Writing

THE WRITING PROCESS: WRITE A LOT, KEEP A LITTLE

Writing a JibJab Year In Review may sound like fun. Okay, guilty as charged. It’s a blast. But it’s also a long process of writing gags and throwing them away until a few actually start to work. Scott cranked out the first draft back in mid-September. Three months and twelve rewrites later, the song was ready to record. That adds up to a LOT of material that never made it into the final script. While most of the stinkers are completely forgettable, we sometimes have to sacrifice even funny gags for taste reasons (Yes, even we have standards!) or to make room for breaking news.

But aside from all that, let’s be honest. Everybody loves a good fail. So let’s all enjoy a look behind the scenes at a few of the lines that didn’t make the cut in 2013.

3
OPERATION ANGELINA

WALTER WHITE & JESSE PINKMAN: We really killed on Breaking Bad…
LONE RANGER & TONTO: …while we went down the tubes.
Kanye, Kim and Kate had babies.
Angelina gave up boobs!

We’ll lob a cheap shot at any public figure who deserves it, but making fun of Angelina Jolie for her preventive double mastectomy was over the line.

“NOT” FUNNY!

CONGRESS: We triggered the big sequester.
REID & PELOSI: On gun control, we took a shot.
NSA WIRETAPPERS: Somebody blabbed.
EDWARD SNOWDEN: And I was outta here!
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: They found me guilty — NOT!

Yes, we know, 1990 called and it wants its joke back. But riffing on the “not guilty” verdict makes it fresh again, right? No. No, it doesn’t. Not a great loss, as the Zimmerman trial was too unfunny for Year In Review anyway.

“DEAD GIVEAWAY!”

Remember Charles Ramsey, the hero who rescued Amanda Berry and her fellow captives? When the Autotune of his “Dead Giveaway” sound bite went viral, we vowed it HAD to be a part of 2013’s Year In Review! But we didn’t want to dredge up the whole Ariel Castro nightmare, so we tried to find another story to attach it to. A couple of times we came close.

SIMON COWELL: I had a cheap affair –
CHARLES RAMSEY (POINTING AT LAUREN SILVERMAN’S BABY BUMP): Dead giveaway!

JASON COLLINS: I was gay in the NBA.
CHARLES RAMSEY (REVEALING THAT COLLINS IS WEARING RAINBOW SHORTS): Dead giveaway!

Ultimately we had to admit that we were trying too hard, and Mr. Ramsey was relegated to the chorus line.

WHERE JOKES GO TO DIE

When we decided to do the heaven scene as a spoken dialogue, we had a little too much fun dreaming up different scenarios.

SANDRA BULLOCK (FLOATING IN SPACE) Uh-oh, lieutenant, I think we
just died and went to heaven!
GEORGE CLOONEY: Why do you say that?
SANDRA BULLOCK: Roger Ebert just gave us two thumbs up!
(PAN OVER TO ROGER EBERT ANGEL HOLDING THUMBS UP AS
OTHER CELEBS APPLAUD.)

JONATHAN WINTERS DOING STAND-UP FOR OTHER CELEBS IN HEAVEN:
Hiya, folks, I just flew in from Earth, and boy are my wings tired!
(MIC FEEDBACK)
Hey, I know you’re out there, I can hear you NOT BREATHING!
(TAPS MIC) Is this thing on?

Paul Walker’s untimely demise fooled us into thinking we had our heaven scene.

PAUL WALKER (DRIVING UP IN CONVERTIBLE WITH OTHER CELEBS): Hey! Me and the gang were thinking about going down to the drive-in and catching a movie. You guys want to come with?
ROGER EBERT AND GENE SISKEL GIVE TWO THUMBS UP.

Nelson Mandela’s death late in the year sent us scrambling back for one last rewrite. As the elder statesman among the new arrivals in heaven, he naturally became the focus of the scene in the final short.

SO LONG, 2013!

Those are only a few of the many gags left behind on the long road to 2013’s Year In Review. We’ll say good riddance to some, others we’ll mourn. But not for long. It’s almost time to start collecting topics for 2014!

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One Comment

  1. Polly Morrish
    Posted January 7, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    You guys work hard and have fun, The way to go. I have really enjoyed this years cards especially walking in sunshine. I loved the Christmas cookie card and proudly showed it on my Face Book wall. Now all my friends know how sick I really am. Keep up the good work and have fun. Polly :)


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