Home Contact Biography Works Media News

Jane Recommends
Who Hates Whom / Bob Harris

Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris

"The geopolitical equivalent of scorecards that get hawked at ball games. Only Bob could make a user’s guide to our increasingly hostile world this absorbing, this breezy, and—ultimately—this hopeful."
~ Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac


Jane in Print
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe, edited by Jane Espenson

Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and including Jane Espenson's short story, "Georgiana"

Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson and Glenn Yeffeth

Jane in DVD

Jane in DVD

Now Available:
+Battlestar Galactica Season 3
+Dinosaurs Seasons 3 & 4
+Gilmore Girls Season 4
+Buffy: The Chosen Collection
+Tru Calling
+Angel: Limited Edition Collectors Set

Jane in Progress


Home » Archives » May 2007 » I Can't Believe I Remember This from 1994
[Previous entry: "More Speculation"] [Next entry: "The Thing on Giles' Lapel"]

05/28/2007: I Can't Believe I Remember This from 1994

Some jokes work better when said out loud than in print. I think I've mentioned this before, but I've just remembered a really good example of this. I remember seeing an episode of The John Larroquette Show with the following joke (approximate, from memory):

Your mother is Connie Rogers?

She was. She changed it to Connie Selleca.

Oh. After the...

After the car.

A very strange little joke. Whatever you may think of it, you have to admit that it works far better when heard and not read. If you end up with a joke like this in your spec you may be debating how to properly get it down on paper so that it works -- add some stage directions to clarify it, maybe?

Nope. Cut it, change it. There is always another joke. This is probably the biggest lesson of comedy writing. No matter how much you love a joke, even if a particular joke was why you decided to write a certain episode, there is always another one. I've seen scripts where a given spot in a given scene is (temporary) home to more than a half-dozen jokes over the course of a week. And those are just the pitches that made it onto the page at some stage. Many more will have been pitched in the room.

Give it a try. Pick a random joke in your script. It can even be one you like, and imagine you've just been told that the only change you need to make is to improve that joke. I bet you can do it. Now do it with every single joke in your script. It's just like being on a show!

Lunch: Vietnamese rice noodles with pork and shrimp


Get Blog Updates Via Email

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Walt Disney Writing Fellowship Program
UC Berkeley
Jane recommends you also visit BobHarris.com



May 2007

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Powered By Greymatter
Greymatter Forums

Home | News | Works | Biography | Frequently Asked Questions

Site design Copyright © PM Carlson
This is a fan site owned and operated entirely by PM Carlson with the cooperation and assistance of Jane Espenson. This site is not affiliated in any way with Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox or ABC.