Where do comedians get their ideas for jokes? How does the “magic” happen, where a comedian transforms ordinary words into pulverizing lightning bolts of unwholesome comic goodness?
If you’re coming to Ben Gran’s stand-up comedy show on March 9, perhaps you’ve wondered about these questions. Well here are the answers. Here are the secrets of the time-trusted process that Ben Gran uses to write jokes:
- Start each day by looking for new ways to feel bad about yourself.
- Hire offshore joke-writing teams in India, Pakistan and the Philippines to write jokes for $2 an hour. (Some of the jokes don’t translate well across cultures, but hey, you get what you pay for.)
- You know your brother-in-law who’s really funny and is always making wisecracks at Thanksgiving? Sign a contract with him and copyright some of his best material.
- Try to grow a beard, and fail miserably.
- Put on your joke-writing “Thinking Cap.” (And by “Thinking Cap,” of course, we mean: “Mormon Temple Garments.”)
- Relentlessly edit. (Out of every 10 draft jokes, only 1 makes the final cut to be added to Ben Gran’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.)
- Think about humorous situations encountered in everyday life, and then write them down.
- Think about times in your life when people betrayed you, belittled you or made you feel bad somehow, and then ask yourself, “What could I say that would, on a profound level, really hurt and devastate these people?”
- Attend daily Confession with a Catholic priest to be exposed to unintentional comedy.
- Cultivate a vague sense of disappointment and self-criticism.
- Deprive yourself of a healthy amount of sleep, social activity and exercise.
- Watch countless hours of television to get inspired by the Hollywood Dream Factory.
- Avoid books like the plague.
- Infect yourself with The Plague, since, in the words of legendary comedian Red Skelton, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” (And presumably funnier.)
- Drink more alcohol.
Are you laughing yet? Come laugh at Ben Gran LIVE on March 9 at the Des Moines Social Club.