Jerry Seinfeld on How to Write a Joke

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 9.33.16 PMWhen you watch a great comedian tell jokes, it’s easy to assume that they’re just naturally funny. They seem to just go up there and talk, and everything they say is automatically hilarious. How do they do it?

Jerry Seinfeld, a legendary stand-up comedian most famous for his sitcom “Seinfeld”, gives some great insight into his joke-writing process in this short video. As you can see, it’s not all fun and games! But his insights can be applied to your speeches or any other art that you’re devoted to.

Watch below or here.

Here are 3 things I took away from this that can also apply to your next speech:

  1. Writing a joke takes a long time. The video features a joke the “pop tart joke”, which took Jerry years to develop. YEARS!
  2. Timing is important. “If [the transition between jokes] is too long, a split-second too long, you will shave letters off of words, you’ll count syllables to make it fit. It’s more like songwriting.” As an audience, our ears and bodies are attuned to rhythm and pacing, yet it’s easy to overlook this when you’re putting a speech together. Don’t just ask, “what will I say”, but also, “how will it sound?”
  3. The work is more important than the tools you use. Jerry used a yellow legal pad and “Bic clear barrel blue” pens for writing all the episodes of “Seinfeld”. Clearly, he doesn’t stress about getting the right technology and tools to do his work. He sits down and writes jokes.

How can his joke-writing process apply to your next speech?

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