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Topic: How to Be Funny?
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 6, 2008 08:16PM)
Don't harsh on me since I never perform Ventriloquist before...and I bill my self as a Hypnotist/Suggestionist....mainly my show become funny due to the nature of how my subject react in the Funny Skits that I sugest to them


since naturaly Im not a Funny fellow....

take away the Funny Skits&Suggestion and take away the Subject.....only me and the Vent Dummy (I choose to use "Man Eating Plants")....so how to be Funny with this?....does anyone of you trully learn Comedy?.....how do you guys start to be funny?....

I already develope the Character of this Dummy....but again my Question is....

How to be Funny?

can you give me pointers?....maybe a link to certain system?......

and please don't ask me to watch clips on "YouTube"

since that doest not answer the theory of "How to be Funny?"

Thank you for your kind reply
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Feb 6, 2008 09:46PM)
There are plenty of ways to be funny but the question is will it fit your performance style...

You can bring out the Axtell Plant and he starts shouting and growling and telling everyone he wants to eat some ugly people today and he looks at one person...takes a double look and says...oooooh yummmy...come to papa you ugly son of a ...

... or I want to eat some horny people today...looks at one of the audience makes a double look...tilt backwards and say, oh you're too much for me...too much calories.

There are plenty possibilities my friend :)

In a Nutshell...being funny will depend on your materials :)

Just my personal views my friend from Indonesia...May not be necessarily correct :)
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 6, 2008 11:36PM)
To my fellow perfomer:

The theory of "how to be funny?" There is no theory. If there was, there would be many, many, many, did I say "many", more funny perfomers out there. You stated yourself that you are not a "naturally funny fellow". If so, then why are you trying to push it? Do what you do best. A sense of humor cannot be learned from a book, DVD or the internet. You can develop and increase your sense of humor certainly, however there has to be an inate sense of what is funny within you. Otherwise you will just have to rip off all the people whom you think is funny and try to do their material.

I suggest watching videos of anyone and everyone whom you think is funny and try to understand why they are funny. Don't copy them, just try to get a feel of what makes them funny.

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 7, 2008 05:05AM)
Hmmm.....so being Funny is like a Holy Grail now.....

what do you think about this



since I plan to perform my "man Eating Plants" and showcase my Ventriloquist Ability in Front of Adults...Mostly My Friends & Familiy.....and most of them is Adults

Do you guys manage to generate Laugh when you perform for Adults Audience?....
I know two Ventriloquist in Indonesia who admits that their material is ONLY for Children...and they are aiming for Children Market.....and when they perform for Adults, they can not kill as effective as when they perform for children

as a newbie...I think this is just a self Doubt...

this is how I feel when I first going to start my first Stage Hypnotism Show....

but then again...do you guys manage to generate as much fun as when you perform for Adults?
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Feb 7, 2008 07:23AM)
I was directed to "Killer Stand Up" by a good friend, Ken Groves, who is one of the best pro-vents out there. Steve Roye has a great slant on creating comedy material and lots of it. There are no joke formulas, just solid methods of creating ideas, and editing them into killer material.

It takes work though - you won't just start spitting out funny lines. If you are serious about "writing" comedy that can be performed on-stage, then I highly recommend the course.

Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 7, 2008 10:11AM)
WOW!....thanx for the tips Tom......

by the way...is this the ONLY course that you take to be able to write your Material?....od there is another?
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 7, 2008 10:22AM)
I have taught the elements of comedy quarterly for middle school drama students.
Included are the elements of comedy such as:
familiarity, surprise, contrast, rules of 3, optimism...

I can't tell (or really remember them) jokes so much of my comedy comes from my own life experiences. (Tuesday night at the Kansas Caucus was filled with great material for my adult venues)

Of course t I m I n


is very important.

Journalling as suggested in The Artist Way..(by Cameron) was helpful to me.

also classes and working with Improvisational Troupes was a great learning tool.
So was writing a comedy radio program for 3 seasons.

My Laughology Programs are not filled from opening to closing with comedy. I also go for other emotions...love, anger, jealousy..which although can be played for comedy can also be used in dramatic ways.

Aside..which is harder drama or comedy?

Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Feb 7, 2008 10:48AM)
Not the ONLY course, but a good one. The course consists of a series of ebooks, one you may find helpful is on "Street Jokes" which are basically public domain jokes. Steve teaches you how to re-write and customize them for your show. If you have trouble developing new material, that alone would be worth the cost of his course.

Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 7, 2008 11:22AM)
So Tom....do you think this Course is applicable to other foreign Language?....
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Feb 7, 2008 02:09PM)
The course teaches you to edit your ideas into stand up comedy material. You are still the one writing the comedy - it isn't taking American jokes and trying to fit them into your language and culture. It takes work - there is no magic funny pill... (okay - at least not ones that are legal where I live...)

When Tony asked why do you want to push it if you are not naturally funny? - it was a very good question. I did comedy before I purchased "Killer Comedy" and while it was worth the investment, I still create much of my comedy the way I use to - from playing off the audience and situation.

You alone have to decide what is right for you.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Feb 8, 2008 04:40AM)
A funny joke from different language can not be translated as is to other langauge and get the same result. It should get some change here and there.

Humor for adult is different than humor for kids.
To certain joke kids can roll on the floor, but adult only chuckle.

Most man will laugh to dirty jokes, maybe that's why some comedian use this a lot in adult venue. But for family entertainer, this kind of joke is a no no!

A contast between you and your wildthings give some potential to make some humor!
You can be the straigth man with dead pan reaction, while your wildthings is acting crazy. Or you give the wildthings a disgusted look, while your wildthings try to tease you again and again. This is only a start. Try to make some picture about how is the relation between you and your figure, then develop a skit around it piece by piece.

But I'm still learning too, so don't stick to what I said! :)
I'm in a stage on developing a partner for adult audience too.
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 8, 2008 09:01AM)
So ....Budi

How do you wrote your Adult material?.....is there such system?....
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Feb 8, 2008 08:44PM)
Just do Fart Jokes. Universal.

(Only kidding!)

(kind of)
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Feb 8, 2008 10:55PM)

Jeff Dunham do a fart joke with Walter!


I don't have a system yet.

Right know I try to make some humor from my adult figure personality and the situation that he build. He is a very high profile character, but unfortunately his power & charm are fading now. He has power syndrom condition, and want every body still adore him. He think that he doing it smoothly, but the audience know how rough he is. And I am only his humble servant, who become his anger target on and on.

So I create a contras between me and my figure character and make myself as a target of humiliation. Hopefully audiece will laugh for my character, and feel pity for me.
The humor situation happened, because audience know that I did it all. :)

What do you think? Any suggestion?
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Feb 8, 2008 11:38PM)
The theory of funny according to one of the funniest of the funny, Groucho Marx.
"Take a stunt man dress him up like an old lady and push him down a hill in a wheel chair and that's funny, when it turns out to be a real old lady, that's comedy".
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 9, 2008 10:15AM)
Photius...correct me if Im wrong.....to bring comedy, the material must come from my own personal life

and Budi....nice....when did I have the chance to watch this character come to life?

and Budi...if you don't have a system...could you please share with the rest of us on what is your tought process on creating your adult material?....

And Budi, just an idea...in indonesia, we should have our own Vent Gathering.....since I would love the see the 55 Years old Vent Dummy that your friend is having :)
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Feb 11, 2008 09:58PM)

I have tried my character twice, the first one is good enough, but the second turn is not too good. Maybe because the second turn is in almost the same audience with the first. If we have the time right, I will try it in front of you.

Vent gathering is good! If you make one, I will do my best to joint it.
Every body in Indonesia know you, not mine! So it is more easy for you to invite a lot of people than me.

I just try to think what is funny for the adult audience. Since I don't want to use blue jokes, I think I should use a comedy situation. I choose carefully, what kind of character will appeal for adult and what kind of situation that I can create humor between me an my character. I also use some of my own experience in real life to make this character. I have friends and family who still in post power syndrome situation. I tried to learn from them, how they think and what they talk about, which is funny for me. But I don't dare to laugh in front of them! Then I try to make it more hyperbole and make it more contrast with the real life and make it more absurd. So I hope I can built humor piece by piece from this situation between me and my figure character.

Let say about your character, a gay man eating plan. What will he talk to you as a hypno-therapist? Is he want you to cure him or to change every man he know to be gay too? How about he want to learn hypnotism so he can hypnotized every man he like to become a gay. After you give him a lesson, he hypnotized you and you became a gay too. Imagine how silly you will be, a six pack man with deep stare eyes, wearing macho accessories, talk, act and think like a manshe! This will be the element of surprise and contrast, two of the key elements in creating humor.

Just a thought!

Or you want me to become your script writer? LOL!!
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 12, 2008 02:30AM)
Budi....GREAT STUFF........

maybe you should imitate your Vent Dummy just like our dead president soeharto, and before the show...in serious tone,....you alone standing in front of the Microphone annaounce to the audience that soon the president of indonesia will join you....then the "indonesia Raya" is played on the background (our national anthem)....

then here you go...bring out your vent dummy that is wearing a tux and a Peci (our traditional hat)....and your Vent Dummy looks like Soeharto and sounds like him....and you could have a Political jokes with post power syndrome in it!.....

folow this link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk7qY4eM7gE

then a week from that you get kidnaped and then a week from that your body is found floating in the river :angel:

Talk about Free Publicity! :rotf:

just an idea....it worth to try

about you being my script writer...this is GAY...I mean GREAT idea!....let me fammiliarize myself with the Man Eating Plants and let me write my rough script first.....then I'll contact you soon


but the idea that you wrote is Brilliant
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Feb 12, 2008 04:25AM)
On 2008-02-12 03:30, mesmer wrote:
Budi....GREAT STUFF........

maybe you should imitate your Vent Dummy just like our dead president soeharto, and before the show...in serious tone,....you alone standing in front of the Microphone annaounce to the audience that soon the president of indonesia will join you....then the "indonesia Raya" is played on the background (our national anthem)....

then here you go...bring out your vent dummy that is wearing a tux and a Peci (our traditional hat)....and your Vent Dummy looks like Soeharto and sounds like him....and you could have a Political jokes with post power syndrome in it!.....

folow this link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk7qY4eM7gE

then a week from that you get kidnaped and then a week from that your body is found floating in the river :angel:

Talk about Free Publicity! :rotf:

just an idea....it worth to try

Oh, NO!
I don't have a nut, eh, a gut to do that! :)

But in part of my script, my figure talk about our president (right now) as his junior class mate! Hopefully I don't end in the jail!

I looking forward your script!
Message: Posted by: Police Magician (Feb 12, 2008 07:03AM)
Being funny sometimes takes time and experience for those who have self doubt. I have taken personal experiences in life and made jokes of them. I banter with my puppets and let them upstage me. Not all of what I do is considered humerous, but I keep those that are in the back of my mind when I see the audience react to certain situations.

Since I have done lectures and seminars (without the puppets), I have tried to make them educational and entertaining. In doing so, I came up with some material that makes a hum drum lecture funny. I ad lib a lot and have the gift of gab, so to speak. This came from years of experience. Don't get discouraged, with practice, it should come to you as well.

I had self doubt as well and was unsure of myself. I had to force myself, in the beginning, to go on stage and face an audience. Years later, it comes naturally. I still get a little self doubt now and then, but it fades after a few minutes. Good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.

Message: Posted by: mesmer (Feb 12, 2008 10:45AM)
Thanx for the Kind word Glenn

and I will keep you guys posted
Message: Posted by: topcomedyguru (May 28, 2012 01:28PM)
First, let me say thanks for the kind words for my course.

There is no separate "system" for adult comedy material vs. clean or non-adult comedy material.

As a magician, the bulk of your audience laughs will come as a result of:

The banter you use to set up a trick
The reactions you express as the trick is executed
Separate stand-up comedy material in between tricks

For vents, the bulk of the laughter will come from the reactions by the puppet to the set-up lines (questions, comments, etc.) made by the vent, keeping in mind that...

Most of the laughter generated by the puppet will not be the literal words said per se, but rather how those words are expressed by the puppet (in other words, the "body language" of the puppet will make up most of the laughter generation power -- exactly the same as in stand-up comedy proper).

I just added a special lesson to my course by comedy magician & comedian Zack Waldman: http://killerstandup.com/?p=3342

If I can add some value to this forum, let me know.

But when it comes to generating laughter from audiences -- no matter what the "genre" of entertainment may be, I will say this:

Trying to use one dimensional "writing" techniques -- ie: jokes on paper -- to generate real laughs in a three dimensional performing environment, that is a HARD row to hoe.
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (May 28, 2012 06:03PM)
Steve's course is excellent. I can recommend it without reservation.

Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (May 29, 2012 05:53AM)
I am currently doing comedy writing for vents, magicians,and other variety arts acts. I've written for Wanlu and many others. If you're interested, please contact me at: markwade@kidshowvent.com

I am also currently writing a book on comedy writing and hope to have it out by the end of the year. I'll keep everyone posted via this site.
Hope this helps somewhat..


Message: Posted by: MagicalArtist (Jun 8, 2012 11:45PM)
Paul Stadelman wrote that the way he developed his comedy was by putting together a routine and performing it for live audiences. He would take note of which jokes made the audience laugh and which didn't. He would then mercilesssly cut out jokes that didn't get laughs and swap in new ones, and then perform with the modified routine. When all of the jokes consistently got laughs then that would become his #1 routine. Then he would start working on his #2 routine and repeat the same process.

I would add that Vent may be learnable but a true knack for comedy is inborn. Regardless of the material, it is the performer's gift for comedy that ultimately gets the laughs. No material will make up for the lack of such a gift, no matter how good it may be.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 9, 2012 09:52AM)
Technique can be taught. Talent cannot. But with technique you can bring out the talent you already have, and training can provide the tools to channel talent and keep performances consistent, but fresh.
As for comedy, it is said that Edmond Gwenn, the actor, was on his deathbed when a friend asked him, "Is it hard to die, Edmund?" The old actor opened one eye and said, "Dying is easy; comedy is hard."
As for child audiences VS adult audiences: most performers will tell you, child audiences are much much harder. They will spot a fake instantly, they will get bored in an instant, they will let you know.
You can begin a script by roughing in some jokes (There are several collections of jokes that come in handy), but ultimately the best humor and the best show, come from character and reaction.
Oh my...how I do go on.