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7. Keep that shit tight.

This one is probably the most important one on the list. BE CONCISE. Be clear. Monologue jokes should be short – like 2-3 lines max. When I came to a packet with long, paragraph-like monologue jokes, I would immediately become disappointed and struggle through it. This of course is a larger note about practicing joke writing. If that’s something you want to do professionally, you need to get that shit TIGHT! Write jokes every day. Twitter can be very helpful in learning brevity. Watch the late night monologues, Weekend Update, anything you can to learn solid joke structure. Learn that stuff first, and then try to get creative with the form.

This is also important for sketch. Outline the concept as clearly as you can – make us SEE it and love it. Give it a title (a clever one can’t hurt!) so we’re immediately drawn in. Remember that our brains are turning into mush after reading so much. Make it simple and clear and effortless. Include beats, sample lines, sample dialogue – but do NOT include an entire script! That is too much and will make us cry.

8. Write your joke. Then write it again.

I hate to break it to you, but we are all unoriginal. I was shocked to find that almost everyone would make the same jokes OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Some jokes were verbatim, and I’d start getting confused and paranoid that everyone had conspired and written jokes together. Turns out, the first joke that comes to mind about a current event is probably similar to the one everyone else will make (myself included!). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make that obvious joke. Make it – but make it special. Give it a second pass and come up with an alternate angle or wording. A joke may be hilarious the first time I read it, but after reading it 25 times, it starts to sound hacky (even if it’s truly funny!). Try to protect yourself from that situation.

Things To Consider When Submitting To Write For A Late Night Show! :: saraschaefer.com

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