Back when I used to be serious about comedy, I’d write ideas for bits on scraps of paper, napkins, the backs of keno tickets or whatever was handy. I have hundreds, maybe thousands of these potential bits in a briefcase sitting near my desk. More than 90% of them never turned into a full fledged part of my act. Some never made it because they just weren’t funny when I looked at them later.
“I traveled thru Indiana recently. I was in Gary for about an hour. I gotta tell ya, he didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did…”
“Now that I’m single I live with two other guys and they have cats. They piss on the carpet, shed constantly, and rub all over my legs any chance they get. Thank God the cats are well behaved.”
“I made a mistake and got my kid the “Hooked on Phonics” program. Now he’s completely strung out. I found a baggie full of scrabble tiles in his room. Not the cheap stuff either, it was full of X’s and Q’s.”
“I have a smart dog. I taught him to heel and he cured my mom’s glaucoma.”
Some things I can’t do because I lost a bunch of weight. When I first started in stand-up I was sometimes over three hundred pounds. Being that fat lends itself to a specific set of jokes.
“You know, being a fat dude, the question I get asked most is ‘You want that for here or to go?’”
“I’m so fat, on Halloween, sumo wrestlers go dressed as me.”
“I’m so fat, when I go to Arkansas for my family reunion the cows go Dave tipping.”
“I’m so fat there’s a book coming out called ‘Women are from Venus, Dave is Mars.”
Other stuff never got in because I was afraid it was too insensitive or offensive to do in front of an audience. Nothing makes ME laugh like inappropriate humor mind you, it’s just not usually something I’m comfortable admitting or doing at a corporate gig in front of uptight business executives. I won’t give specific examples here obviously. Suffice it to say that jokes about mongoloids, paraplegics, or republicans are rarely funny to the masses.
A lot of stuff never made it because when I looked at two or three weeks later, I had no fucking idea what it meant. Some of it was just illegible. Most of it just didn’t make sense.
On the back of a check from Applebee’s: Blow me and cheese sandwich.
On a cocktail napkin from a club: Clean your floors? Buff my hardwood.
At the bottom of an old grocery list: Porn movies / scaring the fish. AND… Hooker - Ranch - Pro - How’s my f’ing. (I’m not editing here, I actually wrote “f’ing”)
There’s a whole bunch more. These are things that must have struck me as potentially funny at the time. I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to make jokes out of these and I can’t come up with any. None that are funny anyway. I guess that’s why I don‘t do stand up much anymore. Writing funny jokes is hard. I only wish the inability to write funny stuff would stop other comics from performing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
All of the above examples of humor are either juvenile, don’t have a punch line, or they’re just plain not funny.
Maybe I should be writing for “Frank TV”?