Does Steven Wright do new material or the same jokes?

Steven Wright is one of the most quoted comedians since he doesn’t do routines or tell stories, but tells odd jokes.

He has only released two wholly original comedy albums. His first was in 1985 and his second was in 2007.

Does he have decades of new material that he never puts out on CD or does in recorded shows? Or does he tell the same jokes as always? Like a band playing its best songs.

Has anyone seen him live and seen fresh, new material? I think he’s due for a Netflix comedy special soon.

I haven’t seen him in ages, but I’ve seen multiple TV appearances, an HBO special, and once I was lucky enough to be at a comedy club when he showed up unannounced. The performances were all different. I don’t recall much, if any, overlap. so I assume that he’s still cranking out new material.

Heck, writers don’t write the same story over and over again.

FWIW, I have both of his albums: “I Have a Pony” and “I Still Have a Pony.” Years ago I had a long list of his jokes as randomly compiled on the Internet. Many of the jokes that I recall being on the list do not come from either album.

Make of it what you will.

I saw him interviewed on TV. He was asked, “Do you write any new jokes?” He said, “Are you kidding?”


I just saw him this past weekend doing his routine. I’d heard maybe two-thirds of his stuff before, but there were some new jokes (or new to me, anyway) sprinkled in there. Very funny, as always.

I even took notes. Enjoy!

I dated a girl once and her dad said, “Have my daughter home by 8:15.” I said, “The middle of August? That’s cool.”

I used to scalp low numbers at the deli.

I was a freelance astronaut for awhile.

I have photos on the walls of my house of all the rooms above them, so I never have to go upstairs.

I saw him during the first I Have a Pony tour and that’s still among my top five comedy concerts of all time. If I get a chance to see him again, I’m going. Period.

Fantastic memory, Exapno!

I’m stealing these, and doling them out slowly to my fiancee, who’s a big Steven Wright fan.

Thanks again.

Thanks, EH! Love Mr. Wright.

Elendil’s Heir, that was an awful lot of Wright’s material, probably more than can be justified as fair use. I’ve edited it down.

Ugh. OK. If anyone wants more, just PM me.

All comedians reuse material. When I saw George Carlin, he did have new stuff, but also classic routines line baseball vs. football.

I’d figure Wright would be the same – new stuff for the tour and old stuff to please the fans.

Can someone explain

  • to me? It’s not just that I don’t get the joke - I have no idea what it even means. Intractable US English (for an English English speaker), I guess.

Many American delis have a dispenser which gives you a small slip of paper. The slip will have a number on it, one higher than the number on the piece of paper it dispensed just before yours. Deli staff will call out a number and wait on the person holding that number. If you walk in and get the number 17, and see a lot of people already waiting, and hear the deli guy call “3!”, you’ll know you’ve got a bit of a wait ahead of you. So a low number would mean a shorter wait.

In case it’s the “scalp” part causing confusion, the term scalping refers to a rather disreputable practice of buying tickets to a show or sporting event and then turning around and selling them at an inflated price to someone who did not get to the box office in time.

The British English equivalent (or near-equivalent), I believe, would be “tout.” “Ticket scalper” US = “ticket tout” UK. But the term “tout,” I believe is a bit broader than “scalp.”

Heir, Bryan and Puly - thank you all. It was indeed both parts that I did not understand. So this is a joke about touting/scalping tickets in a deli queue, and presumably the point is (this won’t even be slightly funny after I’ve analysed it) that scalping deli tickets is a pathetically cheap thing to do? It still reads like a punchline rather than the whole joke - I’m looking for a context/reason why you would do this, like “I was so broke that…” or “I set the bar so low that…”

Have I at least understood what the joke is supposed to be?


Yes, I think so. Most of Steven Wright’s jokes are silly, deadpan one-liners. It’s just absurd that someone would scalp (or tout) low numbers at a deli.

Well, the whole joke is typically:

I was arrested today for scalping low numbers at the deli. Sold number 3 for 28 bucks.

So you have compounded absurdities: the concept of scalping deli numbers in itself; that it was taken seriously enough to warrant police involvement; and that the market for this kind of thing is surprisingly lucrative.

That’s a better joke, but that’s not how he recently retold it.

I’m not sure the other version is better (the second sentence doesn’t add anything, in my opinion, and I’d argue it weakens the joke), but the Steven Wright one as written is exactly the type of delivery and humor I expect from Steven Wright, where you need a beat or two to catch up to the joke and figure it out.