Friday, January 22, 2010

The 3 Keys to Comedy

In an effort to get Guy Kawasaki to read this post, I'll put the list above the fold as it were, and in no particular order they are:

  1. Timing.
  2. You have to be funny. And finally
  3. Delivery.
As I just found out I have only 800 words total to qualify this as a blog post, I'll get right to the point, er, points.


Not necessarily the time of day, and maybe even not explainable in print form, however, if you've ever heard someone pause too long before they got to the punchline of the joke they were telling, they probably had bad timing. Or alternatively, maybe they were rushing through the story to get the punchline, laughing along the way. Usually when this happens, no one laughs, and the joke teller in this case says something like, "Maybe you had to be there."

No, we didn't need to be there, you simply needed to tell the story better, and that goes to point 3, which I'll talk about again in a few paragraphs.

Being Funny

There are whole books dedicated to this, my favorite is by Steve AllenHow to Be Funny: Discovering the Comic You style=. This is especially relevant, as most of the routines you're laughing at now on the various late night talk shows were created by him in the first place. At least, for a television audience, as I don't know who did them on radio. At it's base, the joke comes from something you don't expect, like from my old standup routine: "The problem when you work for Christian radio is, you don't work for a boss or a company, you work for God. He doesn't pay that much. And you can't call in sick either, because, God knows where you are...." Now, I could simply type out my entire routine, however, I may cross my 800 word limit, therefore, I'll move on.


I touched on it above, as it is indeed related to timing. However, how you deliver a joke is just as important. Are you composed? Have you told the story before? What was your result? Did people laugh? If not, and you're relaying a joke you heard, maybe you're telling it wrong. Delivering the mail is easy, comedy is hard.

I could leave you with several cliches here, and I've touched on them above. Comedy is a serious business. As Mr. Spock would say, "A joke; A story with a humorous climax?" Most find different things funny, i.e. I don't necessarily like slapstick, however tons of YouTube and videos are dedicated to it, so, someone must be laughing, otherwise, they wouldn't post them. And of course, no one knows who 'they' are. Well, I do.

Why is all this relevant to the 168 Project? Well, I'd like to believe the films I've made in the past were funny or comedic in nature, as I was able to get the laughs I thought I would. And I'll be doing it again, although this time, I'm having someone else write it. If I'm able to translate the above three things he writes onto the big screen, I'll have accomplished my goal.

Still raining in Redondo Beach.

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