Creating new jokes from scratch is one of the hardest parts of stand-up comedy. Our brains are hardwired for repetition, patterns, and habits. If I ask you to think of a number, colour or city, it’s likely that your answers are related to past experiences – a limiter to comedy
This is where random words can help.
Using a random word generator helps our thinking jump two or more steps away from the obvious. And that’s where the humour can be found. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Generate random words
Click on the button below. A random adjective and noun will appear.
Step 2: Create a mental image
The words should create an immediate mental image. Don’t fight it!
For example the two random words, ‘Courageous Introduction’, might remind you of a confident politician talking at a rally, but looking a bit slimy. Alternatively, you might get ‘Frantic Actor’ and that might remind you of a dusty theatre, with a single sweating actor on stage quoting Shakespeare.
Step 3: Generate a story
Don’t stop there. We want to move further away from our own life’s experiences, habits or memories. Now ask yourself, “what is this politician saying?” “Do they have a unique policy?” “What are they wearing that’s unique?”
Regarding the actor, ask yourself “Why is the actor sweating?” “Are they in a costume?” And “Is this a set on the stage?”
Do not include the original random words in your story. These two words were just stepping stones to get you away from habitual thinking.
Step 4: Now write a joke
Now, using the Hard Knock Knocks’ Normal-Normal-Twist joke structure, write a joke. You might find yourself focusing on part of the story, like the politician’s tie, or the actor’s accent. You might even make another jump and write a joke about something a politician reminds you of, like bad hair cuts, scandals or grassy knolls. If nothing comes to mind, click the random word generator again…and again…and again. There are tens of thousands of combinations that will surely help you get unstuck.
Step 5: Polish your joke
The Hard Knock Knocks’ pens issued during the comedy course display an important quote:
“10% of comedy is writing. The rest is re-writing.” – Jeff Green
And comedian Jeff Green should know. He’s one of the world’s most successful stand-up comedians, having conquered the UK and Australia. Jeff is also a regular guest comedy coach and his wisdom over the years has been absorbed into our training curriculum.
In short, don’t be easily satisfied with your jokes. Ask yourself, “How can I get to the funny faster?” This might mean dropping the slow lead up, removing redundant words, or interchanging words that are more descriptive. Don’t say ten words when two words will do.
There are many ways of creating new jokes, but ultimately the goal is that a joke demonstrates a unique perspective that surprises the audience. Whether you’re a seasoned comedian, or about to compete in your first Raw Comedy competition remember that the ‘obvious’ is your enemy in comedy, so never stop polishing!
Oh! And write your funniest random word generator joke below in the comments: