Writing A Comedy Script

By Andy Williams

In theory, writing a comedy script is easy; as a matter, of fact, we can apply that to writing a script of any kind, too. Writing anything is easy, period. However, when you start to apply qualifiers such as “funny” in front of the words “comedy script,” then the difficulty level obviously increases to the point that it can be very hard. Don’t believe that? Well, in that case, then just look at all of the bad “comedy” films that have ever been made throughout the history of film! Each and every one of those transgressors first started out with an awful comedy script. With all of this in mind, let’s take a quick glance at just what should be included in writing comedy, and, no, you need not be so-called comedy writers to succeed.

First, you should use reversals. What are reversals? A reversal is basically something that is contrary to what is expected. For instance, remember that scene from 2009’s The Hangover that included plans by Stu to wed his girlfriend? It turned out that Stu would actually marry a stripper-that’s a reversal. In fact, as those experienced in writing comedy will tell you, humour is founded on reversals.

Next, you should never underestimate the power of a big build-up. A big build-up relates to something happening in a movie that everybody expects, but to really capitalise on this occurrence, you should make any characters in your script expect the total opposite of what is really going to occur next. This has the effect of increasing the schism between the characters’ and the audience’s expectations and what really occurs. As a result, the bigger the schism is between expectation and reality, the bigger the laughs will be, too.

Believe it or not, location is not just important to the story of a movie, but also to writing comedy as part of your comedy script. If you select locations in a wise manner, even though you are writing a comedy, the funny ideas will just have a tendency to flow effortlessly. It will be useful to think of some locations that are not just interesting in a visual sense, but also chock full of curious items that your characters can interact with in humorous manners. For instance, The Hangover made great use of this principle of scriptwriting. Remember that the setting of the movie was Las Vegas, which obviously is chock full of interesting people and things that the Hangover characters could interact with, thereby producing really funny moments!

Searching for the less obvious joke is another thing to keep in mind when writing your comedy script. You see, in comedy, the less obvious is sometimes funnier than something that’s been done to death a hundred times over! Here is a tip on how to locate a less obvious funny joke: It is probably going to be the 5th or even the 20th scene that you can come up with and not the first one that you concoct. So be patient as you go about trying to find the less obvious joke in the material that you come up with.

Irony is rarely something that is practised properly, but when it is, it is usually comedy gold, maybe even comedy platinum. Irony is nothing more than creating either a disparity or an incongruity between the intention and the expression or even between the intention and the results. Remember this simple-but-effective definition of irony when crafting your comedy scenes. Irony is very versatile, which means that you can incorporate it right into your comedy on both the macro as well as the micro levels.

It is beyond clear that hardly everyone can be a legitimate comedy writer. In fact, some writers of comedy probably shouldn’t be in the business at all, but, for some weird reason, still are! No matter how you look at things, though, comedy is a science more than an art form because there are things that are simply funny to the human mind, period. So to save you from being just another of the many bad comedy writers out there, do keep the above tips in mind when composing your comedy masterpiece. That way, you’ll actually succeed at humour. [http://www.theginge.com]Andy Williams is a stand up comedian and award winning comedy writer.

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