The Comedy Reverse
This article is part of the series, “How to Write 101 Jokes that Kill“
- Write at least 10 jokes using the Comedy Reverse.
Learn the Comedy Reverse just by watching this video!
I teach Comedy at a prestigious community college in Denver. Students learn from the same book that taught me several comedy writing techniques. The book is Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer, and one of my favorite chapters is about the Comedy Reverse.
- The comedy reverse is misdirection. (aka the old switcheroo!)
Watch my first learning video!!!
The Comedy Reverse video was my first homework assignment!
- My goal for creating the video was to offer a different way for students to learn the technique.
- Some students, including me, learn better by watching a video or listening to a podcast.
- I thought the video would help students learn the technique and see how I apply it to material.
How to write comedy reverses in 2-steps.
- Step 1: Set-up the joke with a keyword, phrase, cliche, etc.
- Step 2: Add misdirection to your punchline.
Example of a joke that uses the comedy reverse technique.
“I was raised in New Hampshire where the State Motto is ‘Live Free or Die’. I chose move.”
- STEP 1: The set-up uses a little-known fact about New Hampshire.
- STEP 2: The punchline uses misdirection because choosing to move is a different option than living free and dying for it.
Now, it’s time to write jokes.
- After watching the video, or reading the book, you understand the basics of the comedy reverse technique.
- Now, it’s time to write jokes!
Let’s get started!
Start by choosing 5 topics.
- Select your favorite topics for jokes.
- Brainstorm each idea for keywords, clichés, and related words.
- Think about any words, phrases or ideas that are related to your topic and sound funny.
- Evaluate your notes and select 5 set-ups and/or punchlines.
- Convert you set-ups and punchlines into 5 jokes that use the comedy reverse technique.
Now, you’ve got 5 new jokes to try at your next comedy show!
Put your jokes to the test.
Write 5 one-liners for social media.
Use these suggestions for topic to write 5 new jokes using the comedy reverse technique.
- Current Events
- What’s in your refrigerator?
- Upcoming Holidays
- Your Neighborhood
Post the jokes on social media and interact with your audience. After a few days, revisit the post and evaluate the response to determine if you wrote funny jokes.
You have finished this section on the Comedy Reverse!
- After successfully completing the joke writing challenges, you have at least 10-new jokes!
- If you’re enjoying this series, How to Write 101 Jokes that Kill, please scroll down for links to more articles.
Suggested Order for the Series
START HERE: How to Write 101 Jokes that Kill
- The Comedy Reverse
- Write a Set List with an opener, segues, and closers
- Add more jokes with tags and call-backs
Part 2 | Pun with Wordplay
Part 3 |Topical Humor, customized jokes, and writing funny stories for stand-up comedy.
- Current Events Jokes
- Holiday jokes that kill
- Writing funny stories for stand-up comedy
Final Project: Write a 10-minute Showcase Set
Laugh, like, share.
Please share this article with comedians in your neighborhood comedy scene.