Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/12169-Working-Hard.html
Comedy: September 13, 2023 Issue [#12169]

 This week: Working Hard
  Edited by: Robert Waltz
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Reality is easy. It's deception that's the hard work.
         —Lauryn Hill

Sometimes hard work doesn't pay off.
         —Jimmy Walker

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?'
         —Don Marquis

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

Comedy is hard work.

It may not seem like it, but all that snappy dialogue in movies and on TV? That stuff was brainstormed, pipelined, focus-grouped, revised, edited, condensed, and revised again. And don't even think about doing standup comedy without massive preparations. All of this hard work leads toward the goal of making it look easy, like the way a dancer pastes a fake smile on her face to cover up just how difficult that pirouine, or whatever, is.

We'd all—well, mostly me—like to think we'll always be ready with the perfect comeback, just like our comedy heroes. In the moment, though, one of three things will happen:

1) We end up quoting someone else's material, which was subject to the aforementioned hard work, just not by us;
2) We say "your mama," which, in our defense, is never not funny; or
3) We wake up at 3am a week later, the perfect retort having sprung, Athena-like, from our sleeping minds.

I was reminded of this the other day when I saw an article about a guy working for a week to polish what was a brief, almost throwaway, but intensely funny joke on Saturday Night Live, back in its early days. So, there it is, proof that hard work pays off.

...or is it? I remember those early Saturday Night Live shows. Not the details, of course; that was nearly 50 years ago. Some bits were funny, sure, and endure to this day and probably far into the future (assuming we have one). But most of them are forgotten, because, despite all the massive effort that went into them, they just weren't funny.

People love to talk about how wonderful hard work is, how it always leads to success, blah blah, whatever. Most of this is propaganda designed to make you feel better about working your ass off to make someone else rich. Usually someone whose definition of "hard work" involves finding people to do the work for them while they're playing Solitaire. But think about this: if hard work necessarily led to success, sharecroppers would be billionaires.

No, I find the opposite is true: hard work is just... work. Better to be lucky and have one or two moments of easy greatness that you can savor. More often than not, "hard work" is just time-filling labor with no real reward. As the saying goes (I stole this): Hard work may pay off someday, but laziness pays off now.

I bet you're wondering what that joke was on the early SNL was, the one I mentioned above that took a week to write. I present it to you now, with the only work I've put into it being a quick Google search:

(delivered by Chevy Chase in Weekend Update, October 11, 1975) The Post Office announced today that it is going to issue a stamp commemorating prostitution in the United States. It’s a ten-cent stamp, but if you want to lick it, it’s a quarter.

Editor's Picks

Some picks from various corners of Writing.com:

The Waiting Game  [13+]
Mom knows best ... A Comedy Club Entry
by 🌕 HuntersMoon

An Unwelcome Guest  [ASR]
Kitty is not pleased.
by L_P

 The Meter Family  [E]
Learning names: trochee, iamb, anapest, dactyl
by Wren

Doggone Promises  [E]
Keeping a promise.
by Jatog the Green

Ellipses Eclipsed  [ASR]
A brief poem on my favorite punctuation (channeling "Moses supposes…")
by Ben Langhinrichs

TOP TEN REASONS For being happy today though unemployed and unable to pay bills.
by Rick H

A Riot of a Racket  [E]
Noises made by electronic devices. Contest entry
by Whiskerfacebeing beta’d

And if you're looking for something to do in October, signups are ongoing and we're seeking judges for:

October Novel Prep Challenge  (13+)
A month-long novel-planning challenge with prizes galore!
#1474311 by Brandiwyn🎶

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

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Ask & Answer

Last time, in "Brevity, I discussed, at length, brevity.

My hard work on the editorial was completely wasted, as no one commented on it.

So that's it for me for September! See you next month. Until then,


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