This post originally ran in 2012 under the title Tasting & Smelling Comedy (Tip#61):
“Buddy Hackett held up a matchbook and said, ‘What jokes can you write about this?’ I pitched a few about the advertisement on the outside of a matchbook, then a few behavior jokes about trying to light a match with one hand to impress a girl.
“‘That’s good,’ Hackett said, ‘but the trick is not only to think about the exterior of the subject like the cover and the matches, but also remember the interior and the lit match. See the flame burn. Part is yellow with blue around it and as it burns the tip twists, turns, tilts, and then drops to one side like a small penis. You must think not only about what matches do, but what they’re made of, too.’
“I never forgot from then on to examine a comedy subject from all sides: What it looks like. What comedy smells like. What it tastes like. Years later I wrote a joke that went, ‘My wife’s cooking is like sucking a burnt match.’”
Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall
Wake Me When It’s Funny