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Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006, 12:44 pm
Wise-ass answers to Frequently-Asked-of-Basil-Questions








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Wise-Ass Answers to Your Questions









I'm a new comic. What should I wear on stage?


A white tuxedo covered in blood. Commands respect and fear.




Is there an umbrella term that's used to refer to farmers markets as well as u-pick-em places?


A place where farmers assemble to sell what they make and/or grow is called a farmers' market.

A field where customers pick their own crop is called a farm.

Here endeth the lesson.




How do you mentally prepare before you go on stage?


I use visualization techniques to picture myself onstage, bombing, turning on the crowd, and how I'm going to make them suffer.




What made you get into comedy?


PCP.




I've seen your act several times, and sometimes you start a joke with a summary statement or extra funny bits at the end, but sometimes you'll skip these for the same joke. why?


It's all about making the show easy to follow.

The first sentence, aka the "musing lede" exists to declare that "I'm musing on a new topic now." Often, the lede gets dropped because there's a better segue from the previous joke, but just in case I put it where there's no segue, I have to write down a lede so I have something written down.

I've learned that if there's no segue and no musing lede, people think I'm continuing the previous joke and they get lost. Optimally, the musing lede is not spoken, but communicated as the punchline of the previous joke.

The last statement or two of every joke is there to continue the laughter after the punchline. A lot of the laughter at the punchline is at the surprise of the punchline.

Sometimes, people continue laughing because the concept of the joke is funny, or the punchline is immediately adapted as the setup of a quick one-liner joke. This is where tag lines keep the laughter going.

I write these tag lines in case they work. If they don't work, they get dropped. It can be hard to tell whether they're laughing at the tag or still laughing at the real punchline. This is that timing thing I keep hearing about.




I'd like some advice in how to develop a stage presence, me being an amateur comic and all. What advice, if any, could you offer a schlub like me?


Take a stack of index cards.  Write something you don't like about yourself on each card.  Write a paragraph about it in the most sincerely, disclosively painful way you can until you're satisfied that you've explained this thing you don't like about yourself.  Then rewrite it with an "And beyond that?" comment for each sentence you wrote.  Then edit the copy for the following issues, in order:

Hostility, topic sentence lede, telepathy transcript, Target, Monoperspective, Exaggeration, Maslovian need, Relevant, Emotion, Realism, adverb-free (very, ly before verb), True, Surprise, Clear, Concise, short-worded.

Take the bit and a cassette recorder to an open mic, conveying as strongly you can the emotion you truly feel about the words you're saying.  Listen to the cassette in your car a few times, then rate each joke with a plus, zero or minus.  If a joke gets three pluses in a row, add that to your show set.  Order the jokes in your show set putting the jokes that reveal the most real true personal information in the beginning.

If you get a booking, record the show.  On the way home, pick the weakest bit, take it out of your show set and put it in an archive file.  Time the show to update your running tally of jokes per minute, e.g.,  "0.9522 jokes/minute over 17 shows." 

Now do that for four years.  Piece of cake.  Walk in the park.



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