Contents of the COMEDY.DOC file
The COMEDY GENERATOR
copyright 1991, Jeff Napier
P.O. Box 298
Applegate, OR 97530
INSTRUCTIONS AND ADVANCED FEATURES
Welcome to the Comedy Generator. The first thing to know
is that you will not need to read these instructions. The
program is designed to be so easy to use that no instruction
is necessary. However, this information is here for those of
you who would like to know as much as possible.
1. Copy all the files on your distribution disk so that if
something goes wrong, you'll still have a good copy left.
Simply copy everything to another disk or directory. In
DOSese this translates to: COPY *.* x: where x is the
destination. If you want to copy to a typical hard drive it
would be copy *.* c:. Optionally, you can make a
subdirectory named COMEDY by typing: MD \COMEDY. Then type:
COPY *.* c:\COMEDY.
2. Start the program. Simply type: COMEDY and press
. If you have an older PC or XT-type computer, you may
have to wait a few seconds for things to happen. The Comedy
Generator is doing many invisible thinking sorts of things in
the background and therefore is sometimes slow to respond.
3. The way to control the Comedy Generator is by using the
MENU on the right side of the screen. Use the up and down
arrow keys to highlight a function then press . After
that, instructions will appear in the lower left box.
4. Start by selecting BEGIN from the menu.
5. The Comedy Generator will now want you to type a sentence.
Try something with at least one noun in it. Just like any
sort of computer typing, press the backspace key if you make
a mistake. If you can't think of anything to write,
just press and the Comedy Generator will give you a
sample sentence. You have a limit of 6 lines. Your "sentence"
can actually be several sentences, as long as they fit within
the six lines of the upper box. When the sentence is
complete, press to let the Comedy Generator know that
you are done.
6. Now the menu will be active again. Select 'WORD' from the
menu. Type a word exactly as it is in your sentence. For
now, a noun is best. For instance, if you have a sentence
such as "THE CAT IS SITTING IN A BIG BOX." You might type:
BOX. The Comedy Generator is pretty smart. If your sentence
has punctuation marks, you can ignore them. If your sentence
looks like this: MY DOG, "SPOT", LOOKS LIKE A BIG WOLF. you
could type SPOT, "SPOT", "SPOT, SPOT", or even 'SPOT., and it
will still do the job.
7. Look at the top box. Your sentence has been changed. It
may or may not be funny. Practice with all the Comedy
Generator's functions will make you better and better at
getting funny results.
8. For now, let's experiment with some of these functions.
The simplest is REPEAT. Select REPEAT from the menu, or just
type R and then look at the top box again. The Comedy
Generator tries again with the same parameters. You can
select REPEAT as often as you like. Each time you do, the
Comedy Generator makes another selection from a random word
file. After several repeats, you will start seeing some of
the same words appear again.
9. You may want to use a different word from your sentence.
Just select WORD from the menu and type a different word that
is in your original sentence. The original version is
displayed in the lower left box.
10. So far, the Comedy Generator has been using the file
called WORDS, which is a highly varied but small list of
nouns. Soon, these would get tiring if that's all there
were. But there are many more lists supplied with the Comedy
Generator. Select LIST from the menu. You'll see a box on the
right which is a menu of these lists. Using the up and down
arrow keys, select one then press . Do not select
CUSTOM at this time, we'll talk about that choice later. Now,
the menu is active again. You can choose WORD or REPEAT and
the next selections will be from the new word list you have
chosen. You can even select BEGIN and start with a new
11. I think you may be starting to see how you can make the
Comedy Generator work for you. You can select the list which
is most appropriate for the subject matter you are trying to
make funny. But there's more you can do.
12. Select NUMBER from the menu and the bottom box will tell
you to select a number between 1 and 9. This is the number of
words you can pick from your sentence for substitution. As
you know, the Comedy Generator normally allows you to pick
one word. In many cases, however, substituting two different
words in one sentence can be much more effective.
Substituting up to 9 words is possible, but the outcome is
usually so weird that it is useless. On the other hand,
you'll get sentences so unlike the original that you'll
certainly have some food for thought.
After selecting a number, the Comedy Generator
automatically takes you to the LIST function because with a
different number of substitutions, it has to know what lists
you'll now want to use. The LIST function repeats for as many
substitutions as you have chosen. If you chose 4, for
instance, the list menu will appear 4 times. The first time,
in the left box on your screen, it will say for "selection
#1", the second time for "selection #2" and so on. This gives
you a chance to substitute a noun, then an adjective then a
name, etc. You can also pick the same list more than once.
You can pick "TITLES" for selection #1 and then "TITLES"
again for selection #3 if you like.
To see the result, now select WORD, which will repeat for
the number of times you have chosen. Look at the last line
of the lower left box and you will see that it is reminding
you which list is being used for each substitution.
13. Do you remember the "CUSTOM" option on the list menu?
It's the bottom option. If you select CUSTOM, you can type in
your own filename. Any MS-DOS legal name is ok. But first,
you need to have created it. This is one of the Comedy
Generator's greatest features. Let's say that you have to
prepare a speech for a group of architects. You could make a
file called building and fill it with words and phrases
relating to building design or materials.
To do this, use any word processor that can create ASCII
files and make a file that has each word or phrase on a
separate line. Here's an example:
frank lloyd wright
plaster & lath
Ok, I'll admit it's a stupid example, but you get the
idea. Notice that capitalization is not important. The
Comedy Generator automatically fixes that. The Comedy
Generator can also work with some non-ASCII files. It
understands WORDSTAR files just fine. Notice too, that
spaces are ok.
There are some limits. You can only have up to 50
characters per line and up to 200 lines per file. This
limitation is to keep the Comedy Generator flexible. It must
be able to run in computers with less that 640k RAM. We hope
those of you with fancier computers find these limits
One little surprise: It is important that you don't add
blank lines at then end of the file. Your file should end
exactly at the end of the last word. If you can move the
cursor below the last word, press the backspace key until the
cursor is at the end of the word. Otherwise, the Comedy
Generator thinks you have entered some blank words into the
If you don't have a word processor, you can create a file
directly from DOS. Here's what you do:
1.Type COPY CON FILENAME where "filename" is any legal
MS-DOS filename, in other words, up to eight letters
or numbers and optionally a period followed by up to
three more letters or numbers. COPY CON tells the
computer to copy whatever is typed at the "CONsole"
into a file called whatever you typed for "filename."
2.Type words or phrases and end each one with .
3.When your list is complete, hold the key and
press . Then press . tells the
computer that you are done making the file.
After you have created a file, you can then start the
Comedy Generator and select LIST, then CUSTOM from the list
menu. Then type in the name of the file you have created.
Obviously, you can create and use as many files as you like.
You can also store them in a different disk or sub-directory
and type the full drive and pathname before the file name
with the CUSTOM Function. Note that you can also add to or
modify the existing word files.
A big surprise: The Comedy Generator is also a
Creativity Generator! You can make other word lists and use
them for non-comedy applications. For instance:
...This list was used for a poetry application. For more
general creativity, you can use a first name and a
last name list to create character names for a story, or
you can use lists of ideas to force an interesting story plot
14. Let's say you have already written some material. It
would be silly to retype your sentences so the Comedy
Generator could operate on them. Instead, you can choose
IMPORT from the menu. Then type the name of the file that
contains your previously written material. It must be an
ASCII file or one that the Comedy Generator can convert. It
can convert files created by most word processors such as
Wordstar. (But with one notable exception:
WordPerfect, version 5.0 or later. If you use this word
processor, you must convert the file to ASCII first, and
WordPerfect can do it, I'm told, but I don't know how. If I
did, I would tell you, because I'm sure many of you like that
program and want to use it in conjunction with the Comedy
The Comedy Generator will use only the first 6 lines of a
file, (and that's 6 wrapped lines of 59 characters per line)
If you have a file longer than that, simply make another file
and paste part(s) of your first file into the new one, then
use the small one with the Comedy Generator. Without this
limit, the Comedy Generator would try to operate on your
whole huge file and it would go nuts and your computer would
start to overheat and start smoking, and be a fire hazard
15. If you've been experimenting along with this tutorial, by
now you have probably lost a sentence that you would like to
have saved. There are two places to keep Comedy Generator
output for future reference. You can save your sentences to
disk or to paper if you have a printer hooked up. To make a
paper copy, with your printer on line, select PRINT from the
menu and look at the lower left box. You have several
options. Selecting Q will get you out of the printer options
and back into the main part of the program. If you type O,
for "One" the last sentence you created will be printed. If
you type A for "All", everything from this point forward will
be printed. To stop the printer from printing everything, you
can later re-select PRINT from the menu and type S for "Stop
printing" and the printer will no longer mock your every
By selecting KEEP from the menu, your sentences are saved
to disk instead of paper. If you type A, then all sentences
will be saved. O will save the one last sentence you created.
S will stop saving sentences if A (All) was previously
selected. Unless you select C for "Change filename," the
output will be saved in a file on the default drive and
directory called RESULTS. If a file called RESULTS already
exists, the new sentences will be added to the end of that
file. You can use any word processor to access this file and
edit it, paste it into other documents etc.
If you do select C, you will be asked for the name of the
output file. You can choose one that already exists or create
a new one. If you choose one that already exists, the new
sentences will be added to the end of that file. You can tack
the drive and directory to the beginning of a filename if you
want the Comedy Generator to put results somewhere other than
the default disk/directory.
If you have a hard disk, you really ought to select KEEP
right at the beginning of every session, in case something
incredibly good happens, then you'll have a record of it. If
you have a floppy, you may not want to use this feature as
much because it will slow down the Comedy Generator.
Important note: if you have not turned on the A function
to keep an on-going record either to paper or to disk, and if
then you do have a particularly good sentence, select KEEP or
PRINT right away and then the O option, before you change the
16. If you have a color monitor, you can change the colors of
almost anything in the Comedy Generator's displays. Select
COLOR from the menu and look at the left box. Using the up
and down arrow keys, select a display part and press
Then you will be able to move the indicator in the right box.
Notice that the top color is black. You can't see it, because
it's black, but the indicator can point to it and you can
select it. Press to actually select a color. Then you
can select other display parts to change and repeat the
process for every part you want to change, or go back to the
main display to see what results your color selections have
had. To return to the main program display, press the
key at any time.
Be careful about selecting color combinations that will
hide text. Selecting a blue background and then blue text,
for instance, would be stupid.
In the upper left box of the main display will be a
message: "Do you want to save color changes to disk?" You
must answer by pressing Y or N. If you select Y, then it
will create a file on the disk called COLORS.CFG. The next
time you use the Comedy Generator, it will look for this
file and if it finds it, instead of using the regular colors,
it will use the ones you have chosen. HINT: If you have
created a set of colors that are so terrible that you cannot
read the Comedy Generator's displays, you can always delete
COLORS.CFG and then it will use the normal colors again when
you restart it.
17. As the author of the program, my favorite part is the
selection called SHOP. This function takes you on a tour of
other products I have created for your use or amusement. When
done with this small catalog, press the key to return
to the main program.
18. Select QUIT from the menu when you are done with the
Comedy Generator. It will ask whether you are sure in the
lower left box. If so, type Y.
I hope you enjoy using the Comedy Generator as much as I
enjoyed making it. I must confess that in various stages of
testing I came across some very funny sentences that had me
falling out of my chair laughing. If your results start out
more silly than funny, stick with it, practice with the use
of this tool will help tremendously.
This is shareware. You are invited to copy it and give it
to your friends or distribute it for profit. The only
requirement is that all files remain intact and unchanged.
For those of you who don't know, shareware works like
this: This program is offered to you on a try-before-you-buy
basis. The author makes NO money until you send some. If you
have paid a few dollars for this disk, you paid a distributor
for the service of copying, not for the program itself.
Because of this unlimited distribution many people get to see
shareware products yet there are no advertising costs.
That's why some software of this quality costs $300 but the
Comedy Generator is only $9.95!!! If you like it, please
'fess up. Send $9.95 to:
P.O. Box 298
Applegate, OR 97530
(Outside USA: Send US funds drawn on a US bank)
Orders 1-800-345-DISK; All other business 503-846-7884
- Jeff Napier
February 5, 1991