How to write a comedy script

Total absence of humor renders life impossible. Colette As the saying goes, "Funny is money. So if you're humor challenged when it comes to dialogue, what can you do about it? In my experience, writing funny, original dialogue comes naturally, just as spontaneously adlibbing funny, clever remarks does.

You can either do it or you can't. I wish I could say "Take a comedy writing class" or "Read a book on how to write funny stuff" or offer you some inspirational words of wisdom on finding your inner stand-up comic. What I can offer you is something Tim Allen said in a TV Guide interview upon being asked about his sense of humor, specifically his ability to be funny. I don't know where it comes from. It's magic and it's marvelous and I'm terrified it will all go away.

Who knows? Where does superior natural athletic prowess come from? Why is one 6'8" kid who plays forward on his high school team, better than fifty other 6'8" forwards on other high school teams? For every Lebron James there's 10, kids who aren't quite good enough. Writing funny is different than saying or doing funny things. Lots of men and women who crack up their friends and co-workers are incapable of writing funny dialogue.

Adolescent boys who can't get attention from girls by excelling at sports, their looks or intelligence resort to goofball antics either physical or verbal. But that only goes so far and lasts so long. The kid whose talent is shoving a slice of pizza up his nose will be trumped by the boy who has figured out that girls get bored quickly with silliness and prefer someone who can amuse them with wit. This funny boy will likely blossom into a funny man and will find that his gift will be a big plus in his social life.

And it will come in especially handy if he sets his sights on being a screenwriter. In real life most people can't tell a joke or a story, especially a funny one. They lose their focus, deliver the punch line too soon, go off on a tangent, leave out an important detail or sink into a meandering blur. They've lost their audience. As the author of a screenplay that's a comedy, your audience is much tougher and unforgiving: agents, producers, development people, creative executives and managers.

You have to keep that agent laughing from the first page--especially the first page--because if she's enjoying herself by the time she gets to the bottom she'll definitely turn to Page two.I used to know, I think. First, the humor test, to save time: Was the potentially offensive bit truly funny and fresh? Or was it base and gratuitous, just a cheap shot within easy reach? Next, if the questionable bit involved story development—character decisions, actions, or traits—rather than merely a punchline in dialogue, was the bit the only way to move that part of the story forward?

Was it the best way? A hint here: There always is another way. So, if the first option seems particularly offensive…. Next, did the bit risk outrage for good and noble reasons, like using discrimination to expose discrimination? Perhaps via a clever insight disguised by irony or sarcasm? Bottom line, would the bit clearly help more than hurt?

By anybody, at any time. And that was that.

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Or, that was then. A writer could see it and avoid it or cross it at their own peril. But times have changed, right? Equality and inclusion are gaining new traction, but we now live in a confused world of microaggressions, trigger warnings, internet trolls, and hate-breeding politics. Who is daring to say what, about whom, in what context? And what gives them the right to comment? So, progress is happening, but writing edgy comedy has become a not-so-funny minefield.

Half of the job is poking fun at human flaws and flawed humans, partly to help those humans become better people. Shine a light on bad behavior and injustice, and maybe people will talk about that.This post will give you an overview of comedy writing secrets by examining the summer blockbuster The Hangover.

These screenwriting tips are applicable to screenplays for children, adults…and adults who behave like children. Writing a comedy script is actually pretty easy because the basis of the humor—a one-liner, a complicated joke, repartee, sarcasm, slapstick and comic set pieces—is rooted in reversals.

How do you create humor by going against expectations? Some examples from The Hangover should help clarify:. As you can see, understanding reversals is the key to writing a comedy. The rest of the comedy screenwriting tips in this post are actually just nuances of this basic principle; reversals are the blueprint that your screenplay will be built on. Why do that?

how to write a comedy script

When the guys are waiting at the impound lot, they muse about how wrecked the Mercedes will be. But when the car is brought to them, it was in pristine condition although maybe a little dusty. Plus, when you witness the tiger waking up in the backseat of the car and mauling it to pieces, you should laugh harder because of what the characters anticipated several scenes earlier.

The tiger also plays a part in another example. This buildup is followed by Phil pretending to do lewd activities with the majestic beast. Whether you think the tiger joke is funny or not, whatever humor is there is made funnier by the buildup that preceded it. The dockyard was such a great setting because it was chock full of items Holmes and Dredger could use to battle each other.

The same principle applies to writing comedy scenes. Choose locations in your comedy script wisely—and humorous ideas will flow easily. Think of places that are visually interesting and that also are full of objects that your characters can interact with in funny ways. But if on the other hand, you stuck Vince with someone with a sense a humor—Robert Downey Jr perhaps—they could riff off each other. The same applies to your characters.

Most of the movie takes place in Las Vegas. Visually interesting?

COMEDY WRITING: Crossing the Line That Now Keeps Moving

Full of objects and people our three amigos can riff off of? Yes, and in spades, my friend. In spades. Look for the less obvious joke. Do some research on that setting, and mine those details for all the potential funny moments and set pieces you can think of. One sequence occurred at a strip club. The boys get so distracted by the dancing women that they forget they only have a few hours left to recover Doug.Last Updated: June 4, References.

This article was co-authored by Kendall Payne. Kendall specializes in directing, writing, and producing comedic short films. This article has been viewedtimes. Do you want to learn how to write your own comedy sketch? Many popular comedy sketches are used on television, on stage, and during stand-up performances.

For each one of these scenarios, you will need to brainstorm, write, and revise in order to produce something well-crafted and laugh out loud funny.

Expert Trick: When you're writing comedy, stick to the rule of 3s. That means if something is funny, you should try to implement it into the story in 3 different ways. Comedy sketches are entertaining to watch, and writing one is super fun!

Watch some comedy sketches you really like for inspiration on what to make. You could write a sketch about something in popular culture, make a spoof on a popular TV show or movie, or write a sketch about something totally random! Besides the dialogue, make sure to include stage directions so the actors know where to go and what to do on stage. Then, write out your rough draft. To learn how to perfect your joke timing, read on!

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how to write a comedy script

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how to write a comedy script

Sample Sketches Support wikiHow and unlock this sample. Sample Comedy Sketch for Movie. Support wikiHow and unlock this sample. Sample Comedy Sketch for Video. Sample Comedy Sketch for Speech.All the hotels selected by you were wonderful.

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how to write a comedy script

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How to Write a Comedy Script: Screenwriting Tips from The Hangover

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How to make your writing funnier - Cheri Steinkellner

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Writing a comedy sketch

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The 4 Rules of Comedy Writing For Screenwriters

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