The joke funnel

I’m reading Springfield Confidential by Mathew Klickstein and Mike Reiss, and it’s gotten me laughing out loud more than any book from my recent memory. It’s also inspiring me to write jokes every other sentence at this blog, which itself was going to be a setup for a joke but just ended up making me sad. In other words, it’s like being a Shopify shareholder, which I also am.

In all seriousness, the authors describe Reiss’s process when he worked at the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson:

Every day, the five writers would each turn in sixty jokes to head writer Ray Siller. From those three hundred jokes he’d select the eighteen best. Of those eighteen, Carson would choose his dozen favorites. That’s right: twelve jokes chosen from three hundred submitted—only 4 percent made the cut. Still, night after night, one out of every three jokes would bomb. It was the same during my years running The Simpsons: one out of three scripts bombed at the table reading.

Talk about quality emerging from quantity! It’s why I write every day at this blog; every year I submit 365 ideas to the world through the internet, and from there I’ll select the few best and refine them next year. 

A passage from Tina Fey’s Bossypants comes to mind:

Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets. And unfortunately, sometimes the shit nuggets will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.

Deriving from Fey’s passage, this blog post doesn’t go up because it’s good, it goes up because it’s 11:11am et.

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