The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing: Unpacking the Secretive Process

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The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing: Unpacking the Secretive Process

Comedy is an art that requires patience, precision, and a willingness to explore the absurd. Understanding and harnessing the unique methods of comedy can provide invaluable insights for aspiring comedy creators. Here’s a playful and informative summary of a seasoned comedy writer’s (Jerry Seinfeld)  journey, loaded with tips and tricks for your own comedic endeavors.

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  1. Patience is Key: Comedy writing is not a sprint but a marathon. Our seasoned writer spent two years on a single bit, underlining the importance of patience in comedy. Comedy creators must learn to accept and appreciate this slow and often secretive process.
  2. Finding Humor in the Mundane: Comedy often stems from everyday situations, finding humor in the ordinary. For our writer, the idea of a Pop-tart, a common breakfast item, ignited a hilarious exploration. Comedy creators should learn to spot these mundane but humorous elements in their daily lives.
  3. Setting Up the Punchline: Comedy writing should engage the audience right away. Establish a funny premise from the beginning. This sets the tone for the ensuing bit and hooks the audience in.
  4. Choosing Your Tools: For some, the method of writing could be an essential part of the creative process. In this case, the writer preferred writing with a BIC clear barrel blue pen, showing the value of personal writing rituals and tools.
  5. Linking Jokes with a Connective Tissue: Comedy writing often involves creating a seamless flow from one joke to the next. It’s like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. If the link is too long, you need to trim it down, sometimes even to the level of shaving off syllables, to keep the narrative tight and the pace brisk.
  6. Making Your Words Count: Each word in a comedy bit should contribute to the overall humor. Words such as ‘chimps’, ‘dirt’, and ‘sticks’ were chosen specifically because they were inherently funny, emphasizing the importance of word choice.
  7. The Art of the Ending: The biggest laugh in a bit should come at the end. This is one of the challenges in comedy writing, but it’s a crucial element in crafting a memorable comedic story.
  8. Embrace the Absurd: The more absurd the subject, the better. Comedy often flourishes in the realm of the ridiculous. In this case, the seemingly uninteresting subject of a Pop-tart’s freshness status becomes the centerpiece of a comedic bit.
  9. Commitment to the Bit: In comedy writing, the willingness to invest time and effort into the development of a seemingly trivial or absurd idea is essential. The focus is not always on traditionally ‘deserving’ subjects, but often on the ‘undeserving’ and ‘inappropriate’.

Remember, comedy is an art form that encourages exploration, absurdity, and creativity. While these insights offer a peek into one comedy writer’s process, it’s important to remember that each creator has their unique approach and style. Don’t be afraid to find your own comedic voice. Happy writing!

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