Glossary 

 

1st story: the scenario imagined in the mind of the audience based on the setup of a joke.

2nd story: the scenario imagined in the mind of the audience based on the punch of a joke.

act out: a quick scene where one or more POVs is enacted during a comedian’s show; also see scene work.

ad-lib: to make up a joke within a scripted show.

alternative reinterpretations: a list of meanings or functions of the connector that are not the same as that of the target assumption, one of which will become a reinterpretation.

anchor joke: a joke term that weighs down any conversation about writing jokes.

assumption: 1.) the audience’s expectation that the 1st story will continue along the predicted line of though. 2.) everything one is not experiencing with one’s senses in the present.

beat: take a a pause; to take a break for the purposes of comic timing.

behavioral jokes: jokes constructed with the nonverbal connectors of character, emotions/state of mind, body language/actions, and sound effects.

bit: a section of a stand-up comedy show or routine, also a short routine or a section of a routine.

blue material: jokes using graphic sexual overtones, scatological (toilet) references, and swear words.

bomb: to to perform a comedy show which gets no or few laughs.

booker: a person who hires and/or pays comedians to work in nightclubs.

callback: a joke that refers back to another joke performed earlier in the show; often presented in a different context.

capper: an antiquated term for the final in a series of jokes on the same subject matter which ends the routine with the biggest laugh.

catch phrase: a common phrase said in a extraordinary manner which becomes the trade make of a particular comedian. For instance Steve Martin’s “Excuse me.” or Billy Crystal’s “You look marvelous.”

character: POV the perceptual position achieved when pretending to be someone or something else.

closing line: the final joke of a stand-up comedy show which should get a huge laugh.

comic: says funny things.

comedian: says things funny.

juggler: that’s what Michael Davis is.

connector: at the center of a joke, the one thing perceived in at least two ways. One way of perceiving it constitutes the target assumption; the second way of perceiving it reveals their interpretation.

crowd work: verbally bantering with the audience; also see riffing.

descending tags: tags that get increasing smaller laughs following the initial punchline.

emcee: Master or Mistress of Ceremonies; the person who introduces the performers; also see M.C.

feature: the second comedian in the standard three comedian stand-up comedy show line-up; also see middle.

flop sweat: the overabundance of perspiration one experiences from a panic reaction to bombing.

flopping: bombing; not getting laughs.

gag file: a joke file.

gag: a joke.

gig: a show business job.

graphing: a scaling device with dots on paper for evaluating the effectiveness of jokes to determine their proper placement within a routine or show.

hack: comic who performs orverused and unorginal material.

hammocking: a technique for placing weaker material or improvisation between two strong comedy bits.

headliner: the third and last comedian considered the star of a standard stand-up comedy show.

heckler: an audience member who talks and interrupts a show, usually by exchanging insults with the comedian.

improvisation: akin to ad-lib, but usually refers to the spontaneous making up an entire bit or the continual comedic conversing with audience members.

inside joke: a joke referring to information only a select group of people have.

joke: a device for expressing humor that employs a setup which contains a target assumption to misdirect the audience into accepting a bogus 1st story; and a punch which contains areinterpretation which creates a 2nd story that shatters the target assumption.

joke diagram: a visual aid for illustrating the structure of a joke.

joke file: jokes organized and stored on index cards or in a computer.

jokey: 1. a term used to describe such obvious jokes that one would expect to hear a rim shot following them. 2. a comic’s groupie.

kill: to to give an excellent comedy performance.

laughs per minute: a measurement for counting the number of laughs in a show.

line-up: a list of the comics slated to perform.

LPM: laughs per minute.

M.C.: Master or Mistress of Ceremonies; the person who introduces the performers; also see emcee.

middle: the second comedian in the standard three comedian stand-up comedy show line-up; also see feature.

mike: abbreviation for microphone.

monologue: a speech for one person; in comedy, a stand-up comedy script for a solo comedian.

narrator POV: the perceptual position achieved when being an observer or non-participant of an experience.

on the road: continually working outside of one’s city of residence.

one-liner: a joke made up of only one or two sentences.

one-nighter: a job which only lasts one night.

open-mike: a policy to allow anyone to get on stage and try to be funny.

opener: the first of three comedians in a standard comedy club line-up.

opening line: the first joke of a stand-up comedy routine.

pause: to stop talking in a show to enhance the timing of a joke.

performance style: Is a broad manner of presentation that encompasses some or all of your material.

POV: point of view.

POVs: points of view

premise: the central concept from which a series of jokes or a routine is written.

presentation: A context and patter for a specific trick.

punch: the second part of a joke that contains a reinterpretation that creates a 2nd story thatshatters the setup’s target assumption.

punch line: (same as punch).

regulars: comedians who appears frequently at a particular nightclub.

reinterpretation: an unexpected meaning or function of the connector that shatters the target assumption.

reveal: within the punch, the pivotal word, phrase, or action that exposes or presents the 2nd story’s reinterpretation.

riffing: verbally bantering with the audience; also know as crowd work.

rip into or ripping: to attack, insult, or verbally tear into an audience member or comic who has heckled or otherwise deserves the abuse.

roll: on a delivering a string of jokes so that the audience continues laughing for an extended period without interruption.

routine: jokes all on the same subject or story that can be repeated on a regular basis.

running gag: multiple callbacks; a recurring joke within the same show.

scene work: a quick scene where one or more POVs is enacted during a comedian’s show; also see act out.

segue: a transitional sentence for purposes of leading from one joke or routine to another.

self POV: the perceptual position achieved when performing as ones self while participating in an experience.

set: a a stand-up comedy show of any length.

setup: the first part of a joke that contains a target assumption to misdirect the audience into accepting a bogus 1st story.

shatter: with reference to joke structure, the point at which the audience realized that the target assumption is wrong.

showcase: to perform a stand-up comedy show for little or no compensation for the purposes of getting experience or being seen by a potential employer.

showcase club: a comedy club using a line-up of ten or more comics in a row.

shtick: a Yiddish word meaning a comic scene or piece of business; often implying physical comedy.

sight gag: a physical joke meant to be watched.

stage time: the duration, in minutes, a comedian spends in front of an audience making them laugh.

tag or tag line: an additional punch immediately following a punch that does not require a new setup.

take: a a comedic facial reaction. Like the long Jack Benny take to the audience.

target: a shorter term for target assumption.

target assumption: the misdirecting assumption in a joke’s setup which creates the 1st story and is shattered by the reinterpretation.

throw away: to put little emphasis on a point usually considered important.

time slot: the specific spot a comedian occupies within a showcase club line-up.

timing: the use of tempo, rhythm, pause, etc. to enhance a joke, or tailor it to an individual performing situation.

topic: the single and overall subject of a routine based on a problem.

topical jokes: about current events.

topper: an antiquated term referring to a joke playing off a previous joke; same as tag.

universal presentation: These are presentations that aren’t limited to any one trick. I guess “universal” is a bit of a misnomer, because they can’t be used for any trick, but they can be used for many tricks. Also called a Form.

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