Jokes & Comedians/Stand up



I've written a routine for a stand-up gig, but some people have told me I need to "trim the fat" from my jokes. Also, some of them sounded funny to me, but one or two people don't find them funny. Now I'm a bit nervous. Is there anything I should do to find out how to improve them?


Chris --

Thanks for your message. It can sometimes be hard to move from the planning phase to the point where you consider your routine "final" (or at least ready to go). You probably have had the experience of every time you go over your routine again, you find some change that you would like to make. Now you think it's pretty good, but you know it's not perfect (or, at least, not everybody thinks it's perfect).

It sounds to me like your routine is ready to go.

This is not to say that it might not still have "fat" to trim or that some of your jokes may not yet turn out to be losers. It's just that you're going to need to figure out these refinements in real performance, paying attention to how your audiences react to what you say and how you say it. Until you're famous enough that they make a DVD of your routine and it's frozen in time forever :), you have the wonderful privilege of changing it every single time you do it, and that's a good thing.

Good luck!

-- Tom

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I can answer questions about The Capitol Steps, a political (mostly musical) satire group based in Washington, DC which performs in Washington, around the U.S., and twice a year on public radio. I can answer questions about who is performing which role in Capitol Steps sketches and songs on albums and can help identify a Capitol Steps routine (and which album or radio show includes it) based on partial lyrics. I can also provide tips and suggestions for those interested in writing and performing spoonerism-based comedy similar to the Steps' "Lirty Dies."


I have been a Capitol Steps fan since about 1995. I own all the albums and have listened to each dozens of times. I have particularly studied (and particularly admire) the Steps' "Lirty Dies" routines and I have written and performed material of this sort. Despite the fact that I live halfway across the U.S. from Washington, I've attended many live Capitol Steps performances, including several at their permanent locations in the DC area.

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