How Do We Do It? Volume! Jokes Are A Numbers Game

It took 100 million hours to build Wikipedia*. Phew. But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 200 billion hours people spend watching TV annually.

This is according to Clay Shirky in Cognitive Surplus. He says since the 1940s, in our free time, we’ve been steadily moving from a consuming posture to a creating (and sharing) one.

I was at a comedian’s conference (I know!) once, and a promoter described a new act whose work ethic he liked (me too!). This new comedian had a day job. On the ride to and and from work (I’m guessing 30 minutes each way), this person made it their mission to write ten jokes. That’s do-able. Five on the way in, five on the way out.

Fifty jokes a week, two hundred jokes a month. An hour a day. Your leisure time is still your own when you walk through the door.

In the old days, you could write all you want, but you’d still have to wait for a gig somewhere to see what flew. Now there’s Twitter and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t know about (I’m assuming!).

Two hundred jokes a month. Tweet your best, what, twenty? Fifty? Do the lot! It’s your life. You can interact with an audience and learn something.

Baby steps. See what works. Five jokes on the way in, five on the way out.

Also, a great thing about the internet: If you do something a bit rubbish, no-one looks. No-one’s got the time. There’s 200 billion hours of telly to catch up on!

*That’s what it took to build Wikipedia to its 2009 extent.


2 thoughts on “How Do We Do It? Volume! Jokes Are A Numbers Game

  1. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head
    before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or tips? Appreciate it!


    • Hi there, thanks for commenting! I reckon those first 10-15 minutes are not wasted if it leads to you beginning. The act of beginning takes bravery but the sooner you start filling the blank page, the sooner you can figure out why it’s not what you wanted to say, and fix it. Hope that helps! Stay in touch!


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