Whoop Blog

 

The Process. Part 1.

Currently (4-6-14) I am on a cruise ship in Alaska to perform a comedy juggling show and true to form rather than enjoy the beautiful scenery I am writing jokes. To my credit I am doing it on the top deck while whale watching (see: being disappointed). It occurred to me that the process of writing a good joke is pretty under appreciated, in so much as very few people know how much work goes into a single punchline.

So I decided it might be a good thing to document my process. I am looking for a joke to perform tonight that I've never performed before and that has something to do with the Alaskan cruise that I am currently on. I need a joke like this to to fulfill my daily quota of never-before-performed-and-topical jokes. These are the jokes that I wrote over the course of an hour (un-edited and in all their terrible glory). I will probably try one or two of these tonight. Hopefully they wont suck. 


1. I personally saw 5 whales today and I didn't even have to leave the buffet.
2. I think Global Warming is real: people on my Alaskan cruise are more excited about ice than killer whales.
3. Killer Whales don't kill people, their teeth do.
4. Whales don't kill people, Killer Whales do.
5. I think we should regulate the number of Killer Whales the Ocean can have. Lets be honest those Killer Whales aren't for self defense are they?
6. I wish there was a parasite called the Carpenter Fish that only attached itself to Hammerheads.
7. I wish Hammerheads only ate Nail Fish.
8. You can see all sorts of different whales in Alaska: Blue Whales, Orcas, Humpbacks and even Sperm Whales...but only if you see some Humpbacks first.
9. You can see all sorts of different whales in Alaska: Blue Whales, Orcas, Humpbacks, and even Sperm Whales...but only if you have a black-light.
10. If you can get a picture of a breaching Orca that's a once in a lifetime shot. Get a picture of a breaching Sperm Whale and that's the money shot.
11. This ship weighs more than 3,000 fully grown Blue Whales. And that's just the passengers.
12. When you see the back of a girls thong that's sometimes called a "Whale Tail". I vote that if you can see the front we call it a "Breach".
13. Seeing a whale is pretty rare. Seeing a thousand disappointed people is way more common.
14. If tuna is the "chicken of the sea" does that make whales the "Americans of the sea?
15. I've been on 5 Alaskan cruises and I've never seen a whale...you know outside of the ship.
16. I think they should rename "whale watching" to "whale lotto".
17. A boat is the only thing that separates whale watching from whale freaking-the-fuck-out.
18. Did you ever notice that the Little Mermaid doesn't have any whale friends. I guess she hates fat people.
19. They played the ships whistle to attract whales. Which in addition to being the first few bars of "When You Wish Upon A Star" is whale speak for "bow chicka bow wow". Turning all nearby whales into Humpship Whales.
20. They blew the ships whistle to attract whales but I think it would have been more effective to throw the tweens overboard.

Now, a lot of those jokes are crap. Some are dumb, more of them have bad structure, and the rest are offensive. You may have noticed that some of the jokes are repetitive. I often will write out a joke several times before I find a version that I like. Sometimes only a word or two will change between versions but I personally find it helpful to re-write the whole thing. I wrote those twenty jokes in my notebook exactly like you see them. I even tried to include the grammar and spelling mistakes but I lost the game of tug-of-war with AutoCorrect.

While I'm writing I try to avoid judging what I am writing so that nothing gets in the way of the "creative process". This results in sub-par jokes and jokes that are offensive, racist, sexist, and otherwise unfit for public consumption. That's okay. Luckily this joke writing session didn't go down any of those rabbit holes and I am able to share un-edited what I came up with. After the initial brainstorming process I take a second look at the list and see which jokes feel worth trying.

Since I am working on a Disney ship it means I can't make fun of Disney, the guests, and I can't swear (I can make sexual innuendos though, go figure). I will get rid of all of the fat jokes and the jokes that have swearing in them. Those jokes are 1,11,14, 17, 18, and 20. Three of those jokes are fat jokes (half of the cruise) and 20 is about tweens (the other half) and so those are no goes. 17 has some swearing and 18 is about a licensed Disney character which is worse than a thousand fat jokes about tweens with the word "fuck" used as punctuation.
Now that I've gotten rid of the jokes that I obviously can't use I will take a third look for jokes that I like. That leaves me with 5,9,13, and 19.
5. I think we should regulate the number of Killer Whales the Ocean can have. Let's be honest those Killer Whales aren't for self defense are they?
9. You can see all sorts of different whales in Alaska: Blue Whales, Orcas, Humpbacks, and even Sperm Whales...but only if you have a black-light.
13. Seeing a whale is pretty rare. Seeing a thousand disappointed people is way more common.
19. They played the ships whistle to attract whales. Which in addition to being the first few bars of "When You Wish Upon A Star" is whale speak for "bow chicka bow wow". Turning all nearby whales into Humpship Whales.

 

I think 5 would be a better Facebook status update or Twitter post. But 9,13, and 19 seem like they are worth trying. I'll let you know which one I end up trying and how terrible it goes.

All of this work for three potential jokes, it seems like a lot of work and it is. But it's not some mysterious process. It's just hard work. Putting pen to paper and writing as many jokes that you could think of. Then you hone and refine and cut until you find something you like. There are lots of resources and books and online articles that will help you become a better comedy writer. They all will offer the same advice: write every day. You have to write a lot of average jokes to find one great one.

I wrote this so you could see how much work goes into one joke for one show that I may never have the chance to perform again. This is also the kind of work I do everyday for the people who hire me to write jokes for their shows. I don't actually spend a lot of time whale watching. Unless you count the time I spend in buffet lines.