Sunday, June 12, 2011
Q and A with comedy writer Gary Bachman
I became aware of Gary Bachman when I began submitting jokes to DailyComedy. He's a regular there and even as a novice, he would always ecourage me with his seal of approval of my jokes. The guy is not only positive, he's also very funny and witty. He is one of my favorite writers because of his unique take on current events.
1-HOW DID YOU GET INTO WRITING COMEDY?
I’m blessed to have been raised in a family that laughed a lot. I wrote my first joke in sixth grade. My sixth grade teacher wrote on my report card that she liked my “witticisms.” I incorporated humor into my writing assignments in high school, but then after high school I pursued several different careers and humor writing was set aside. It wasn’t until Al Gore invented the Internet that I started writing humor again.
2-WHAT IS YOUR JOKE WRITING PROCESS?
I write mostly by using word associations, word plays, and trying to form connections between two different ideas. For example, Anthony Weiner made me think of condiments and condiments sounds like condoms. So I wrote a joke about Weiner not having any love children because he used a condiment.
3- WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED TO BE A PROLIFIC AS YOU ARE?
I write jokes because they are an intellectual challenge. They are an outlet for my creative impulses. A good joke gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And to be perfectly honest, I enjoy positive feedback from readers.
4- I LIKE YOUR QUOTE ON YOUR DASHBOARD THAT READS, "DON'T DO IT FOR THE MONEY. DON'T DO IT FOR THE FAME. DO IT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T NOT DO IT. CAN YOU EXPAND ON THIS QUOTE A LITTLE FURTHER.
This is a quote from Barry Manilow (my favorite singer growing up—now you know what a nerd I am). The quote is applicable because I’m not famous and am not making any money from writing jokes. And like Manilow, I write because I need an outlet for my creative impulses.
5- I NOTICED THAT MANY WRITERS ARE PRETTY INTROVERED AND/OR PRIVATE WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF THIS WAY?
Definitely. I try to avoid social situations. I feel very uncomfortable around strangers. I’m not good at small talk. I am extremely introverted. I fear making a fool of myself. I have put off doing stand up for this reason.
6- ARE THERE ANY TOPICS THAT ARE OFF LIMITS FOR YOU FOR MORAL REASONS?
I’m not sure how to answer that (which makes it sound like I have no ethical principles). For example, I made a joke about Kevorkian’s death, but I wouldn’t feel right about joking about the Japanese tsunami deaths (which got Gilbert Gottfried in trouble). I grew up attending church, so I probably wouldn’t do any jokes that question the existence of God or the authority of the Bible. As a Chrisitan, I feel a tinge of guilt when I write jokes that poke fun at celebrities or use sexual double entendres. But that doesn’t stop me.
7- BESIDES WRITING, HAVE YOU DONE ANY PERFORMING ARTS?
I did some acting in school and church. I once had two roles in a play about Moses—an Egyptian and the Pharoah. I had the distinction of dying twice in a one-act play.
8- WHAT PREMISES OR TOPICS DO YOU CONSIDER HACK OR OVERUSED?
I almost exclusively write about current events. I guess, for example, jokes about Anthony Weiner could grow tiresome. I don’t like comedic acts that use a lot of profanity and vulgarity (not that I’m prudish) .
9- WHAT IS THE SECRET TO BEING "FUNNY"?
I wish I knew. Perhaps I wouldn’t write so many bad jokes. Punchlines with a surprise twist are usually funny. And making connections between two disparate things.
10- WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING COMEDY WRITERS OR BLOGGERS THAT WANT TO INCORPORATE HUMOR IN THEIR WORK?
Keep writing. Joke writing is like baseball. In baseball if you get three hits for every ten at bats, you are a success. Same with joke writing. Accept the fact that you are going to write a lot of bad jokes. The more bad jokes your write the closer you are to writing a good one. Take a topic and write down all the words (people, things, places, etc) that relate to that topic. Then try to make connections and associations that are funny. Good luck!