stand-up comedy – a joke by me, analyzed by me.

I’m back doing stand-up comedy here and there on the California central coast. Great group of people involved. Various bars mostly – nothing too exciting but working up to a 30 minutes set.

Lately have been telling dark jokes, involving pets. not sure why. I like cats and dogs. I thought I’d present the joke and talk about it a little.  If it helps someone write their own joke or think of something funny, great.  I thought of this joke in July and have used it the past few sets.

As with all jokes, it’s better in person but I write this here.

JOKE:

I called in sick the other day because my dog died. My boss said ‘how long are you going to be out?’ and I said ‘well, when my mom died, I took 10 days off. But this is my dog, so just multiply that times 7.’

Hilarious!

One thing I’ve noticed in performing recently is that some people are funny but they do not word their jokes correctly. If you want to do stand-up comedy, wording is extremely important for most comedic styles.  For the joke above, the word ‘7’ is the last word on purpose. (or the phrase “multiple that times seven” – whatever) – if I say “multiply the time off by 7 because it’s a dog” – it’s kinda funny, I think, but not as funny as the original ‘correct’ way. It’s also a matter of how I present the joke. I am unassuming, quiet and I tell this as if it happened (usually early in the set with the other pet jokes.).

This jokes does two things which I like:

1. Brings up a topic that happens to most of us – dealing with the death of a beloved pet. Oh, and also, a parent.  Yeah, that too.  So many people can relate to either dead pet or dead parent/family member. It’s not a fun topic, so you get to think about it through the scenario I have set up (calling in sick).  This brings the crowd (all 4 of them, usually) in and on my side because I’m a guy discussing the death of my pet dog and name dropping the dead parent.  Hard to heckle a guy talking about loss.

2. The other thing it has is math! It’s not the smartest joke in the world, not by a long shot, but it’s got a little joke about how the age of dogs in relation to ‘human years’ is multiple of 7s. Most everyone’s heard this factoid. So, instead of taking two weeks off for my dead dog, I’m asking to take 14 weeks off! See ya later bossman! Sucker!

I think a lot of people who enjoy stand-up comedy are pretty sharp and they want to laugh and think and be challenged in some ways (i.e., exercise the mind during your set a little whether it’s a historical reference, or math or puns). My joke has a simple, elementary calculation which helps in presenting the punchline; everyone does it quickly and hopefully gets the joke (that I’m looking to take about 2+ months off – 10 x 7).  If you didn’t know that fact/theory about dogs lifespan being 7 years to 1 human year, then the joke really doesn’t work.  The joke is also absurd as factoring in “dog years” into bereavement time is extremely silly.

I think the joke is funny, but it’s also sad because in reality, who wouldn’t want 3 months off after the death of a loved one (parent or dog). But, as the hard-luck comedian tells this story, it’s funny in a sad-funny way. And what do we all say about comedy – tragedy+time = comedy – and in this joke it’s about all three.

It’s a fun joke.  In the small town that I live in, I can’t tell it forever, as many of our local ‘live comedy’ supporters have heard it. Eventually, they will say “yeah, yeah, we get it! death is hilarious! do you have any airplane jokes!?”

Later, I may analyze some other jokes of mine – it helps me think of others, reminds of the format/structure of a joke.

I haven’t used my blog in 1+ year (or should I say in 7 dog years?) but perhaps that will change.  I’m not going to leave comments open because of spam but if you are a real person and want to message me a question, I think you can from the blog or thru Facebook.

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