Rank Your Jokes
When you review your show, ensure that you have a list of your jokes next to you with space for writing a score for each one. Use a scale of A – F to rank each of your jokes as you listen to them during your review. An A joke is one that gets the most laughs; an F joke is one that gets crickets.
As you use the process as part of your continual improvement process, you will eventually end up with a show that has all A level material. With this ranking process you can edit out the jokes that received the lowest scores to slowly improve your show to all A’s.
Considering the fact that most comics will only permanently use about 10 percent of all the jokes they write and only about 10 percent of those will get a score of A, you will only end up keeping one joke of every 100 that you write making this a tough process. This is meant to show how important it is to keep a regular writing schedule rather than to discourage you. You need a regular writing schedule so that you know you have time to constantly create new material and improve your show. Think about this: if you write one joke a week you will end the year with 52 jokes or approximately 30 minutes of new material.
When you rank your jokes, you may want to rank two or three different performances before you make any changes. Getting multiple rankings for each joke will help you determine the average ranking of the jokes. It will also give you a better idea as to how different audiences may respond to your jokes.
You may only end up with one A joke in your whole routine, which is okay because you are always improving. Do not let one A, a few B’s and C’s and several D’s – F’s in one show discourage you. Delete the F’s and write a few new jokes, then perform again. Next time you will be able to delete the E’s, and then the D’s and so on until you are left with only the A’s.
This is a continual process, and you may even find that a C joke becomes a B joke just because you used a different tone. By prioritizing and organizing your jokes based on their quality, you will begin to see patterns of what works well and what does not work well. This will make writing good jokes easier.