Be Funnier With Scotty Meltzer: Hat Juggling

Variety performers have to wear many hats: writer, editor, director, performer, prop maker, agent, publicist, social media manager, even costumer. In any other form of theater, each of these jobs would be done by different people with different skills, different training, and different temperaments, yet most of us to do all these things and more ourselves. We don’t have to, …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Comedy Karaoke

Using volunteers is one of the easiest ways to get laughs. Adding a volunteer to a bit instantly makes it seem more spontaneous, raises the stakes, allows solo performers to do dialogue instead of just monologue, and creates opportunity for conflict—all great ingredients for comedy! But beware: Audience participation is such a powerful tool that many variety acts overuse it. In …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Mixing In Action

Comedy Fish

Last month I wrote about the three most common types of mix jokes: Mixes that apply attributes of one thing onto another Mixes that combine two familiar things to create something new Mixes that use one thing to talk about another I also presented the classic two-list method for writing these types of jokes: Find two subjects you have a …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Mixing it up

Comedy Fish

One of the most important tools in a comic’s kitchen is their mixer, and not just because we’re all bitter alcoholics. Mix jokes are a staple of the comedy diet, yet most variety performers try to survive on totally mix-free fare. In this month’s article, I’m going to help you expand your comedy palette to include some mixes on the …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: That’s Still Not Funny!

Last month Katrine and I did trade show presentations for an audience of cancer doctors. (I wrote about how we dealt with that in my previous article: “That’s Not Funny.” This month, I pick up where we left off.) The main tactic Katrine and I employed in our comedy writing for this gig was: Attack the periphery. Rather than making jokes …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: That’s Not Funny!

KATRINE: Client wants us to make jokes about cancer. SCOTT: How much does that pay? Katrine and I just finished doing three days of shows about cancer. This was not the easiest subject we’d ever been hired to write jokes about. Our client makes scanners and linear accelerators designed to find tumors and then blast them with radiation. They made …

Be Funnier With Scotty Meltzer: Doctoring Jokes

“Doctor, the audience doesn’t laugh when I do this.” “Don’t do that.” To be a successful comedy writer, either for your own act or for others, you need to do more than write jokes. You also need to be able to fix jokes. Along with being a joke writer, you have to be a joke doctor. Now sure, you could …

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Be Funnier With Scotty Meltzer: I Look At All The Funny People

I’m writing this article on the plane home from the IJA festival in Bowling Green, Ohio. What a fantastic week! If you’ve never been to an IJA festival, I highly recommend it. So much better than those magic conventions where they don’t have hover-chairs or a gauntlet. For me it was a week of learning new tricks, seeing old friends, …