Writing Monologues For Dummies

This week we read Joe Toplyn’s discussion on the formula of how to write great monologue jokes. Basically it boils down to taking true current events and adding an angle and a punch line. Toplyn created the seemingly perfect recipe so that anyone can write their own monologue jokes. However, I feel as though recently the vast majority of news stories have been about Donald Trump. With every nightly comedy news show trying to brainstorm the same list of associations we have for Donald Trump, wouldn’t the jokes get old very quickly? Donald Trump is certainly giving comedians no shortage of topics to mock relating to him, but the increased amount of comedy news programming and no letup of Donald Trump consistently making mainstream news headlines is wearing me out and getting a little bland.

This brings up the question, can a topic be worn out? Toplyn doesn’t discuss the over-saturation of a topic, only that you can repeatedly use the same topic provided you give it new angles and punchlines.Recently in comedy news programming, although the comedy is there, the repetitious topics of Trump and politics in general come off as depressing and unoriginal. I think it would be a good investment in late night television news programming to put in the extra effort to find topics that aren’t the same general thing we’ve already heard twenty times in the past week. I think this goes in with the basic media formula of analyzing what has worked in the past to get views and rating and over-saturating the media with more of that until the viewers can no longer stand it. This is how executives decide which television shows to pick up, so why wouldn’t they pick their monologue jokes the same way? Ideally in my perfect world, late night shows would be about the comedy and less about appealing to the mass market based on a series of statistics.


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