This is something I am often asked and the truth is I don't always know. For me, it mostly comes from my own personal experiences.
I know when something happens to me that is eventful, I try to make it into a story or "catalog" it for later use. For example, I was a victim of ransomeware years ago and, at the time, it was very stressful, but so many funny things happened when I was "negotiating" with my captors that I knew right away, I would have a joke sometime. A few years later, it became a staple of my set. Other times, I will remember a story from years ago and tell it to friends or other comedians to see if there is something funny in a personal experience that was usually sad or traumatic to me years ago. Often, if I am dealing with something stressful too, I make it into a joke, just for me to cope with it. Comedy is "tragedy plus time" after all.
More often, something random will happen to me or I will overhear something that I personally think is funny and I write it down or post it on Twitter or Facebook to see if others agree. If it gets a lot of traffic or likes, I explore to see if it can be a joke.
Lately, I have also been open to new, outside my comfort zone, experiences, thinking that even if I don't enjoy myself, maybe it will lead to some new material as well. But don't worry, you probably won't be in my act. #comedy #standup #formerlawyer #careerchange
Photo by Emilio Morrone
Paul Farahvar is a comedian hailing from Chicago, Ill.
Paul Farahvar Comedy