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Joke writing

—- This was originally written on Sunday to keep up with my sort-of New Year’s Resolution of putting something on here every week. —-

Since the pandemic began, I have written very little stand-up material. There’s a certain musical I’m working on, or at least I’m meant to be working on, but that’s not quite the same thing.

I’ve tried sitting down and writing jokes, but very little ever materialises. This is partly because there are currently no gigs where I can perform at. And without having an hour’s show to work on, or even 20 minutes followed by a quiz, I find it difficult to write anything. And my progress on that particular musical is also being stunted by not having any performances on the horizon.

Then a couple of weeks ago when I was taking my dog for a walk, I started thinking of one-liners as a character. Very soon, I had a dozen or so. And I think some might actually be pretty good. The character is called Dave Plums and he’s an unemployed weirdo, so totally different from me. I’ve found that having a distinctive voice in my head when thinking up mateiral is really helpful. Writing as a character also takes the pressure off, as Dave Plums hasn’t desperately been trying to cling onto the success quiz-based comedy show. But then I already knew this, I’d just forgotten.

A more established comedian told me five years ago that I needed to decide what type of comedian I wanted to be, either just do one-liners or stories instead of mixing the two. It made a lot of sense, but I did nothing about it and persisted doing what I always did. I’ve always thought of myself as closer to being a one-liner comic than a storyteller. I find one-liners far easier to write and it feels more comfortable to perform them. But just to confuse matters further, a promoter of an established comedy night in London said to me in September 2019 that I was a natural storyteller. And I also sort of agree with this.

So I now will be splitting my material into two groups. Dave Plums will take all the one-liners, and stories will be left to me – unless I choose to give those to another persona. I’m not ruling this out.

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