Two memorable moments
Joan Rivers, R.I.P. (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014).
Whenever I was MCing
a professional comedy show
and introduced a comedienne as "the second funniest
woman in America,"
people would come up to me afterwards and ask,
the funniest? Joan Rivers?"
No other name was ever mentioned.
From my workbook for Lessons 6, "Topical
Monologues: 11 joke formats," page 65:
A brief History of Topical Monologues
. . . on Dangerous Subjects:
the two weeks before I teach my seminar "Topical
Monologues: 11 joke formats,"
I daily monitor many a TV Talk show host's opening monologue for topical jokes to find the day's hottest topic.
Here are some highlights intended to give you a feel for that electrical
charge topicality can add to your act:
When it's over, it's over!
Many years ago, after
a long and well-publicized drought in California
(much like the current drought for 2014),
Johnny Carson did a sketch about a weatherman who keeps denying that the drought
As he goes through his administrative double-talk,
which replicated what
government officials were still telling the public,
the roof begins to leak.
At first, it is just a dribble.
By the end of the sketch, the weatherman is
The Audience can even hear the rain drops hitting his microphone.
Of course, he continues to deny that the drought is over.
Carson adds a whimsical
dimension by cracking up, unable to finish the sketch!
January 28, 1986 the space
shuttle Challenger blew up moments after its launch.
Crew of Challenger who all died in the disaster
The nation mourned the untimely death of the astronauts.
But that night, Joan Rivers was guest-hosting "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"
and David Letterman hosted his own show "Late
Rivers wisely began the show by skipping the opening monologue, and replacing it with a sincere eulogy.
But she kept her perky character in tact as she personified a saddened but not
Once the show began,
both she and first guest Tony Danza
intelligently picked the only safe target
•all jokes were aimed at themselves and nothing else.
Then, she closed the show with another firm eulogy.
Letterman tastelessly opened his show with an uncomfortable tribute to the astronauts,
followed by some very lame Super Bowl football jokes.
He played his character without his usual energy, seeming defeated by the day's
He appeared to be avoiding the subject after acknowledging it.
Then, at the
close of the show, he seemed both uncomfortable and insincere in lamenting the
days pathetic events,
tossing it off in one sentence:
he just thanked the audience "for
helping us get through the show tonight."
It was an unusual step down in class
for this brilliant comic.
Pre-requisites for my Lesson 6, "Topical Monologue: 11 joke formats" audio/workbook
(92-page workbook with 4 1/2 hours of audio)
are Lessons 1-4 which are available as:
•a stand-alone 352-page workbook without audio
•Or 600-page audio/workbook package with 2 hours and 24 minutes of audio
•The 600-page version also come included as part of my entire Home Study
1,200 pages of workbooks and
related handouts, plus 21 hours of audio
"The Fundamentals of Stand-Up Comedy," Lessons 1-4:
Page created: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 3:22 pm PST and updated: Sunday,
September14, 2014, 6:00 pm PST.
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