Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

Comedy Writing Secrets:

Humor Writing Techniques

A.) Play On Words: 50% of Humor is POWs

- The Simple Truth and the Take Of
- Carlin serious linguist in comedy

1 double entendre: Tennis: Whats the raquet? Look before you leak.
- IT: boy am i gonna get it, or not get it.
- make use of irony and sarcasm

2 malaprop: unintentional misues of a wrod, accidnet substitue for an

incorrect word
- they misunderestimated me
- mock speaker; doing today. do me today?

Note: never do mroe than 3 jokes on one topic.

3 oxymoron; join 2 incompatible words

- found missing, living dead, good grief, working vacation, larger half
- plastic glasses, alone together, taped live, small cowd, even odds


Search a dictionary for ten words that you do not know the definitions
for. Don't look at the definitions! Write each word on an index card,
and on the back of the card, create a logical but whimsical definition.
� Search the Internet for clich�s, proverbs, or common phrases that
relate to the potential humor targets you identified in the last chapter.
Compile a list of ten items. Using the techniques described in this

4 pun: multiple meanings

- hair, hare, hear. Marx; hari today gone tomrw
- Fahrhenheit, moderatley tall person. Infantry; very young sapling.

5 reforming; altering a word expession or phrase to twist the

- 1.) transpose words: thou shalt cast the first stoned!
- 2.)Replace a Few Letters in A Key Word; cut off my nose despite my
- 3.) Use a Homonym; Blazing Salads
- boar, bore. bow bow
- cheep bird food
- no nukes is good nukes
-4.) Fracturing or Split Reforming;
- usually starts with the letter a.
- wanna play around? as a lover or a golfer?
- do you wnat this pasteurized? nope just up to my mouth
- Cattch Her In the Rye
- she had a lot to be spankful for

I.) Locate importnat words, go for qunaity

II.) Select double entedre words
III.) Eliminate
IV.) write as many POWs as you can with key words, loan lne
- homonyms, rhym, etc.

6 simple truth; opp. of double entendre
"spille dspot remover on my dog, now hes gone"

- Most phrases are not IDOMATIC, change of heart, got up on wrong side
o bed
- Consider the literal implication of most expressions.
- The take-off is the most traditional technique, Got new underwear,
well new
to me.
- Use statistics and change wording to refame meaning.
every 6 sec some woman is given birth, ew gotta stop her.
- Too many words is like frosting the flake or stackin the wack
- Joke / Time = funny
Once you've got the audience laugh�
ing or on a roll, it's better to stay with toppers�a series of three or four
punchlines, each related to the previous one

A girl phoned me the other day and said, "Come on over, there's
nobody home." I went over. Nobody was home.
�Rodney Dangerfield

Simple Truth and Misprounouced Double Entendres:

- get dictoinary read aloud.

7 take-offs;

8 Cliches: short cuts to every conversation. See, adages, etc.

"mamma aint happy, poppa aint happy."
- see Cultural Literacy
- Cliche with homonyms; tried to give up heroin all efforts
where in vein
- Being predictable, then throughing for a twist.
- My father never liked me. For Christmas, he gave me a bat.
The first time I tried to play ball with it, it flew away.
When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always
found them.
I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster
and a radio.
- It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at
that man.

- If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you.

- How to weasel out of things is important to learn. It's what sep�
arates us from the animals ... except the weasel.

Chapter 6- Brainstorming techniques

writers block is just an excuses to drink alcohol.- steve martin

- 1.) Association-is putting two activities that haven't been previously asso�
ciated into a plausible but audacious scenario.
a.) cliches experssions adages etc.

-You're burning the candle at both ends," he said wickedly.

-"I hope I can still play the guitar," he fretted.
-Frirefighter: hot alarmed ladder day sinat fired up
-Dogcather: doggie style run down liked pooped

Exercise 2: Start with punhcline then create joke.

- look for opposites
- talk instead of writing. imagine instead of writing.

-List groups of words: or topics and come up with similar type words/phrases
-List cliches: and build of of them.
synonyms antonyms john an them..

Good Jokes:
Aggressive editing is important. Remember that a good joke:
1. uses as few words as possible
2. preserves the funniest part of the joke until the end
3. does not reveal key words in the setup, and does not contain words
after the funniest part of the punchline

Chapter 7: Reverses. 137

- "a device that adds a contradictory tag line to the

opening line of a standard expression or clich�
- the old switcheroo
- We were incompatible in a lot of ways. Like for example, I was a
night person, and he didn't like me.
- The most common definition of a reverse is "an unexpected switch in the
audience's point of view."

- A junior executive walks into his boss's office. "I'm afraid I'll have
to leave early today, sir. I've got a terribly sore neck."
The boss says, "Whenever I get one, I go home and my wife
makes love to me. She knows how to massage every muscle in
my body, and when she's finished, all the tension is gone. You
should try it, and that's an order."
The next day the boss walks over to the young executive: "Did
you try what I told you?"
"Yes, I did," says the young man, "and it worked just fine. By
the way, you have a beautiful house, too!"

THE ANECDOTAL REVERSElike the Emo Philips routine just discussed�is a short
story with a sudden climax.
- Telegraphing�inadvertently cluing the audience in to the upcoming surprise�
is a sign of a beginner


The Harmony of Paired Elements: Phrases, Words, Statistics, and Aphorisms

She was an earthy woman, so I treated her like dirt.

�George Carlin

A paired element consists of two

grammatical structures (words, phrases, clauses, or sentences) that are
similar in construction and that play off each other in meaning
- Figures don't lie, but all liars can figure.
Imagination compensates us for what we are not. Humor compen�
sates us for what we are.
- Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much
you care.

-Review your jokes from chapters four and five and rewrite seven to ten
of your favorites as paired phrases or sentences.
Most paired words fall into one of four classifications: synonyms,
homonyms, antonyms, or groupings
SHOE SALESMAN: Don't worry about the shoes.
They'll stretch.
WOMAN: Then don't worry about the check. It'll bounce.- paired words. Stretch and

She wasn't just throwing herself at him. It was more like taking
careful aim.

Homonyym: She was a girl who preferred men to liquor.

Let's get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini.
�Robert Benchley

Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is
good is not original and the part that is original is not good.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Use a thesaurus to create a list of antonyms for the two most frequently
used antonym pairs: good and bad, and right and wrong. Write
seven to ten reverses in which the antonyms are used as
paired words.

To have twenty lovers in one year is easy. To have one lover for
twenty years is difficult.
�Zsa Zsa Gabor
The kind of humor I like makes me laugh hard for five seconds and
think hard for five minutes.
�William Davis

CHAPTER 9- Bewitched, Bothered,and Bewildered: Triples

click on sidebar or 162 p.

Bart, a woman is like a beer. They look good, they smell good, and
you'd step over your own mother just to get one!
�Homer Simpson

According to a comedic theory developed by author William Lang, there

are only three parts to most comedic bits. We call these three elements
humor's SAP test.
S = Setup (preparation)
A = Anticipation (triple)
P = Punchline (story payoff)

Imagery Exercises:
The following exercises will punch up the imagery in your writing.
1. Rewrite each of the following phrases using specificity.
grab some food
watch TV
read a book
drive a car
2. Replace general words or phrases in your previous jokes with specific,
graphic descriptions.
3. When you record everyday events in your humor diary, use the most
vivid, colorful, and graphic descriptions.

Realism, Exaggeration, and Understatement
- "My one rule is to be true, rather
than funny," said Bill Cosby. The more realistic we make the humor piece
seem, the more our audience identifies with it.

- A customer in a bar is talking to the man seated next to him.

"Strange, isn't it? Normally, I'm a very caring person, but in your
case, for some reason, I don't give a damn
- I have low self-esteem. When I'm in bed with someone, I fantasize
that I'm someone else.
�Richard Lewis
- T = TRUTH: The most effective humor is reality-based,
genuine, and true. If a setup is exaggerated, insincere,
or untrue, then you lose the ability to bend
reality to produce the surprise punchline.
E = EMOTION: A solid setup includes a factual
statement, opinion, or observation with a stated
or implied emotion. The emotion is usually anger or hostility
driven by the stupidity, absurdity, or weirdness of the premise.
E = EXPLICITNESS: An effective premise is specific and readily understood
by others.

- In grade school, I was such a hit with my exaggerated mimicking

and clowning that the teacher was charging a four-dollar cover
and a two-drink minimum.
- People always ask me if I get stage fright. Believe me, it's not
the stage that frightens me; it's the audience that scares the
hell out of me.

You always know when the relationship is over. Little things start
grating on your nerves: "Would you please stop that? That breathing
in and out, it's so repetitious!"

I have just learned that penguins are monogamous for life, which
doesn't really surprise me all that much because they all look
exactly alike. It's not like they're going to meet a better-looking
penguin someday.

Prof to class: Good morning students. And to those of you on

speed, good afternoon!

Funny Words and Foul Language

1. IT MUST HAVE A FUNNY SOUND. Jonathan Winters's characters

have names like Granny Frickert, Melvin Gohard, Lamargene Gumbody

2. IT MUST HAVE A DOUBLE ENTENDRE. It's hard to forget a name

like John Dough. And it's easy to understand a characterization when a
character has a name like Lionel Bedwetter


I had an interesting morning; I got into an argument with my Rice

Krispies. I distinctly heard "Snap, crackle, fuck you!"
�George Carlin

We spend so much money on the military, yet we're slashing education

budgets throughout the country. No wonder we've got
smart bombs and stupid fucking children.
�Jon Stewart

A young man walked into a bank and said to the teller, "I want to
open a fuckin' checkin' account."
The young lady gasped. "I beg your pardon, but we don't tolerate
that language in this bank."
"Get your fuckin' supervisor!" the man said.
In a few moments the supervisor came up. "What's the problem?"
"I just won ten million in the lottery, and I want to open a fuckin'
checkin' account!"
The manager said, "I see. And this bitch is giving you
a hard time."

I thought about being a nun for a while and believed I'd

make a god-darned good nun. Then I had sex and thought,
"Well, fuck that."
�Diane Ford