Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Great comedians tell greater jokes. Lesser comics either tell lesser jokes or tell greater jokes in lesser form.
Lesser jokes? Lesser jokes are jokes that are either hackneyed, obvious or generic. If you are a comedian who really cares about comedy or who reads blogs about comedy, you probably know better than to write hacky or obvious jokes. But generic jokes? Not so easy to avoid. You could start off with a joke that's very original but end up adding a generic tag. Or you can write a purely generic joke.
A generic joke? Wow, you know nothing! A generic joke is more or less a joke that ANYONE can make. Comics may know better than to avoid the trap of airplane jokes, but how many do you think are making jokes about the movie 2012? A lot. I'm sure some great comics have jokes about 2012. But the lesser comics are the ones who are, say, calling the movie a disaster. The greater comics are the ones who managed to write 2012 jokes that fit their persona -- or at least jokes that not simply any idiot can write.
Because the joke that any dummy can write is the stand-up equivalent of buying a rubber chicken at a novelty store. Neither gag has a pulse.