I’ve had many people ask me “Is using an old joke a no-no, something you should avoid?” My answer is a good joke is a good joke, no matter how old it is. An old joke is always new to somebody, and that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up an old joke to make it your own. This is especially true if you are working for kids, as they might not have ever heard the old joke in question. All jokes would be new to kid show audiences.
Many successful professional vents occasionally use an old joke, but they make it their own in the context of their script. In fact there are comedy writers who feel that there is nothing new under the sun, that all the jokes and joke premises have been used before and are already out there.
My opinion on this is that if the joke works in your act and gets a great reaction, keep it! Some audience members may have heard it before but that’s not saying they won’t still like it, especially if you use it in a clever way within your routine.
I know of some vents who are so original with the material that they write, that nobody laughs. It’s original alright, but not funny. Always go for the funny! Now I am not advocating stealing material from other vents, but a common old joke that can be used in your routine isn’t doing any harm. Jokes you find on line or in old joke books aren’t bad..it’s the way in which you use them and place them in your routine that is bad.
If you get nothing else from this blog it’s “always go for the funny!” You and your audiences will be glad you did!
To contact Mark Wade: firstname.lastname@example.org