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Keep on truckin'

The process of taking a thought and putting it on a page-then into your memory, then presenting it to an audience to see if it's effective-is the most rewarding and fun part of my job.

Using someone else's comedy material makes very little sense to me. That's why when I first started writing and performing, and it became apparent my stories and jokes were salable; I made a rule to use only my original material in my shows.

As time went on, I loosened my own rule and allowed myself to tell two jokes that I thought were very funny, that fit perfectly into the rhythm of my show, and more importantly, were fun to tell. I allowed myself to do that only if I told the audience that I didn't write the jokes.

I recently came upon another joke I like: The next time you come to one of my shows you may hear it, not because I need material, but because it will fit nicely in certain pockets of my show and, mostly, because the way it's built calls for a type of punch line delivery that's as much fun for a comic as hitting a walk-off homer is for a baseball player. I'll tell my audience that I didn't write it. If I do decide to use it, I may build around it a bit in order to punch it up. It'll be fun, for me, to see what I come up with.

Actually I already have built around it. It's basically a totally new joke, 'cept for the punch line. Guess that's what you call "Makin' it your own/Stealin' a joke." Check it out. But remember, it's all in the delivery-

Vermont Farmer was bringing his cows 'cross the main road, one of the few places in the state it's still done that way. Out-of-staters just love driving over a path of cow doo. Makes 'em feel welcome.

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