Two Guys walk into a Script! Comedy Writing: From Jokes to Scripts
ABOUT THE WEBINAR
The F Word – We will begin with Freud’s theory that comedy is based on hostility. Jokes without it are clever, but not funny. If you call a group of people over and say you have a great joke and then present them with a pun, chances are at least one of them will punch you. Understanding the role of hostility in comedy is essential, particularly for jokes used in scripts.
Joke Switching – The Greeks wrote, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” without ever seeing a sitcom. But they were so right. Here’s a simple example of a switched joke:
Original Joke – Two lawyers are sitting in a bar when an attractive women walks in. One says, “I’d love to screw her. The other one says, “Out of what?”
Switched Joke - Two agents are sitting in a bar when an attractive women walks in. One says, “I’d love to screw her. The other one says, “Out of what?”
Clearly, this joke can be repurposed for any occupation that is known to have dubious ethics from a politician to a plumber. This joke is a simple example. We will talk about more complex strategies that involve switching joke structures.
Joke Creation – We will present the Two-Story model for creating jokes that progress from identifying a topic all the way to writing punches. The model places a great deal of attention to creating setups…the most difficult part of joke creation. Throughout the history of comedy, straight women and men have always received higher pay than their funny women and men. There’s a reason for this. We will present many examples and encourage the audience to participate at each stage so that their learning will be experiential.
Creating Performance Comedy Scripts – This section of the presentation will not deal with Three Act structure and the basics of screenwriting. Rather, we will focus on tips and techniques that are specific to writing comedy screenplays, TV comedy or plays. We will stress caution because jokes can get in the way of a good story. If they don’t advance the story and come out of character, they are disposable…even if the joke is funny and it hurts to flush it.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- How to identify a target for a joke.
- Professional comedy writing tricks, (e.g. Turnaround Jokes, House numbers)
- How to set up a joke so that it comes out of character and drives your story.
- Joke writing techniques such as adding tags.
- Editing jokes to make them funnier.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
- Writers who want to craft smarter jokes into their work
- Writers who have an interest in learning about comedy writing
- Writers who need sharper techniques for using jokes in their work
- Writers who want to create funnier scripts, plays and novels
- Writers looking for guidance on how to set up effective jokes
- Writers who aren’t sure when to keep a joke or toss it
- Writers who need tactics to determine when something is funny
- Writers wanting lessons learned from experienced comedy writers on what works and when
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Meet the Author: Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis
Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis are the authors of Now That’s Funny! The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing, a new book that provides an intimate look into the minds of twenty-nine of Hollywood’s funniest comedy writers from movies and TV shows like: Saturday Night Live; Frasier; The Simpsons; Everybody Loves Raymond; Monk; Modern Family; The Honeymooners; Cheers; Home Improvement; and many more. The writers were asked to develop a generic comedy premise created by the authors, giving readers a window into their writing process. The...