In this book, any time you see the word “joke,” it basically means a funny idea or concept. The ideas you'll be brainstorming can have many uses — a one-liner, a sketch, a movie idea, a short story, etc. In the beginning, just concentrate on the jokes — worry about their uses later.
Take some time to think about why you want to be a comedian or comedy writer. Why did you buy this book? Are you willing to put the work into creating some funny stuff? There are many reasons people become comedians, but you can basically boil them down to two. Some will say, “I do it because I just love making people laugh.” Others say, “I love making people laugh (at how funny I am)!” Either way, they are both great motivators to make you want to be a comedy writer.
Is comedy something you have to do? Something you know deep down you'll be really good at? Start thinking about what you want to do with comedy. Is it stand-up or sketches? Screenplays, sitcoms, or novels? Maybe your goal is simpler than that. Maybe you just want to write funnier speeches and presentations. Maybe you're a “serious” writer who just wants to lighten up a little. Or perhaps you're just a comedy aficionado who appreciates seeing how it all works. Whatever your reasons, there will be something for you here.
The ultimate goal in comedy is to make your comedy voice unique. You want your writing to reflect you. You want to write jokes that no one else in the world would even think of. If your name is Joe Smith and you write a joke, you want people to say, “Wow, that's a real Joe Smith joke!”
Also, begin thinking about the potential markets for your work. Is there a comedy club near you with an open-mic night? Do you want to start a blog? Do you want to get millions of hits on your YouTube video? Should you start getting re-aquatinted with that friend who has a cousin who knows someone who used to date someone who works in television? Do you have friends with a similar or compatible sense of humor with whom you might like to write or perform?
Open your mind to the possibilities that are out there for you. Start noticing where you might fit into the world of comedy.