Learn Stand-up Comedy: Punchline Mechanics

Published: 12th January 2009
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If you are on a quest to learn stand-up comedy, one of the things you need to be aware of is punchline mechanics.





Here are a few things you should know about punchlines in a stand-up comedy act:





1. Spoken punchlines are usually less than 9 words long.





2. Many times punchlines are simply the end of a longer sentence.





3. Most punchlines have a key word or key word phrase that is located at or near the end of the actual punchline.





For those seriously trying to learn stand-up comedy techniques that actually work and can be applied to punchlines now, I want to expand upon the key word or keyword phrase position in a punchline.





I can illustrate this key word placement concept using this simple street joke:





A Sunday school teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church service, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?" One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."





You will note that the punchline of the joke is "Because the people are sleeping." You should also note that the meaning of that punchline is not revealed until the very last word-sleeping.





Learn stand-up comedy fast tip #1: Most naturally funny people in everyday life use this technique without even thinking about it.





You need only recall and review things you say to others that create laughter in order understand this punchline secret. You can also watch this technique in action in every single stand-up comedy act.





It is this structure that adds the element of surprise in your punchlines because the true meaning of the line is not revealed until the very end.





Learn stand-up comedy fast tip #2: Evaluate every punchline in your own act for key word placement. Adjust and edit as appropriate.





You will find that by applying this technique, you will be able to turn so-so punchlines into big laugh punchlines.





I should also mention that there are exceptions to every rule-not all great punchlines have the keyword or keyword phrase at the end of the line.





But if you will take the time to review any funny and accomplished comedian video, write down only the punchlines used to get laughs.





Pay close attention to the key word placement in the punchlines. Notice how many words were used in each punchline. Notice if the punchline was an independent line, the end of a sentence, or not a spoken punchline at all.





This is the fastest way I know of to learn stand-up comedy punchline mechanics to apply to your own stand-up act.





Steve Roye is a globally recognized expert in stand-up comedy material development and performance improvement.

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