With the prank-fest of April Fool’s Day approaching, I’ve decided to talk about how to write humor. Creating laugh-out-loud jokes, funny scenes, and amusing characters can actually be very difficult because humor is subjective. What makes one person chuckle can make another raise an eyebrow. However, I have seen successful reoccurring patterns of humor in BYUtv’s sketch-comedy show, Studio C, and I will cover some of these patterns today.
Combine Two Unlike Things
Whether it is a baby who is your college roommate or a video gamer who saves the world, combining two unlike people or circumstances can create humor. Under normal circumstances, these two things would not be in the same room, but because they are, they present unique, amusing situations. For an example, see a pregnant woman working as a spy in the sketch below:
Exaggeration appears in most of the comedic patterns I will discuss, but it can be a category all on its own. Try to see how far you can exaggerate situations in order to obtain the most optimal funny effect. How intense can organic food eaters get? How can a mall turn into a battleground as seen in the sketch below:
Having a misunderstanding is a huge element in most romantic comedies. Lack of communication, double meanings, and other circumstances keep the characters thinking differently about certain things while the audience (who knows both sides of the story) laughs as they watch the misunderstanding get more and more precarious. See how a young man organizing his wedding misunderstands a funeral planner in the sketch below:
One of the simplest, most basic forms of humor is that of slapstick comedy a.k.a. physical injury and abuse. Unless you are writing for children (who find this form of humor hilarious), I would advise against falling back on slapstick too much because it is too easy and not as satisfying as other forms of humor. However, as you can see from the Scott Sterling sketch below, it does have its merits:
Take the Familiar and Add a Twist
Though humor is subjective, there are situations most people can relate to such as visiting the doctor, going to school, or learning to drive a car. By adding an unexpected twist to a familiar situation, you can make laugh-out-loud moments as we see the familiar become hilarious. Take the sketch below, where we watch the world of dating through the lens of a nature documentary: