performers.net forums  

Go Back   performers.net forums > BUSKING STUFF > BUSKING Q&A/GENERAL PERFORMING TOPICS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-20-00, 02:48 PM   #1
Frisbee
Senior Member
 
Frisbee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 753
Post Writing comedy...the creative process.

What kind of brain storming process do you use to write material for your show...whether it be street show, theatre show, stand-up material?...I am for some reason hitting some road blocks for material for a show I am writing that is going to be performed in March...and I am wondering if any of you have come across certain exercises that help your creative juices to flow freely again...I guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue... feel free to e-mail me anything as well if you don't want to post.

-Frisbee

frisbeeshow@usa.net
__________________
_____________________________
THE GREG FRISBEE SHOW
Comedy Juggler | Variety Performer

www.FrisbeeShow.com
_____________________________
Frisbee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-00, 03:02 PM   #2
karen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Lightbulb

inversion tables, sensory deprivation chambers, and hot fudge sundaes... so i've heard.
or you could be the kid who eats melted crayons. they were always the popular ones with brilliant ideas. nod nod, wink wink.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-00, 04:07 PM   #3
Frisbee
Senior Member
 
Frisbee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 753
Default

mmmmmmm, Icecream sundae..mmmmmmmm with hot melted crayons....mmmmmmmmm how could I not have thought of that....two great things that go great together...like chocolate and peanut butter!!! Thanks Karen for the suggestion

-Frisbee
__________________
_____________________________
THE GREG FRISBEE SHOW
Comedy Juggler | Variety Performer

www.FrisbeeShow.com
_____________________________
Frisbee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-00, 04:23 PM   #4
Brian Wilson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 85
Send a message via ICQ to Brian Wilson
Post

Write out everything you can think of realting to the topic. Research out some statistics/ information, then try/start writing punchlines with what you have. Brainstorm, write alot, the more jokes you write the better (it means you can weed out the crappy ones, as surely there will be plenty.)
__________________
Bri
www.cowguys.com
Brian Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-00, 11:13 PM   #5
Rich Potter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 187
Post

Bounce the ideas off someone; tell them to people you trust. Sometimes they'll have a suggestion; sometimes the act of verbalising it will bring a new element to mind.

The biggest thing for roadblocks is to change your frame of reference: take a walk, go for a drive, fold laundry, dress your dog in lingerie, slice tomatoes...something like that.

I get my biggest flashes when I step away from the sketchbook or computer and either walk the dog, sit on the subway, or take a shower. (You can often tell I'm not feeling brilliant when I start to stink)

Archimedes came up with the flash of brilliance concerning the relation between mass and volume via the displacement of water while settling into an evening bath.

--Rich

__________________
Rich Potter
Comedy, Juggling, and
Other Disasters
Rich Potter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-00, 09:11 AM   #6
Brian Wilson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 85
Send a message via ICQ to Brian Wilson
Post

I'm a big advocate of creating material in your shows. I think we (The Cowguys) wrote aout 5-6 new lines in our christmas shows. It was REALLY fun and the new laughs from new lines taste so good! Keep a pad handy at your shows and do a mini-critique after your show. What worked? What didnt? Write down new lines, etc.
__________________
Bri
www.cowguys.com
Brian Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-00, 09:27 AM   #7
scot
Senior Member
 
scot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 1,169
Send a message via AIM to scot
Angry

Record your shows

Write to scotty meltzer

Talk to random people on the street. If you're doing real street shows you can just talk to people. Stop someone, do a trick for them tell them your joke. If they like it, it's an ok joke. If more people stop it's a good joke. If they turn out to be incharge of hiring people for the tonight show and they sign you then rember who your friends are.

Examine word plays. Puns suck but who cares? Most jokes are based on puns anyway. People like them if they are presented in the right way. Think about every single thing that is going on in your show and in the audience.

Really, you don't need to write your own jokes. There is plenty of material out there. Get a copy of bartlett's quotations. All my jokes wer once told by Abraham Lincoln. Nobody tracks that far back.

I like to watch interviews and make up smart alec answers that belittle barbra walters. You might want to start with a latenight comedy interview.

Get lots of sleep and eat right.

Make fun of someone that thinks he's funny. It's the only way you can really get to most guys because it's the only personal side they expose.

It's a painful process. You can tell by viewing at the unsightliness of most comedians.



------------------
The Lonnie Anderson of juggling,
Scot Nery
__________________
scot@jugglegood.com
scot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-00, 09:29 AM   #8
scot
Senior Member
 
scot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 1,169
Send a message via AIM to scot
Angry

You included 5-6 lines in your show? what, was it set to music?

------------------
The Lonnie Anderson of juggling,
Scot Nery
__________________
scot@jugglegood.com
scot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-00, 10:00 PM   #9
Brian Wilson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 85
Send a message via ICQ to Brian Wilson
Post

We came up with 5 or 6 new jokes for our show.. you know spontaneously as the show(s) unfolded.
__________________
Bri
www.cowguys.com
Brian Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-00, 02:06 AM   #10
Todd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145
Hey!

Dont be afraid to suck.
Be the suckyest suck that ever sucked.
Turn of the part of your head that says "NO YOU MIGHT SUCK" or the part that says "HEY YOU SUCK. ALL YOUR IDEAS SUCK."
Just turn them off and let it flow.
Your brain does a cool thing, when it starts it sends up the sucky ideas. If you say "yes" to them it gets suprised and sends up another idea. If you say "yes" to that one it thinks you trust it so it sends up an ok idea. Say "yes" to that one and it begins to trust you (it being your sub animal mind) and begins to send out good ideas. Thats why you always get good lines as ad libs during a show. Your brain trusts.
This is no lie. Your brain really works like this.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-00, 01:29 PM   #11
Butterfly Man
Refurbished Member
 
Butterfly Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Farthest point south in US
Posts: 1,606
Hat

I really like what Todd says ... there certainly seems to be an element of truth in trusting that your brain will come up with something (out of necessity) ... to put yourself in that position, however, requires balls as big as Jenny Jugg's ... don't forget though, the audience can write your material as well, if you give them a chance ... so many minds (out there) also living your moment with you ... trust Them as well!
__________________
butterflyman.com
Butterfly Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-00, 03:19 PM   #12
Adam Gertsacov
Senior Member
 
Adam Gertsacov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Yonkers, NY 10705
Posts: 103
Butterfly

I think I work differently than most people in our profession.
Most people look at what they do (their skills) and then come up with an idea that ties their skills together. Example: a juggler that puts together a cooking show.

Me, I come up with a concept first, usually a title, and then have to figure out a structure of acts that I can do that will match it.

Adam Gertsacov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-00, 06:24 PM   #13
Todd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145
Post

Good point Adam.
A good friend of mine, Joe Dieffenbacher, had an act/group for years called Los Payasos Mengiegos. They were one of the most creative acts I've ever seen. Street performance circus wierdness. Cool stuff. They created thier first show by hanging out in the Green room at Dell Arte (a big room with lots of props and stuff) and just finding a prop and riffing off of it and seeing what they could create with it. Thats a pretty fun process too.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-00, 06:38 PM   #14
Todd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145
Post

I teach/perform mask theatre and one of the things I tell students when we begin to work on pieces is this great quote I heard by Willam Defoe. To paraphrase he said that whatever an actors process is it should help the actor/performer set aside thier "ego agenda" so they can be in a better place to "play". I swear by this idea. It also work in relation to the audience. It's our job to create a performing space/atmosphere/whatever you wish to call it, where the audience is also able to set aside thier "ego agendas" so that they can be in a better place to play/pretend. The really good acts/shows whatever, make more hat/ get booked more/ have long runs, when they can create that atmosphere. Bill Irwin vs Michael Moschen. Both are awsome performers, but which one helps you set aside your "ego Agenda" so that you watch them with that wide eyed wonder that you used to watch with when you were a kid?
Just a thought.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-00, 11:56 PM   #15
Adam Gertsacov
Senior Member
 
Adam Gertsacov's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Yonkers, NY 10705
Posts: 103
Hey!

Hey! I know Joe! He was cleaning up at Dell'arte when I was there! (No, literally! He was the janitor. and working on a show.) He then met Minna (who was in my class) Later became the clown teacher (and while I was there doing a master class with Daniel Stein) I saw some excellent work that his students did.

Los Payasos are/were great (I don't think they perform anymore, now that Joe moved to Europe) They are great precisely because it's less about what they actually can do and more about the possibility of what they can do.

I saw a great thing where Rudy challenges a guy in the audience to choose between who is more feminine, him or a woman out of the audience. He has to choose, and eventually has to give Rudy a kiss. They make it so that it's incredibly funny and okay that he gives Rudy a kiss (this despite picking out the biggest lumberjack guy in the audience....

Adam Gertsacov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-01, 04:27 AM   #16
Chris
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1
Post

I'm sure this is nothing new, but some of the best gags come when I watch or experience very serious stuff.
Chris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-01, 10:29 AM   #17
Brian Wilson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 85
Send a message via ICQ to Brian Wilson
Lightbulb

I find that the best material comes to us during shows, adlibbed bits, spontaneous utterings spurred on by our audiences, Sometimes even heckles from the crowd. When i'm writing bits for our show, it helps to get into the same mental space as I'd be in if I was actually performing. Usually this includes drinking coffee after 8pm. Videoing the show also helps a great deal. After watching video you'll find yourself noticing little things you do during the act that you weren't aware of. Some are good, some are bad.
__________________
Bri
www.cowguys.com
Brian Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-01, 04:21 PM   #18
Todd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145
Post

I sometimes like to give myself challenges. Right now I'm working on a mask piece that Im letting get inspired by Thelonious Monk's "Monks Dream".
With Street show stuff I like to write bits where the audience gets to play too. Not active participation, but where they write the punchline, or the bit. I find it makes them feel included. Part of what your doing, so they feel closer, or as if they own part of the show. All you do is set things up to let them have the lightbulb go off.
I also love twisting the truth. We have all heard the stupid explinations that people give for tricks. Things as simple as fire eating or Blockhead, people have these absurd explinations for. Anyone, if they took the time could reason these things out (oh, the fire triangle) but they dont, so I like to use that. Give them enough real info to seem plausable then twist/tilt it so they either buy the false explination (you get a laugh) or they realize you are putting them on and they feel like they are playing, because they figured out you are playing with them, thus they are part of the show.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-01, 04:26 PM   #19
Todd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145
Post

Brian is right. I get get ad-lib idea in the middle of a show. Some of my favorite lines have come out that way. I think it goes back to my "sucky idea" theory. That and listening to the audience. Your Sub mind gets tired of not getting the laugh, or the reaction it wants, so suddenly it puts two and two together gets seven and you toss it out to great laughs.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-01, 06:25 PM   #20
Brian Wilson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 85
Send a message via ICQ to Brian Wilson
Lightbulb

Todd, you can probably relate to this. When working with a partner I find that there are a few dynamics to keep in mind, especially when working with the crowd.

The duo obviously has moments (sometimes entire shows) when they are strictly playing to themselves and interacting with only each other. This is really an emphasis on their relationship with each other. Martin and Lewis, Abbot and Costello, are both classic examples of this. There is an obvious fourth wall, and they're playing to and off of each other.

The other dynamic is the performers with the audience, either independantly or as a team.
and with the audience as independant audience members and as a whole. I find in our show that I end up interacting with hecklers, distractions etc, while Jon does most of the cheerleading bits (working with the crowd as a whole, getting the energy pumping.)

Two different vibes, and relationships to consider... Comments, questions answers?

And Todd. I think it was really funny when we were visiting Maryland a few years back, and i borrowed your clubs. While chewing a piece of gum pretty visibly i threw a bunch of tricks. I think you were most impressed with my multitasking (chewing and juggling at the same time). Your comment "Hey you should tour!" has stuck with me.
__________________
Bri
www.cowguys.com
Brian Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.