"Just Like That, But Funny," Todd Levin
I just found this article by Todd Levin, a guy who wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. It’s about how comedy sketches can get unfunny, and man, there are a lot of ways.
According to Levin, sketches can go wrong because they feature: bad actors, bad Korean actors (for some reason separated into their own category), jokes about burning infants, jokes about horse masturbation, audio of horses “whinnying in ecstasy,” artificial lakes.
It’s a pretty comprehensive list, but I still have stuff to add to it, because I have been getting feedback on a bunch of my bad jokes at work lately. Which is great! Usually, when I tell bad jokes, people are just like “Haha…” and then they trail off and look sadly at their hands. But now people are actually telling me, kindly but firmly, what is wrong. What is wrong is that:
- I made tortoiseshell glasses sound like a beverage.
- I wrote six jokes and then, looking over them after, realized they were all about billboards.
- I made a list of two similar things and one different thing, as in: “My favorite colors are red, green, and bear.” Which is, as a supportive friend pointed out to me, “totally fine! It’s just not a joke.”
Sometimes I do okay, though. I wrote something about candy today that I liked! Maybe I will improve. Or maybe I will just make a lateral move and get obsessed with horse masturbation. I’ll keep y’all posted.