A TedEd Video About How To Write Comedy

So this video starts out saying,

“Did you ever notice how many jokes start with “Did you ever notice?” And what’s the deal with “What’s the deal?” There’s a lot of funny to be found simply by noticing the ordinary, everyday things you don’t ordinarily notice every day.”

And I was like “Whoa! How did they know that this joke I’m working on right now starts out with ‘what’s the deal with dolphins?’ What are the chances?! This person must know a thing or two about comedy.”

Other things I noticed about this video:

  • it shares a lot of advice about asking questions, being specific, archetypes, surprise, mind mapping, observation vs. imagination, character, story, rule of 3, punch lines, and k words, but I feel like it leaves out the most important thing: get on stage
  • the bunny helps me follow along

The video is written and narrated by Cheri Steinkellner, an Emmy-award-winning comedy writer.

Great Comedians You Probably Haven’t Heard Of Week: Day One

I’m trying a thing to see if people like this sort of idea, and the thing is called “Great Comedians You Probably Haven’t Heard Of Week.”

I tried to make the title as straightforward as possible so that I don’t have to waste this paragraph explaining what I’m gonna do. You get it!

Some notes, though:

  • If you know about comedy, you might have heard some of these names before. If you don’t then you probably haven’t.
  • I chose comics that weren’t too unknown (all have been on tv) because it’s better that way.
  • I’m mostly sticking to NYC comedians. Why? I’ve seen more of them. It makes it more personal! (fake enthusiasm)

Day One: Michelle Wolf

I remember hearing about Michelle Wolf about a year ago and didn’t really know much about her. Well, she’s all over New York City and if you don’t know who she is then you’re crazy! (sorry) A few months ago, I saw her at Hot Soup, one of the best free stand up shows in the city. And she absolutely killed. She’s a lot of fun and her voice is pretty wacky.

She got her break performing at the Just For Laughs festival a few years back and she’s worked as a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Women In Comedy: A Documentary

Usually, I’m not a huge fan of separating men and women comedians. And that’s why I actually really enjoyed this documentary. Usually, the point of a documentary like this would be to go: “Oh wow, look how much of a path woman have blazed for other women in comedy.” But this documentary isn’t like that.

Yes, it’s all about women comedians and what they’ve accomplished in comedy. But what I enjoyed about it the most is the ending. The documentary gradually moves towards saying something to the effect of: “There is no difference between men and women in comedy anymore.” Which, I think, is really healthy. Sure, there are still some slight differences between men and women in comedy today, as there are always bound to be. But, those differences just aren’t worth bringing up anymore for the sake of moving past them. And that’s pretty much the consensus among every woman who is interviewed in the documentary.

Sarah Silverman, one of the last to share her two cents at the end, pretty much sums it up.

“The last relic of it being hard for women in comedy is the question – is the question: ‘What’s it like being a woman in a man’s world?’ And you go, ‘Oh, that question is the last thing left of it, because women run comedy.'”

The documentary was produced by Makers and you can watch it here. Sorry, I can’t find a way to embed it here because they used some weird format – probably precisely for that reason.


If you found this interesting, you can read more about my thoughts on women in comedy here.

Who Draws Comedy Posters?

One of my favorite parts of putting on a show is coming up with a poster. Comedy posters can be some of the coolest art out there. And they’re for a brilliant cause!

Joe Karg is an illustrator who has been drawing posters for hundreds of comedians for a few years now. He’s been drawing a poster for Whiplash, one of the best weekly shows in NYC, for the past year and he’s put together a book of all 52 posters.

If you can support the guy, great. But, I put the video here mostly so you can get a better look at what comedy posters are all about. I think it’s such a cool way for two different art forms to collide. Read this article to find out more.

Tig Notaro Doing What She Does Best

Tig Notaro is best known for her album “Live!” But I like her best for her typical stand up: silly, stupid commentaries on everyday things. And doing stupid things like pushing a stool around the sage for two whole minutes.

Watch out her Conan set from 2012. It’s fun. It’ll be good for you! You’ll like it, I swear!

Jerry Seinfeld on Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I’ve gotta go with sharing some classic Halloween material from Seinfeld today. I had a “Jerry Seinfeld Halloween” book when I was a kid that was based on these jokes. You might have heard the jokes a million times before, as is how Seinfeld operates, but the jokes are still classics…

Jim Gaffigan’s Show on TV Land is Great

If there’s anyone who deserves his own show it’s Jim Gaffigan. He’s been around forever and he’s such a big and well-liked name. Finally, he’s got one. And although it isn’t 100% about Hot Pockets, it’s pretty much what you would expect: a funny take on family life with a lot of food sprinkled in. Sprinkled in pretty much everywhere.

The show is actually super easy to find online since it’s on TV Land, a primarily online network. I didn’t know that TV Land existed until now, but it seems like a really cool space with a few different interesting-looking comedies.

As far as the Gaffigan Show episodes go, they are all pretty darn well written. They’re probably funniest to an older “I am a parent” audience, but I’m young and I still think they’re great. One thing to mention is that the show addresses comedy (Jim plays a comedian) but there’s no actual stand up in the show. I think it’s a cool balance between TV and stand up, since most comics who do a show either tend to one extreme or another in terms of incorporating stand up comedy.

It looks like they’ve taken away some of the episodes on the website, but you can still get a taste for the show! Below is a little clip.

Tim & Eric & A Super Bowl Commercial

You might have heard of Adult Swim comedy duo Tim & Eric and you might have seen Loctite’s crazy popular Super Bowl XL commercial Positive Feelings (where middle-aged people dance around awkwardly with fanny packs, singing along to a song about glue). But you might not know that Tim & Eric had anything to do with the TV spot.

The advertising agency that launched the ad, Fallon, hired Tim & Eric to direct the shooting of the commercial, as they wanted a weird, goofy feel that would catch the eye. They certainly achieved that; it’s one of the most memorable spots of the year.

I loved the commercial. And I only recently found out that a couple of comics had anything to do with the production, which makes me wonder why more comics aren’t sought out for consultation in advertising.

You can read more about the commercial here.

Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, and Louis CK Talk Comedy

Here’s a fifty-minute round table conversation about comedy between some of the best stand up comics of today. I’ve listened to this video several times over. It’s always fascinating to hear different perspectives on the nuances of comedy, from how jokes are written to how comedy compares to other art forms to whether sound checks are worth it. Apparently this happened on HBO and the segment is called Talking Funny, but I don’t know much more about it than that.

Master Class in Crowd Work

Todd Barry is a touring, headlining comic who most people know as “that comic guy from Louie.” He has a very flat, deadpan delivery but he does it better than most people I’ve heard. He sounds super sarcastic and a little like me but even drier, so maybe that’s partly why I like him.

His delivery is what makes his crowd work so impressive to me. With such a flat delivery it forces the conversation to be funny because of what Barry says and discovers. The crowd work really has content. Barry isn’t just being silly on stage, he’s quick and intuitive.

Speaking of Louie, Louis CK actually released Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour on his website for $5. You can also find it on Netflix. Or, I found it on YouTube as well. I’ll link that below, but who knows when it will disappear! Whoever uploaded the video to YouTube also put “Best Comedian Ever” in the title of the video, so take that as you will.