5 Rules For How To Write A Classic One-Liner Joke

I’m a psychologist, now not a qualified comedy author (After all, how humorous is this primary sentence?). But when, about 20 years in the past, I took as much as an hour every day (and I imply, for 365 days) simply to put in writing jokes, gags, and one-liners for cartoonists, comedians, and audio system, I assumed I used to be artful sufficient to make it a life-long dependancy.

It used to be amusing, I realized so much, and I even bought a couple of jokes. However, by way of the tip of the 12 months my talent to stay cranking them out disappeared and I burnt out.

The revel in taught me Three issues: First, I’m now not minimize out to be a full-time comedy author. Second, I advanced a powerful appreciation of the pro comedy writers who can do that each day, 12 months after 12 months. And 3rd, I did discover ways to put in combination a one-liner. I’ve used this data ever since in speeches, conferences, different writing initiatives, and social dialog.

I’ve come to the belief that it ain’t rocket science. If I will do it, you’ll be able to do it (equipped that you’ve a excellent humorousness, a facility for word-play, and not anything higher to do).

Before I provide you with my magic method, I must let you know that formulation do not paintings. An ideal one-liner, like several murals, has its personal distinctive inspiration, follows its personal distinctive laws, and surprises us in its personal glorious means. Also, the jokes I can use as examples are unique (now not specifically humorous, however unquestionably unique). That’s as a result of I do not need to get sued, particularly by way of some comic who claims I used to be stealing his or her jokes.

So listed here are Five laws for making a one-liner:

RULE 1: Choose 2 topics-1) the content material of the funny story, and a pair of) the wonder matter. For instance, let’s assume you’ve gotten been setting up numerous time beyond regulation on the place of business. Now, only for the sake of constructing this a excellent psychological workout, let’s additionally say that you just mix this matter with the truth that you could have a canine. Here is one risk of mixing them: “I’ve been setting up such a lot time beyond regulation, that I got here house to an empty area final evening. I discovered a word. It mentioned, ‘I will’t take it any longer. I’ve long past for a protracted stroll within the park to assume over our courting.’ It used to be from my canine.”

Ok, so it isn’t that humorous. That brings us to…

RULE 2: Look for opposites, particularly ridiculous and inconceivable opposites. Many, many nice jokes depend on reverse meanings. A couple of years in the past at a Rotary assembly during which I finished the 12 months of my presidency, I sought after to mention a couple of issues earlier than turning the membership over to my successor. I started by way of announcing, “Before I officially give up the reins of powerlessness, …” It were given a pleasing snigger.

RULE 3: Build up the funny story in a undeniable path, in order that the listener is locked into one assumption, after which spring the funny story on them. For instance, communicate as whether it is one thing vital, and finish with one thing trivial: “I must love to introduce my trade spouse, my mentor, my very best buddy, and a person to whom I owe 5 greenbacks, …”

RULE 4: Put the important thing observe or word, the person who adjustments the that means, on the very finish of the one-liner. You’ll realize that the very final phrases within the earlier 3 jokes ARE the funny story (canine, powerlessness, 5 greenbacks). Imagine a dinner party. Everyone has a drink in his or her arms, aside from for one man. His spouse turns to him and says, “You know, George, you truly SHOULD have one thing to drink–otherwise other folks will assume you might be an alcoholic.” This is so much funnier than, “You are not looking for other folks to assume you might be an alcoholic, do you? You’d higher drink one thing.” This 2nd line is not as humorous as a result of the second one matter (alcoholism) is offered earlier than the tip. It blunts the wonder and subsequently the comedian surprise on the finish.

RULE 5: Get rid of each pointless observe and concept. Nothing ruins a one-liner greater than even one further observe. My spouse, Christine, is a Paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department (She used to be my hero lengthy earlier than September 11th). She works a 24-hour shift. Over the years I’ve advanced a inventory reaction to those who inquire from me if I’m apprehensive about my spouse being within the firehouse all evening with all of the ones males: “Gee, you might be proper. I’d higher name and warn the ones guys.” Is there one pointless observe in that reaction? I don’t believe so.

So there it’s. Follow those laws, and you’ll be able to create a one-liner. Will it upward thrust to the extent of a Henny Youngman, a Jay Leno, an Ellen DeGeneres, a Bob Hope, a Richard Pryor, or a George Carlin? Probably now not, however it is amusing, it is inventive, it is a excellent psychological workout, and–who is aware of?–you might uncover that you’ve a skill for it.

Oh, and one observe of warning. If when you are following those laws you bring to mind one thing in point of fact humorous, overlook the principles. Go for what is humorous.

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