Tommy Kramer Tip #138 – John Cleese on Editing

Obviously, being able to edit yourself is a crucial ingredient in whether or not anyone wants to listen to you.

Rather than give you the standard radio clichés, or quoting statistics from some study, let’s go to an outside source, John Cleese, former Monty Python member and the writer of “A Fish Called Wanda”. (He also wrote and starred in maybe the best sitcom of all time, Fawlty Towers.)

In his book “So, Anyway…” Cleese is talking about a show he had co-written in college that he later took to Australia, New Zealand, and eventually, New York. As you can see, he’s very modest about it, but what he learned FROM it is important:

“Our show had definitely gotten better since its Cambridge incarnation. It was now only sixty minutes long (down from two hours), teaching us that if you have an average show, and you can dump half of it, it doesn’t get a bit better – it gets a lot better. In fact, there seems to be a basic, rather brutal rule of comedy: ‘The shorter, the funnier.’ I began to discover that whenever you could cut a speech, a sentence, a phrase, or even a couple of words, it makes a greater difference than you would ever expect.”

Every word counts. Most disc jockeys spend them like pennies. (And Talk show hosts seem to think that the more words you throw at something, the more effective it is. They’re wrong, of course.)
Spend words like twenty-dollar bills instead. The fewer words you can use to tell a story, explain something, or make a point, the better…and the bigger the impact.


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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip

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