Every now and then a comic conjures up a masterpiece.
A joke so striking in its resonance, so clever in its composition that it becomes an instant all-timer.
What makes them work? How is it that you respond to them so well?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the comedy cookbook. A mini-series on the blog that looks at exactly what makes some comedy gems so effective.
First of all, though, humour is subjective so these are going to be bits that I found to be stellar. And I’ll explain why. That said, I’m not dismissing my personal taste at all (so a part of you should enjoy this as well).
Check out this bit about alcohol by Jim Breuer:
The killer concept he uses involves comparing heavy drinking to an actual party taking place in your stomach (the joke starts building about a minute into the clip):
Ingenious, isn’t it?
Breuer uses the analogy of an actual club bouncer which immediately brings a whole lot of associations to your mind.
Bouncers are the tough guys. The control freaks that keep things in check – and so does the stomach in this case.
With that in mind, the rest of the pieces of the puzzle (partygoers, the rowdy atmosphere) fit so perfectly into place and you’re able to keep up with him.
It’s the simplicity of the idea that makes it such a belter.
We’re so familiar with the social set-up that Breuer refers to. The strength of the joke is in the associations we make.
And when I say familiar I don’t mean that you have need to have a hectic nightlife to be able to follow it.
Killer concepts like this are just one of so many types of jokes that add juice to a set. And when you stumble on such a thing in a creative process, it’s the sweetest feeling in the world.
So that’s just a first look at a small chunk of what makes comedy work when you’re trying to cook up a storming set.
I’ll be back with more.