Help! How do I get started writing jokes?

Meet Avery. She has 8 years experience as a comedian and 7 years experience as a teenager—and she is here to A your toughest Qs about comedy, family, romance, school, and the meaning of life (maybe). Got a problem you can’t solve or a goal you need help meeting? Ask Avery by DMing @GOLDComedy or emailing info+askavery@gmail.com.

Dear Avery,

You’ve inspired me to get into comedy. The only problem is I’ve never actually sat down and written a joke. It’s intimidating! Got any tips for a real beginner?

I Should Probably Take A Class


Dear ISPTAC,

Let me just be the first to say HELL YES!  You’ve taken the first step into the rest of your hilarious joke writing life. (Also, HELL YES you should take a class! See my P.S.) Every comic writes differently, and it will take trial, error, and practice to nail your style and voice. But below are some tips on basic joke structure, and my writing process (disclaimer: You might hate this process, but it works for me! And when you keep at it, you’ll find your own!)

  1.  I start with an idea—most of the time a personal story. I discovered my comedic voice through my life experiences. If something crazy happens, such as almost getting arrested for making out in public (which is totally a random example and not something that actually happened) I will first tell my friends. Through this casual storytelling, I’ll see where they laugh, where things get too lengthy, etc.

  1. If no homies are available, voice memos are your new best friend. They are a great tool to use to vocalize your ideas without the pressure of getting it “right” the first time. My own recordings are mostly me saying “…and then he said, ‘You’re under arrest,’ Avery, insert a punch line here.” I’ll leave the heavy lifting for my future self, who will let the story marinate in my brain like a delicious steak.

  1. One of my biggest tips is to put zero pressure on yourself to find the jokes right away. I still add new jokes to bits I wrote YEARS ago, and sometimes I can write a 5-minute set in 30 seconds. I think a lot of comics feel this pressure to always be hilariously funny—but rather than forcing a punch line at every turn, take your time writing and see where the jokes naturally take you! Joke writing is hard, and just like a pianist can’t learn insane piano songs (I clearly do not play musical instruments) in a few days, don’t expect to write your perfect hour-long special the first time there’s a pencil in your hand.

  2. To learn the basic joke structures that you can apply to the things in #1 that make you laugh, click here. Here, too.

To summarize: tell stories to friends, talk to yourself, learn the basic structures, and stop stressing, girl! It’s way too early in your career for imposter syndrome, and you’re way too pretty to be doubting yourself. You can always DM me on Insta (@averylender) if you have more specific questions.

Love,

Avery

P.S. A great place to start is right HERE. The next round of GOLD’s signature 4-week live-on-Zoom standup course starts JUNE 8, 6 p ET!  If you miss this one, don’t worry—it’ll come around again every couple of months, and when you join GOLD’s Club, you also get access to the self-paced on-demand version, which means you can sit down and start writing…today!