February 23, 2018

How do you write one-liners? It all starts with words and phrases the comic encounters (or seeks out) in life. One approach to turning a phrase into a one-liner is misdirection which we explored in lesson 8. Misdirection jokes work on the ambiguity of phrases. Typicall...

February 16, 2018

There’s a problem with true stories in a stand-up context. The long set-up followed by the quick payoff is often the form that anecdotes take; they have this in common with the ‘shaggy dog story’ type of joke. It’s like we learned in the playground at school, and the f...

February 10, 2018

In 2007 I interviewed Richard Herring in a Caffe Nero in Hammersmith for the short-lived comedy magazine The Fix. I’d recently seen him perform and was struck by an extended dialogue he performed between an elderly couple consigned to a bonfire. (Yes really). This took...

February 2, 2018

Let’s zoom in and look more closely at a technique I mentioned in the last lesson: misdirection. I would unconsciously have laughed at misdirection for years, but I first became consciously aware of it watching Have I Got News For You in the 90s. (A formative decade fo...

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