by Jonas Polsky
DON’T SPAM TOPICAL JOKES.
You know how you’re sick of an interesting news story ten minutes after it breaks on twitter? That’s unnatural, it’s disordered, and it’s wrong. Before the cable news crawl has completed the headline, comedians have rushed to the internet, and are churning out jokes like their life depends on it.
The bizarre part is comedians are ruining their own party. The unending barrage of jokes about a story are taking a perfectly healthy horse, and whipping it to death, then beating the dead horse into dog food, then stomping the dog food into blood slush.
Let’s dial it back a little. There’s absolutely no rush, and no reward for being “the first” with any given angle on a story. Nothing is at stake, and you have virtually nothing to gain.
YOU’VE GOT TO SHUT UP.
Readers absolutely want to hear your hilarious take on a news story, we just don’t want to hear EVERY take on it. I don’t care to hear your real-time observations about a story until I’m sick of the story, and sick of you.
Each day, there are dozens of comedians, all tweeting about the same thing for hours on end. It’s testing everyone’s patience and just wringing all the fun out of social media.
GIVE US ONLY YOUR FUNNIEST IDEAS.
You have a smartphone, and you made your aunt laugh once, therefore you’re a bona fide comedian. But every idea of yours isn’t a hit. Read about a news story, take a pause, and write the very best joke you can think up.
I’ll say that again for emphasis: Show me the best joke you can come up with, and keep the rest to yourself. People are going to think you’re much funnier by seeing one great joke, than twenty-five lukewarm ideas.
Imagine Conan O’Brien doing a six minute monologue on just one subject. Would you watch that? Of course not, no one in their right mind would. What talk show hosts do instead, is tell one or two great jokes about a story, and move on to another one. That’s been working for decades, emulate it.
YOU’RE ANNOYING PEOPLE AND RUINING ONLINE COMEDY.
That’s right, you’re killing it, and not in a good way. People are tuning out, shutting down, and ignoring comedy on twitter because everyone is talking about the same thing, nonstop, all day. Readers show up for entertainment, but too much of the same thing inspires fatigue.
Yes, CNN won’t shut up about it, and other comedians are doing it, but ignore the herd mentality and write a joke about something else.
The sooner the subject changes, the more comics will shift gears along with you and comedy can return to normal. It’s that easy.
Look back at all the stupid jokes you wrote about a news story. Did you win an award? Did you get a free t-shirt from the Huffington Post? No, nothing happened. And nothing’s going to happen tomorrow, because no one is keeping score, and the game never ends.
So focus on the moment and be funny, but know when you’ve said enough.
And all of this goes double and quadruple for live-tweeting.
Everybody just shut up already.