You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘syllables’ tag.

Man wearing briefs

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Nick,

Be brief(s).

You talk too much. Too many words drop out of your flapping head, and flounder about on the floor like dying carp. Word after word after word comes out, and it has to stop. Preferably by the Friday after next.

We all talk too much, of course, but it is one of the biggest problems when you’re starting in standup. Every word you use that isn’t a punchline means your audience is waiting longer for their punchline. Every word you use that isn’t setting a punchline up is just wasted.

Although there are many, many ways of doing standup comedy (and I am hardly one to talk about using too many words), to begin with you must master the setup and punchline. For your first set, we will be almost exclusively working on the basis of setup and punch. Any word that is neither setting your joke up (misleading the audience, heightening their expectations, putting them in a mood you are bout to undercut) or paying one off is an unfunny word. It’s a useless, wasted beat in your routine. It is, although it is filled with sound, dead air.

You, I think, may well have to conquer your natural, professional hatred of silence. Silence is your friend. You can use it to intimidate your enemies, sneak a look at the notes written on your hand, or to feign a swoon, and wait for someone to carry you off stage. In comedy extra words are confusing, a distraction from the real job of making your audience laugh.

So, your first job is to think of some jokes. Your next job is to take out every unnecessary syllable. Every one. Evy on. N.

Advertisements

Subscribe with RSS

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13,417 other followers

Twitter Feed

  • RT @ZoeTomalin: Just absent-mindedly put a strawberry into a glass of Prosecco and 5 women I've never met burst into my kitchen screaming "… 6 hours ago
  • RT @charles_gaba: “The man that raped Jessica still has visitation rights to her two children. The judge told Jessica she'd have to spend 4… 10 hours ago
  • RT @pauljholden: Hey Netflix, I’ve a prank show for you: we find the worst investor bros and toxic hedge funds and prank then into thinking… 11 hours ago
  • RT @linkshund: Corollary to this: the Iraq war was a mistake but to learn from this mistake or hesitate to repeat it is sheer folly. https:… 12 hours ago
  • RT @linkshund: The unshakeable core tenet of Centrism is that having been wrong about Iraq is ok but having been right about Iraq is unforg… 12 hours ago
Advertisements