I’ve been watching Improv shows all weekend trying to find a secret to writing great punchlines into a script. I have to say that, for the most part, Improv sucks. It’s boring. And it can put even the most optomistic fan to sleep most nights. This is what the world without writers looks like. A big mess. Also, it’s sooooo freaking white that I felt like I needed to be from Montana to understand why anyone would ever want to see this sort of theater. I am convinced that the world would be a horrible place without us writers. If all I could watch was improv for entertainment, I would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. However, they do know a lot about comedy and for that reason alone, they are worth studying. After watching about five hours worth of improv, I have found that there are three surefire punchlines that can almost always get a laugh out of an audience.
Here they are: (1) Sex jokes (2) Observations about religion and (3) Jokes about drugs.
So, think of a great one line set up and bring in the laughs every time with a great observation about sex, drugs, or religion. It doesn’t even have to be an observation. Sometimes just a reference is all it takes. I would like to also add that jokes about race, rare diseases, or mental handicaps tend to get laughs but you run the risk of getting into a lot of trouble. A whole lot of trouble. Like never-having-another-friend-in-the-world type of trouble. I would stay away from these kinds of jokes unless you really know what you’re doing.
Now, go back to something that you wrote recently and see if you can add three laughs per page using either sex, drugs, or religion. That means in 30 pages, you should have at least 60 to 90 laughs. If you can do that, then you need to start your own show/comedy crew. Good luck!