A few weeks back I wrote a post called "5 Crucial Tips On How To Create A Terrifying And Unforgettable Horror Movie (Or Game)" - and if you read it I hope it helped! Now I'm going to teach you something quite different to creating horror and something that's more pleasant! I'm going to show you how to make people laugh. Comedy can be hard to get right and it's so easy to make it a miss instead of a hit. Writing jokes is tricky, and you often find yourself questioning if it's funny enough or not. Sometimes, we can recognise humour, but are unable to create it ourselves. Hopefully I can help you to bring humour into your ideas and writing, and show you how comedy works.
Here are 5 easy steps to creating a hilarious comedy!
1). Make your characters laughable
Maybe this sounds mean, but it's what you have to do if you want your characters to be funny and not boring. Like any story or film, your characters have to be relatable and have flaws just like real people - but in comedy you have to laugh at their traits and flaws. For example we laugh at Ross from Friends because he is neurotic. His funniest moments are when he is going over the top, for example his meltdown when Rachel and Joey are together ("MY FAJITAS!") or when his anger erupts after his sandwich has been eaten ("MY SANDWICH!?"). Chandler is funny because he is sarcastic, and his sarcasm is a barrier for his insecurities. It's OK to laugh at your character's weak points - we're not laughing at them, but laughing with them.
A good example of this is YouTuber Dan Howell. His channel is so popular and funny because it's relatable and he is mocking his own flaws. Most of his videos are of him discussing how awkward he is, which makes us laugh. It works well because he has injected his personality into his videos and he makes people feel good about themselves, which brings me to my next step.
2). Your laughable, relatable characters need to make others feel good
Whether your characters make people laugh because the audience loves them so much, or because their situation is relatable or something deeper, your characters need to make people feel good. Again, Dan Howell does this well because by making comedy out of his social awkwardness, he makes other anxious people feel better about themselves. There is an immense pressure to fit in, so when someone shows themselves to be different and have imperfections, it makes a lot of people feel so much better about life and more comfortable with who they are. For example, The Big Bang Theory gang teach us that it's OK to be geeky! They show us that being smart isn't something bad but something to be proud of.
3). Don't forget to exaggerate
Look at slap-stick comedy - it's over the top and that's why it made people laugh. But make sure that you're not too OTT though - your comedy may seem tacky and cheesy if you are. Again, we can look at Ross's meltdown over his sandwich - his behaviour is odd and it's hilarious because he is over-reacting. You can spot exaggeration in a lot of comedies, for example Family Guy. Most of the stuff in Family Guy would never happen in real life, but its most exaggerated scenes are the funniest.
4). Don't reveal all to the audience - let them imagine some of it
To insinuate or suggest something can be really effective. For example, hearing the toilet flushing when a character is in the shower, then hearing them scream shorty afterwards - we cannot see what's happening, but we can imagine. The ending of Ted 2 is a good example of this: we can hear what is being said but can't see anything, so we have to imagine what the scene would look like. We create a picture in our minds and then the realisation of what's happening hits us and that's what makes us laugh.
I hope these 4 easy steps have helped you with creating your own comedy film or show, or have helped you to understand how comedy works. If you have any tips, share them in the comments section below!
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