The first 5 bubbles I opened with related (perhaps a bit loosely) to our theme of baldness, were:
‘Bald’, ‘Head’, ‘Hair’, ‘Hat’ and ‘Egghead’.
The way I do this personally is to start on one sheet of A4 and generally go bananas in any and every direction on the page and in any direction as regards subject. Even if you stray away from the main subject, there's normally a way back in..
If there isn't, you can probably shoe-horn the gag in anyway... and just because you've started on a particular topic doesn't mean you have to stick to it. Lots of comedians veer around wildly. And I'm not just talking about on stage.
My original finished mind-map consisted of two very messy sheets. This really doesn’t matter as long as it’s possible to draw the ideas out of them.
I find it best to work on a comparatively small piece of paper (A4) and liberally fill it with what might seem an illegible mess. It would probably be a better idea to tackle this method on one huge piece of paper, but the important thing is to get on and do it on whatever size paper you happen to have, be it a small notebook or a roll of wallpaper.
For me, laughs come from all areas, but I''ve had an eventful life, so the real world of my experience has rich pickings. Then again, if you've had a fairly normal life, you'll be able to relate to the man in the street, so you have just as much chance of success as anyone else.
I first noticed I was losing my hair in the mirror of a barber’s shop in Cape Town, South Africa, in the shade of Table Mountain…
And much later I set myself up as a jokey absent-minded professor, bringing enthusiasm for science to schoolchildren, and a host of other bits and pieces. These experiences can and do crop up in my writing in general and particularly in creating comedy.
After laying down all our thoughts in a collection of bubbles and lines, we need to scour our mind-map for those links and connections I’ve mentioned before, on the basis that wherever there’s a link there’s a joke. Don’t view each bubble separately: cross-fertilise between bubbles and between pages.
We mark up the links with a letter or a symbol, shown in blue ink in a blue circle as follows, and any gags that come to mind are written n the mind-map in red.
Barb: Barber’s shop
G: Green issues, the Green Man, gardening
I: Irish / intelligent
N: Numbskull / stupidity
In the interests of simplicity, I’m going to break down each bit of the mind-map, one bubble per post, unrolling it as it actually happened in my head and on paper.
Here’s the first one.
I'll just add the above gag ideas to the list of stockpiled ideas :
Forget Gregor Fisher - I was the original Baldy Man. Unfortunately I lost too much hair to continue in the role..
She kept slapping my head and calling me a slap-head. She was a bit of a slapper
From the shoulders up I look a bit like a bespectacled light bulb
I used to know a decorator called Matt Finish... strangely, he was Danish
When in Chrome do as the chromans do
The zenith of my entertainment career took place at a posh ball at Ascot: I played the glitterball.
Glaswegian men who go bald are normally delighted - their hairdressing bills are Scot free.
'Even the hairs of your head are numbered.'
Well, I can count mine: 1.
my days as a man with hair were numbered.
Chrome dome, Solar powered eating machine, Hair of the dog
air-head, air-liner (eye-liner), airspace, airlock, airborne, aircrew, airport, aircraft, airiness, airspace, airstrip, airtight, airworthy, airy-fairy,
A hairport: a place where wigs come in to land
heir: this is very near to a direct pun with 'hair' Prince Charles, hair to the throne
chair: filled with horsehair
bare, bear: better to be a bald human than a bald bear
or even a thread-bear
hare: I was about 20 when my hair hared off
Tony Blair (weapons of mass destruction?)
prayer: my brother's bald, dad too-my hair never had a prayer
wear: if you're going to wear something, wear hair
warfarenightmare: a hair-loss bad dream
funfair: the opposite of a hair-nightmare
compare the compere.com: a website selling hosts/presenters
au pair: I knew I had no chance: hairless, I'd be au pair-less
fanfare: keeping this - it might lead to something later
Scald, walled, piebald.
Called, galled, hauled, mauled, appalled, crawled, scrawled, drawled, trawled, enthralled, sprawled, stalled, snowballed, mothballed