If so far you have no feelings of guilt, and agree 100% with these rationalizations, congratulations! You probably will become famous. You may leave this workshop now.
But for the rest of us, starting from a blank page can be almost impossible some days. And we dont create in isolation from other performers and the rest of the world. We are standing on the shoulders of people standing on shoulders
What Im trying to do with the following games and exercises is to provide methods of creating gags based on other gagsto steal the essence from or to improve upon or to get inspiration from the original gagto truly make a gag ones own.
These tools arent just for stealing. They can also be used on stock bits that have worn out their welcome, or even on a mediocre gag in your repertoire that needs improving. Perhaps you have a signature gag that seems to sum up your character and/or style and want more material like that gag.
(you are free to use this example and follow along, or choose your own gag to play with.): I believe this is a stock gag, but lets steal it from Bill Irwin, who uses it in The Regard of Flight.
The curtain opens to reveal the performer finishing a costume change and now wearing top hat, baggy pants, and a tailcoat. He adjusts his collar. He looks uncomfortable. The performer wriggles and squirms. He reaches behind his neck, as if to scratch an itch, and pulls out a coat hanger. He looks at the hanger in brief amazement, and then throws it into a trunk.
Next: Part One/The New SwitcharooReplacing Props