Is it wise to second guess what an audience might find funny? That’s what I’ve been doing this week, to a certain extent. I’m find it hard to cut down material – last weekend I had a timed practice reading out the stuff I’ve written and it lasted around nine minutes. The final routine needs to be around five minutes!

I’m having to be ruthless – I’ve cut one slightly dubious gag (I think it’s quite funny but might be seen as being in poor taste so I’m not sure I should run the risk, and I’m not as confident in that joke as I am in others). And I think the section about tea is going to have to go, which is a shame but it was only really staying in before because of the Errol Flynn reference and the pay-off at the end of that segment. It’s probably far too long to be be doing in a set this short, especially when the laughs need to come thick and fast.

I’m worried about whether I have a back-up if it goes wrong. The way I’ve structured the set so far, it has a clear beginning and end and it has to pass through certain points to get to that end, plus there are some clear links between sections. I guess I need to keep paring it down until any wasted words are removed, and provided it doesn’t go too far over things should be ok. Very nervous about the idea of performing, still – I don’t know if I’m going to invite people or not. They will hopefully laugh if they do come, but I also don’t want people I know to see me fail.

Last week’s session was mostly about puns and cliches. I was quite proud of one pun I came up with from the words on the sheet we were given. Epilogue: the last tree in the woods. I wasn’t very good at getting anything out of cliches, but I’ve since written one joke which takes that kind of approach and I don’t think it’s too bad. I wonder if I’ll have room for it. I do love good puns (and some bad ones as well) but the session showed that it’s very easy to get them wrong. Writing them is a skill in itself.

When we were given the option of volunteering to perform last week, I hesitated and ended up missing out. I think it may have been for the best anyway – the material is going through constant re-writes both on paper and in my head, which should hopefully help by the time we reach the end of the course. I still can’t quite imagine performing any of this stuff in front of a live audience though, and I’m not sure how I feel about doing the internet dating stuff in front of people. Mind you, it could feasibly be made up – I don’t think anyone will believe the pirate story!

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