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Tue, Aug. 8th, 2006, 09:43 am
BasilWhite: WhoWhatHowWhenWhereWhy for today

Been reading Roy Peter Clark's Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing - http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/fifty-50-tools-which-can-help-you-in-writing.html - great stuff. Much of which is good for journalism and fiction is good for comedy. I'm definitely buying the book when it comes out in September (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316014982).

Reading is a great means of procrastination, which is why I'm reading 50 tools instead of working. 50 Tools says to look at procrastination as an opportunity to rehearse, a way to keep busy until your desire to write surpasses your unreasonable standards of quality. 50 Tools approaches writing as a creative job with an emphasis on job. It shares the philosophy of writing with your hands and editing with your brain, and suggests that writer's block is a cue to lower your standards of quality. To paraphrase Roy Peter Clark, why should I have writer's block? my dad never had railroad conductor's block.

I still haven't turned the rants I wrote last week into jokes, but thanks to the 50 Tools, I have some techniques to isolate the intention of my draft, and use that intention as a knife to carve the fat. The fat of my rant is dense and marbled.

I'm rehearsing for my big shows next week, editing the jokes as I rehearse. Great time to invent a new logical process for improving my comedy, and obsess about conforming to this new arbitrary process to distract me from performance anxiety! Here's my new rehearsal strategy/anxiety distraction:

10 Read joke N
20 Improvise a segue from N to N+1
30 Perform N+1 from memory
40 Perform N-1 from memory
50 Improvise a segue from N-1 to N
60 Add 1 to N
70 If N is null, set N=1
80 Loop until dead.

Yes, this incorporates an error condition in my processing logic. Take your Prozac.

I found the Online Paranoid Schizophrenic Quiz and I'm mining it for jokes. I think these questions beg for punchlines. Lemme know which ones feel ripe for a comedy bite.

1. I sometimes think I have the ability to predict the future.
2. Sometimes I have hallucinations.
3. My emotional responses are often inappropriate, like laughing when I should be crying.
4. Sometimes I skip a shower or brushing my teeth when I really shouldn't.
5. I taste or smell things that aren't really there.
6. There are odd or unusual things going on that I can't explain.
7. I have great difficultly expressing your emotions.
8. I speak in a monotone voice.
9. People have called my beliefs paranoid.
10. There are people inside my head that no one else can hear.
11. I have special abilities that people are jealous of.
12. It's hard for me to tell what is real and what isn't.
13. Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me.
14. You feel like other people are plotting against me.
15. I worry that other people can read my mind.
16. I feel almost alien, like I don't share anything in common with anyone.
17. I am very superstitious.
18. I think that I have magical or supernatural powers.
19. Sometimes I hear someone laughing or whistling - when no one is around.
20. I am clumsy and uncoordinated.
21. I am often withdrawn and don't talk much.
22. I feel like people are planning to hurt me - or are about to hurt me.
23. I am worried that I am going crazy.

There's gold in them thar psychiatric protocols! Riff on these at will.

Tags: Who, What, How, When, Where, Why
(Deleted comment)

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 02:14 am (UTC)

workshopped some of these tonight. Will probably bring one to Wiseacres for the Wed, open mic.
(Deleted comment)

Tue, Aug. 8th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)

Have I shown you my pointy hat, my wand, and my broom?

(The lightsaber's in my other spaceship.)

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)

I'm working on your #3 and #16 and #18.

Tue, Aug. 8th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)

1. I sometimes think I have the ability to predict the future.

"For example, in 15 seconds you are going to laugh." Look at your watch and up at them expectantly. If they laugh, start acting nervous. If not, act relieved and say, "So far, so good!"

7. I have great difficultly expressing your emotions.

Should that be "my emotions"?

Hmm... You'd have to practice this a lot, but you could have a question be something about hearing natural sounding speech backwards. Then, the next few sentences you should speak backward, but with a natural patter. Or perhaps save it for later in the routine, as more and more of your sentences you start saying backwards.

8. I speak in a monotone voice.

"Finally I understand Stephen Wright."

Finally, brief reference to King Crimson's song "Indiscipline": "I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat"


BTW - Sorry on not getting back to you about lunch. We've been going to Las Vegas, NYC, and now Pennsic over the last few weeks and it's been a bit crazy. I'll get in touch again after Pennsic.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)

There's a lot to take these. I could end a joke with I repeat myself when under stress and start the joke again.

Sun, Aug. 13th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)

Ya know....all of these would be really funny if only they didn't apply to me.....

Mon, Aug. 14th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
basilwhite: That's what makes them funny!

They're funny to me because they apply to me!