I've been married to Elizabeth for over 12 years now, though we've been together for over 20 years. She's my writing parter. While I'm good at writing basic joke structure, setup + punch, she's the master at adding short, zippy tags.
Tonight we went for a walk. I was going over my 15 minute set with her, telling her about some new jokes I wrote and how I streamlined others. As always, She added a few strong tags to the mix. She proposed changing the order of the jokes. She explained that by swapping jokes (putting one in front of the other) it would be a better build up to the now second joke.
We worked through this and at the end of the day it required too many words to segue between the two in the new order. She explained that despite the words, it was still a stronger order. I told her she was probably right, but my experience over the last month writing and delivering shorter, setup + punch jokes on stage has proved to me that one of the immutable laws of comedy is e as ruthless as possible when eliminating the words between setup and punch, and between punchlines in sequential jokes.
She pleaded her case again. And once again I explained that the proof was there. Even though the build up was good, I feel more comfortable saying fewer words on stage.
Why post this one my blog? Because I've been a writer all my life. Up to now I've had the luxury of writing things and then sending them out into the world with little to no repercussion if it wasn't good. Now, when I write something bad or poorly structured, I'm forced to say it in front of a room full of people that will determine in a second or two if it is funny. A much different situation, to say the least.
Really, the purpose of this post is to tel my wife, Liz, and her sick sense of humor for helping me with my act.