How The Sklar Brothers Make A Joke Their Own

Standup comedy duo, The Sklar Brothers, have a handy framework for figuring out if a bit is right for them. We can adapt it to our own work too. Here’s how they explained it to Mike Birbiglia on his podcast.

They ask, “What’s this story really all about?” As an example, a story about skiing might not just be about snow, skis, and wiping out, but about how different people approach taking risks. Their first step is to find a broadly relatable underlying element to hone in on.

They follow up with, “How do we fit into this story?” In an examination of roles and responsibilities, they check to see if it makes intuitive sense for them both to be present. Since their joint experience is their shtick, it can’t be a solo tale. They relate to how they each can make a point or draw contrast to the underlying element.

Finally, they ask, “What can we do to make this uniquely our own, so that no one else can do it?” They’re looking for alignment with their style (or brand) to make sure it fits in their larger body of work. If they are going to tell the story, they want anyone who hears it to know it’s theirs.

When we have a new idea for a product, service, or even marketing campaign, we should ask a version of these three questions.

If we know what it’s really all about for us and our customers, if we can clearly articulate our role in the story, and if we know what makes it uniquely and memorably our own, we should do it. If we can’t, it’s either back to the drawing board or into the trash can.

Bonus: take this brainstorming exercise and then plug it into the problem, solution, resolution framework.

I really enjoyed listening to the Sklar Brothers deconstruct their process with Mike Birbiglia on the Working It Out podcast. Check it out here for this insight and more.

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