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Jim Richardson's
“Intermediate Stand-Up Comedy Workshops,”

Course descriptions for Lessons 5-8


Lesson 5: Delivery | Lesson 6: Topical Monologue
Lesson 7: Social Commentary | Lesson 8: Making the Audience Like You a Lot

Lesson 5:

Delivery: vocal tricks that sell your ideas,
Date and time to be arrange, 3 hours
Includes 30-page Workbook.
Pre-requisites: none
Vocal techniques to enhance how you say things, phrasing, pacing and
developing a distinctive vocal signature.

Difference between written and spoke English.
Foreign accents and jargon easily add context to your delivery.
How to confidently put over a joke or story.

All these techniques greatly aid memorization.
Plus, technique re-enforces our natural way of speaking

Tempo: speaking either too fast or too slow can have an unintended comedic effect.
The tempo at which people can best hear your message.
How fast a speaker can the audience hear?
Control speed to affect your listeners emotionally.

Representational vs. Presentational Theater: which does stand-up comedy and business keynote speaking most resemble?
Suggested monologues from plays by William Shakespeare for practice which will make you both a better comic and a better speaker, whether telling your jokes on or off stage.
•George Bernard Shaw's tips on how to appreciate the bard, despite being poorly introduced to him via most formal education.
•Research which proves that audiences unmistakably like hyperbolic rhetoric and deliberately artificial language.
•". . . the Elizabethan style is unquestionably both musical and powerful . . .."

How to sell key points in your act or speech.
Making love to your audience.

Suggested monologues from comic plays.

Phrasing that makes for easy listening.
Breath control made simple.
•Yet another key memorization tip.

How to avoid running out of breath.
•Why punctuation alone cannot tell you the best way to read a line.
Exercise:
•Writing out your comedy or speech bits graphically to see where to breathe.

Drills:
Intonation and stress
Time: rate, rhythm
Phrasing: phrases, breathing cycles
Intonation and Stress:
• Changes of meaning and making deliberate vocal contrasts;
• Relative stress for: nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs vs. auxiliary verbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and articles.
Marking your scripts for: phrasing, intonation and stress.
• Then, use these three simple techniques to clarify ambiguous phrases at will so you can specify either of the meanings without changing a word.

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Lesson 6:
Topical Monologues: 11 joke formats,
Date and time to be arranged, 3 hours
Includes 92-page Workbook.
Pre-requisites: Lessons 2 and 4, or equivalent audio/workbook packages
(see
registration form for details)

(7:27)
iPhone/iPod/iPad version | Computer version

Jokes based on today's news.
10 joke formats using the seven basic joke forms you learned in Lesson Two.

There are problems setting up topical jokes which takes knowing specific skill sets to do properly.

And their "shelf-life" can range roughly from 1-12 days, unless the joke can be re-written to last longer.
• When it can, these will often be your best jokes, evolving naturally out of your timely reaction to current events.
• But compared to the risks of doing blue material to elicit audible audience responses,
nothing compares to the electricity of a fine topical joke based on the day's news.

1. Blue material can lose important members of the audience even when the audience as a whole likes it.
• If those people are the ones who were looking for a clean comic to play their convention one night for $500-150,000, doing blue material just cost an open act anywhere from a week's to a year's salary.
• Even if you are the headliner, the folks booking a comic for a big convention will hire the opening MC or the Middle Act they do clean material, and you do not.

2. Topical Material has just as powerful an effect on audiences as does blue material.
• The low risks involved in properly setting up topical jokes are far outweighed by the potential high gains.

Natural evolution of your topical material into your
classic comedy act or classic keynote speech
(business audience's love topical jokes!):
1. Topical material: subject is a news item that is less than 12 days old, ideally from today's news.
• If the news item is still on everybody's mind after 12 days or so, you may be able to keep it in your act as contemporary material.
2. Contemporary Material: subject remains of interest for more than 12 days after first introduced.
• Hopefully, the news item stays relevant for several years so you can keep it in your act as classical material.
3. Classical Material: true of all people for all time, relevant to all ages.
• As funny today as the day it was written, and first introduced to audiences.
• Cave men would find it funny.
Evolving your act organically:
Hip, and it makes sense
When material evolves in this natural way, it is organic to your act or speech.
• It will seem unforced, to come directly out of your character.
• Audiences will love you for pulling off topical material that is both contemporary and classy!

Bob Hope invented and perfected the team-written monologue with these joke formats for his radio audiences, a situation in which using blue material was out of the question.
• This is the same team-writing concept which Johnny Carson used three-four nights a week from October 1, 1962-May 22, 1992.
• Carson used these same joke formats in his opening monologue for every episode of "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson."
Jay Leno and David Letterman currently do bastardized versions of the pure Hope-Carson monologue to open their hour-long shows.
Note: every time I teach this lesson, I update the video examples from current TV host's topical monologues over the past week.

Further advantages for comics and speakers everywhere on planet earth:
1. If these joke formats Jim will teach you are rarely followed by any of these or other comics in the public eye, that means these comedic weapons are wide open for you to exploit in your act.
2. Today, whenever successful jokes are told within these time-tested joke formats, audiences welcome their return.
• And with all the good feeling and comfort of putting on an old-and-trusted pair of favorite shoes.

Bonus: although this video does not talk much about Carson's use of Topical Joke Formats,
none-the-less it is of biographical interest:
•you need to know about this guy!
New documentation:
The PBS "American Masters" series now features an online 2-hour documentary which debuted May 15, 2012,
and which you can watch online right here, right now:

"Johnny Carson: King of Late Night"
which points out this interesting historical fact:
"Quite possibly the biggest star that television has ever produced,
Carson commanded, at his peak, a nightly audience of 15 million viewers – double the current audience of Leno and Letterman – combined."




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Lesson 7:

Social Commentary: 7 joke formats,
Date and time to be arranged, 3 hours
Includes 22-page Workbook.
Pre-requisites: Lesson 6
(see
registration form for details)
Learn: the classic wit's 3 axioms for corrective comedy.
7 joke formats you can put in your act or speech tonight!

Part I: To Be Political, or Not to Be Political
Corrective Comedy

Part II: The Classic Wit
Three axioms:
   1) Know thyself
   2) Of nothing too much
   3) Wonder at nothing
The Wit's Victims
The Wit as Speaker or Comic
   Major hopes and fears of my audience

Part III: Joke Forms vs. Joke Formats
1) Introductory joke format
   Practicing Your Jokes
   Audience Reactions to Absurdist Jokes
2) History and the Speaker/Comic joke format
3) Docu-Joke format
4) Big Hoax joke format
   "Getting him to deny it"
5) Self-deprecatory joke format
6) Precise Diction joke format
7) Contemporary Absurdity joke format

Additional Resources:
   "How to" books
   Old jokes you can use
   Quotations you can use
   Further examples of wit in:
      • comedy routines, speeches, funny books and plays, motion picture classics, etc.
   General sources and historical backgrounds:
      •political campaigns won using some of these joke formats, etc.
   Newspapers and Magazines focusing on Social Commentary
Other books, etc., I have referred to in the workbook


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Lesson 8:

Making the Audience Like You a Lot,
Dates and times to be arranged, 3 hours
Includes 36-page Workbook.
Pre-requisites: none

How to see yourself as others see you in order to find your own unique character.
Once they know who you are, it is much easier for your audience to respond eagerly
to your jokes or receive your serious messages.

Have You Ever Wanted to Make Someone Like You?
"Smile when you say that, partner!"
Before they will laugh at your jokes, you must get our unfocused society/audience/listeners to like you.
How?

Character is everything!
Positive archetypes:
• Successful stand-up comics, corporate speakers, movie heroes and past presidents.
Creating a recognizable character makes it easier for the audience to understand your joke: they laugh longer and harder!
• Examples.

Popular Male & Female Anti-Role Models
The cynical side of the American character says:
"Everything we do is stupid and the future is hopeless!"
Why do TV situation comedies lacerate parental figures?
Do we only trust terminally lonely, disillusioned characters who are sarcastic, selfish, self-interested, uneducated and borderline-poverty figures?

The Need for a true Hero/Heroine
What are the positive role models in popular culture?
What are the qualities common to most role models?
How do they survive the usual muck-raking to endure?
Your character's moral philosophy.

The hero cannot be stopped
• Examples from 430 B.C. through 2014 A.D.
Successful national ads:
• First, Sell the Character.
• Then, Sell the Product or Idea
Different jokes require you to play different aspects of your character.

More modern examples:
1) George Carlin: his transformation from a clean-shaven Las Vegas act to his long-hair and beard, back to trimmed beard, etc.
"Stay with me one more time!"
2) Joan Rivers: nasty gossip "Can we talk!" or sympathetic mother/older sister, depending on the situation.
3) John F. Kennedy: with jokes written for him by comic Mort Sahl,
• JFK begins 1960 Presidential election campaign casting himself as the underdog.
• By the end of that campaign, Kennedy recasts himself as the victor.

Polls: create a like-minded community
"The world starts to make sense after all!"

Use what polls say about your topics so you can play to predictable audience reactions.
Then, invite the audience to themselves become heroes!
• Examples.

Comics and Speakers are first of all: Salesmen
Why an identifiable emotion trumps actual product/joke.
• What combination of emotions has never failed in an ad?

Character as mask:
• communicate ideas more clearly.

"Never change your style!"
Your character's style must be consistent to create trust.
Inconsistent behavior creates mistrust, fragments.
• Examples: teacher, comic, sports logo.

Creating Trusting Business Relationships
How to win over individuals and audiences.
World's largest supermarket:
• customers become heroes.

Be a role model!
Do what you think is right no matter the circumstances nor the opinion of others.
• Example: as your comedy coach, no matter how painful it may be for you to hear it, I tell you the truth.
Plus, I back this up with examples of clients who became successful when they were consistently heroic!

The most trusted person in America

America's most beloved screen performer of all time

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Page last updated: Friday, May 24, 2013, 7:12 pm PST and Sunday, June 15, 2014, 4:18 pm PST.
Lesson 5: Delivery | Lesson 6: Topical Monologue
Lesson 7: Social Commentary | Lesson 8: Making the Audience Like You a Lot
Copyright © 1997-2014
Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Joan Rivers | Hecklers