Tuesday, January 5, 2016

3 Keys for Using Sight Gags

A good sight gag can really help a public speaker to get the attention of an audience. What is a sight gag? It’s just a joke where some object is the punchline. Carrot Top has made an excellent career out of sight gags. People look at what he does and think it’s easy. Carrot Top may make it look easy, but it’s not. Here are 3 tips to using sight gags effectively.

  • The sight gag is the punchline. Timing is just as important with a sight gag as it is with any other joke. Remember that the punchline follows the setup, and don’t get ahead of yourself.
  • Sight gags have to be big enough for everybody in the audience to see. It’s not very good if the people in front get the joke but the people in back are clueless. Test the sight gag. Get somebody to hold it up where you’re going to be standing and then move around the room where audience members will be to make sure everyone will be able to see it.
  • Keep it simple. Sight gags have to be visually funny and self-explanatory. People aren’t going to laugh just because you pulled something out of a box. If you can’t count on most of the people in your audience getting the joke without having to explain it to them, you’re probably better off not using it.

If you can use yourself as a sight-gag, that can work very well. One of my comedy friends was a fat black guy named Ace. “Now, I’d like to do my impression of the number 10,” he would say. Then he would stand next to the mic stand. “And now, for any dyslexics in the audience…” Then he turned around and stood on the other side of the mic stand. It was hilarious.

When I started out in comedy, I used lots of sight gags because they set me apart from the other comedians in the circles where I was performing. Very few used props. One of the best sight gags I came up with was also one of the dumbest. Whenever there was a Star Wars movie in the theatres, I would ask “Do we have any Star Wars fans in the house?” Then I would hold up 2 posters with the number 4 on them. “May the 4s be with you.” Simple, stupid, and it worked every time.

If you found this post useful, share it with your friends and colleagues. The sharing buttons are below.

If you liked this tip about telling jokes, you can find many more in Humor 101: How to Tell Jokes for Power, Prestige, Profit, and Personal Fulfillment. Check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment