People say laughter is the best medicine (although probably 9 out of 10 doctors wouldn’t agree). Many spiritual traditions (at least Zen Buddhism and the New Age) preach the transcendent power of humor. And any horror movie fan (or maker) will tell you how important a laugh is to relieve the otherwise-relentless tension. But how do you get those laughs? Here are some ways…
- Falling down
- Stupidity (including Mis-pronunciation, Mis-understanding and good old-fashioned Idiocy)
- Scale & Exaggeration (Huge & Tiny Things)
- Exaggerated Verbal EMPHASIS
- Double-Entendre / Innuendo (especially Sexual)
- Speaking the Unspoken Truth/Naming the Moment
- Wordplay & Rhyme
- K Sounds / Hard Consonants
- Physical Schtick
- Raps & Rants
- Songs (especially Original, Freely-Adapted or Out-of-Place)
- Visual Gags
- Enacting Scenarios or Characters
- Personifying/Humanizing Animals or Objects
- Subtitles, Editorial or Parenthetical Commentary (including Self-Consciousness & Self-Deprecation)
- Unexpected Connections
- Incongruity, Inappropriateness & Out-of-Place-ness
- Radical Attitude
- Compare & Contrast
- Social Ineptitude
- Anything to do with Poop
- You may have noticed that almost every one of these other comedy tactics is in fact some kind of Surprise! – which is the root of most laughs.
These techniques were enumerated and complied by Greg Miller and Beth Lapides for “The Comedian’s Way” workshop. Contact Greg for private coaching and find more ways to make your material funnier.
Bob Hope said you had to mention either the word freeway or the word girdle. Are Spanx funny?
I don’t think ‘freeway’ or ‘girdle’ are still funny, but Spanx is because it ends abruptly in a hard consonant. Also, it’s underpants!