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Robert Orben, gag writer p3

Some more gags from the joke books of Robert Orben. They show the classic setup and punchline structure of nightclub one liners. They are worth studying to see how they use an introduction or misdirection, followed by a punchline or surprising point.

The Ad-Libber’s Handbook, 1962-69. Doubleday and Company, Garden City, New York:

I spent the weekend reading some light fiction. My income tax return.

I just don’t agree with those people who think an electric toothbrush is decadent. And neither does my bath maid.

Christmas is such an exciting time. Playing with all the toys you’ve given yourself via the kids.

In Los Angeles they don’t really have to worry if the lights go out. They can always see by Dean Martin.

The Joke Teller’s Handbook, Bell Publishing, 1966:

At our house, I’m happy to say, we despise television. In fact some nights we stay up until two in the morning –glaring at it.

Did you see the classified section this morning? 1946 Hearse for sale. Body in good condition.

Money can’t buy friends but it sure can rent them.

This happens to be the anniversary of Calvin Coolidge’s classic insight into the world of economics – “When a great many people are out of work, unemployment results.”

Next week I’m going to Miami for my health. That’s where I left it last year.

-See Robert Orben’s gag books for a lesson in how to write tight gags.