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  • Writer's pictureTim Boyd

How Do You Come Up with Your Material?

How Do You Come Up with Your Material?


This is one of the most common questions that I get.  It’s a pretty easy answer.  I am ALWAYS writing material.  I can’t help but notice things that I think are unusual.  My eye is drawn to the misplaced word, the item that sticks out, or the phrase that makes no sense that everyone else will just let go.  Another way to say this, is that I can’t let anything go.

When something like this happens, I type out a little phrase in a “note” on my phone.  Once a week or so, I open the note.  If it’s still interesting, then I will keep it there and think about it for a while.  If it’s not interesting, I’ll delete it.  Whenever I fly, I pull out those notes and I start writing out the bit.  On one layover, I wrote 5, 5-minute, bits that had been in my mind for months. 


I’ll give two examples of this.  One is my most laughed at joke, and the other is my favorite joke that no one laughs at. 


I was in the line to get a smoothie and noticed that the menu was unusually large.  It overwhelmed me and I didn’t really know what to order.  I was embarrassed in the moment.  The worker asked what I wanted and I read out the name of one of the smoothies that had strawberry in it.  She asked me if I wanted to add anything.  I said no.  Then she asked if I wanted to add extra strawberries.  I turned that interaction into my opening joke.  That one resonates with audiences.


Another time I was in a diner, and we were ordering food.  One of the people at my table ordered an omelet in an odd way.  He asked for an omelet and wanted to add cheese and ham.  He hesitated as though he was really thing through it.  A ham and cheese omelet is, perhaps, the most ordered omelet in the world and here he was ordering it like he invented it.  I thought that was incredibly interesting.  I made it into a bit and have used it several times.  No one else in the world thinks it’s funny.


So, that’s the process! 

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