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Also, what are your favourite types of comedy? (examples: dialogue humor, slapstick, black comedy, parody, deadpan, wordplay, etc.)
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But seriously, one thing that reminds me of is the "rule of threes". A joke is funnier when it's repeated 3 times. The first part brings surprise, the second part emphasizes it and the third part makes it absurd.
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Aside from that, it's a lot of work trying to make people laugh. Unless you've got the brains of Oscar Wilde, you have to sit there working and reworking jokes and bits until they sound right. There's a reason why sitcoms employ teams of writers, and filmmakers often hire comedians to "punch up" an existing screenplay. It's a freaking buttload of work.
Some links for you to check out:
Genre writers talking about humor. (This is a wonderful podcast for writers in general, BTW. Highly recommended).
http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/06/3 ... -21-humor/
http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/01/1 ... -of-humor/
Jerry Seinfeld discussing how he writes jokes. An illustration of how much craft and persistence is involved in the art of telling jokes.
http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/2013/ ... te-a-joke/
The only shortcut I've found to being a funny writer is to be the child of a somewhat cruel, sardonic, and borderline sociopathic parent who enjoys mocking you throughout childhood and especially the tender stages of adolescence. But we're not all born that lucky.
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But it occurs to me, that a lot of the funny people I know personally do have a lot of misses amidst their hits, but the courage/recklessness to keep trying. They say things that cross the line, piss people off, get them in trouble, and those experiences are scattered amongst the ones that went well for them. Then again, there are some people that simply aren't funny and don't know when to quit...
For the rest of us, there's always internet memes I suppose.
This commentary brought to you by someone who is of the not-funny group. My sense of humor is a little bit too dark and cruel and just makes most people uncomfortable. The one fellow who thinks I'm funny said I'd be hilarious if I had the stones to open my mouth more freely, but this is a guy who is constantly, constantly horrifying people with a ghastly and grotesque sense of humor.
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Comedy can really shine through in cleverly written dialogue. Getting into shenanigans and obscure plots is always great too, but readers that remember specific lines that made them fall out of their chair is a feeling of accomplishment that never goes away. So make sure the dialogue is solid and new. And, as stated earlier, there are several different types of comedy - so you could go dark, raunchy, or slapstick. Parodies are also great if there's something you really want to poke fun at.
It's difficult but totally worth the time and effort.
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I was...Obscura wrote:...The only shortcut I've found to being a funny writer is to be the child of a somewhat cruel, sardonic, and borderline sociopathic parent who enjoys mocking you throughout childhood and especially the tender stages of adolescence. But we're not all born that lucky.
-- And this was indeed what allowed me to perfect my sarcastic, and somewhat bitter, sense of humor.
-- When I asked a close friend how she wrote Crack (humor), this was the advice she gave to me:
By Kita the Spaz
-- Posted with permission.
~snerks~ Seriously, when you get prompts like the ones I do sometimes, crack is all you can make of them. What other kind of story would have "A monkey's uncle, banana peels and lilacs"? Certainly not a very serious one.
Okay, theory in practice is remarkably similar to the Murphy's Law Cascade Effect, also known as Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives.
-- Anything that can go wrong, Should go wrong -- and in the most annoying way.
To show you how this works, say for example, you are given these as a prompt:
- • Sober yet emotionally-driven Main Character
• Impressive yet fun-loving Love Interest
• Devoted yet insane Best Friend
• [place of employment] betting pool
So, you take it and think...
Main Character has been doodling little sketches of Love Interest; sweet, admiring and romantic images that, as a man and a professional, he would never admit to.
Here's where you bring the Best Friend in; as the slightly less-than-perfectly-sane friend she is.
-- This sort of character would resolve to help Main Character express their sentiments to the Love Interest, by stealing the drawings with the intent to show them to Love Interest. However, being that she is not subtle, and is in fact determined to be as noticeable as she can, she does not go about sneaking them into books and grocery bags, but instead plasters them up all over the neighborhood, the Boss's office, the [local snack] stand... Any and Every place visible and highly conspicuous.
Of course, our Main Character is mortified and goes around trying to tear them down before their Love Interest, who is out on a [job], can see these things.
Here you bring in the betting pool.
-- Main Character's fellow employees bet on everything from, How will Main Character kill Best Friend when he catches her, to what Love Interest's reaction is going to be. Of course, because they are invested in the outcome, several of them will most likely aid and abet Best Friend.
- By helping her make more copies to place (or replace) the drawings.
- Coming up with more horribly sappy and mushy drawings of their own and posting those everywhere too.
Here would be the perfect opportunity to bring in someone who is made for spreading Crack: the Love Interest's jovial Best Friend.
-- Love Interest's Best Friend would go to visit the Love Interest, spouting admiration (and possibly jealousy) over Love Interest being the object of such passionate devotion etc...
It's at this point that the WTF factor kicks in for the Love Interest. So, what does he do, but go looking about for these drawings. What does he find?
Main Character with his hands full of these lovely little doodles.
-- Main Character had been in the process of tearing them down, but that's NOT what it looks like. Instead, he looks awfully red-handed with his hands full of papers and his cheeks gone red.
This is Main Character's chance to explain. Does he?
Hell no! That would bring the story to a screeching, and rather anti-climatic halt. So instead...
-- Main Character bolts.
Here you insert a chase scene, with Main Character doing everything in his power to escape what he thinks is an infuriated Love Interest on his tail. Pranks, doubling back, even a distraction of several busty girls shoved in the Love Interest's way.
It culminates in a confrontation in front of the [place of employment] and Main Character bracing for a fight he knows he will lose...
And here we have the punch-line.
-- "Mah... Why not just ask me for a date? Was all this really necessary?"
Crack, in a neat little package.
Most recent Games Completed:
- The Walk[Psychological][NanoWinter] ~ PG New!
- Trap! [ModernFantasy][VN] ~ PG16
- The Adventures of Prince Ivan [Fant/Adv/VN] ~ PG
"No amount of great animation will save a bad story." -- John Lasseter of Pixar
Edit: Thought I'd give some other examples of common formulas. In movies/games, you'll notice that there's almost always a pause before a joke is delivered. This little gap of silence subconsciously prepares us to expect something, and ensures that we catch the joke.
Another is the 'voice of reason' character. The characters and world might be completely ridiculous, but there's always that one 'normal' character. Having that one normal character lets us compare him/her to the rest of the world, and realize how ridiculous everything is, and usually voices the audience's sane opinion. If everything's silly, then that's the norm, and the norm has trouble being funny without a counterpart. I see this in comics and sketches a lot.
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