The Life Cycle of a Joke


Here’s a fun look at the development of one standup joke (by comedian Myq Kaplan) from its earliest conception, through workshopping in front of different audiences, to delivery on Conan. It’s really cool to see how the most concise delivery of a funny idea gets honed in on, and how much impact each small choice has on the whole.

With jokes every word matters. So Mr. Kaplan’s first breakthrough was three days later onstage at the Comedy Studio in Boston, where on the spot he changed “bottom of your shoe” to “lady feet-bottoms.” He liked the sound. When he ran the entire joke by Josh Gondelman, a comic who often gives him feedback on new material, the verdict via e-mail was decisive: “Feet-bottoms is funny!”