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As I wrote in my first column, Comedy Darwinism, whenever I’ve asked any group of comedy jugglers or comedy magicians where their jokes come from, most answer: “It was something that happened while I was onstage.”
Almost no one says: “I stole it from someone else’s show.”
And yet, if you watch most shows, and I’m definitely including my own in this, you’ll see gags you’ve also seen in others.
You may not know who stole what from whom. You probably won’t know what was bought or traded for. If you’re new to the biz, you might not know which bits are public domain (which usually means “stolen by a lot of people”). But you will at least know that those jokes are not original to everyone doing them.
There is, however, a moral, ethical, and original way to steal a joke. It’s called “switching.” When you do it the way I recommend, it becomes “switching to the bone.”
That’s what we’re going to learn to do now.
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