing one line jokes for every situation. It is only rarely that they come up with something on the spot that is actually funny enough to say. I have worked several times with one of the guys who writes Drew Careyís lines for Whoís Line, (Bruce Baum) and those guys donít F*** around. They would never use a joke on the show that they didnít already know would work.
Comedy writing books, whether you think they are boring or not will teach you joke structure. I have been booking stand up comedy shows for the last three years and have spent hundreds of hours watching some of the best (and subsequently some of the worst) comedians in the business. The ones that suck the most think that they are so damn funny that they canít learn anything from a book. If you are asking the question of whether callbacks are useful or not, you should do some heavy reading. Most of what you need to know can be found online
I personally donít do any tricks on stage, or use any props. All I do is write and tell jokes. I may not be a great magician like Eric, but I do know funny. Read, read, read, and then write, write, write.
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