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In last month’s column, Thou Shalt Not Steal, I wrote about an ethical way to steal jokes I called “switching to the bone.” The steps were:
Step 1) Write down the joke you want to steal.
Step 2) Write down the essence of what makes that joke funny. This could be the structure, the conflict, the type of ambiguity, the type of hypocrisy, the formula, whatever you think is the heart of the joke.
Step 3) Write a bunch of examples that express your answer in Step 2.
Step 4) Choose the examples from Step 3 that you find funny and turn them into complete, performable jokes.
Step 5) Make sure you’ve switched the original joke all the way to the bone. Would the author of the original joke know where your new joke came from? Would both get a laugh if performed in the same show?
Step 6) Try your new joke onstage.
This month we ethically steal another joke using a comedy writing method called “modeling.”
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