First up in London is Funny’s new series of blogs about how comics write comedy is … mischievous motormouth Adam Bloom, one of the circuit’s cast-iron headliners
I’m sure that, in subsequent months, comedians writing for this page will go into great detail, explaining the incredible and unique thought process that goes into getting a new joke. I’d prefer to make one, simple point about writing as it genuinely was a revelation to me when I discovered it.
For the first eight years of my stand-up career, I only ever came up with material when it … happened to hit me. This would generally be when I was walking down the street in a daydream, chatting to friends or onstage when I was improvising. I felt like I had superpowers because, despite having hours of material, I wasn’t ever actually working at a desk.
As bohemian as this made my lifestyle, the huge downside was that deadlines became horrendously pressured, as I had no real control of the speed of my turnover. Any consecutive Edinburgh or Melbourne shows would involve semi-sleepless nights due to worrying. Hardly the behaviour of a superhero. I would sometimes bounce around existing ideas in my head on long train journeys, but I had no conscious way of creating an actual seed.
Then, in 2002, BBC Radio 4 approached me and gave me a pilot with a view to giving me a six-part series. I don’t use the word “approached” as a humble boast, the truth is that I would not have approached them as I saw myself as a dreamer, not a writer, and the thought of a series terrified me. So, I bought a laptop and started to write. I found it boring and stifling. This was nothing like sitting in cafés, bantering with friends.
Overnight I’d become that specky boffin I spent my schooldays gleefully distracting. I didn’t like anything about the new me. I’d be staring at a screen for ages, trying to write jokes about the restaurant industry (the theme of the pilot) and it wasn’t working at all. Then, after about an hour of this nonstop agony, my mind eventually drifted from the screen and started to daydream, luckily about restaurants.
Suddenly, and without meaning it to, a good joke occurred to me about restaurants. I snapped out of my dream and awoke to find myself, sitting in front of a computer screen with the word “Restaurants” written across it. Perfect. I wrote it down and that’s how I started the vital writing process.
So, the huge lesson I learned that day was that, for me, the only difference between daydreaming and writing is simply influencing your mind with what subject to daydream about. Who’d have known that Superman and Clark Kent were actually the same person?
The next “How I write” blog comes courtesy Paul “never writes anything down, ever” Sinha