Key Concepts

Economy of Expression
Referential Repetition

Key Principles

Activate the audience's prior knowledge & experiences (Familiarity)
Build relationships with the audience
  • Personalize content to audience (location, objects, weather)
  • Share stories
Craft expectations, then create contrast
Delivery is everything
Engage the audience's emotions (Dreams, Failures, Fears, Hopes, Triumphs)
Feedback must guide your work
Go back to previously successful jokes



"The timbre of it, the shape of it, the length of it – there's so much information in a laugh. A lot of times, you could play me just the laughs from my set and I could tell you, from the laugh, what the joke was. Because they match." - Jerry Seinfeld

"Keeping his act sex- and swear-free, the way he sees it, is part of this athletic challenge, since it denies him the easiest laughs: 'A person who can defend themselves with a gun is just not very interesting. But a person who defends themselves through aikido or tai chi? Very interesting.'" - Jerry Seinfeld

"I do a lot of material about the chair. I find the chair very funny. That excites me. No one's really interested in that – but I'm going to get you interested! That, to me, is just a fun game to play. And it's the entire basis of my career." - Jerry Seinfeld