3 'Go-To' Comedy Writing Tricks from an Industry Insider

#3. My Five "Go-To" Comedy Writing Tricks

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I. The Comic Timing Trick: How many times have you heard that all comedy is timing? Easy to say, but hard to explain. Here's my trick: Write your comedy very fast or very slow or at a normal speed, but pick a speed and stick to it. If you have trouble typing fast, then slow might be your speed. Find your comedy speed.

II. The Funny/Not Funny Trick: After every joke, there should be a corresponding really sad moment. Then right back to something funny. Why does this work? Because it just does.

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Her husband just died. Use that to your advantage!

III. The Write What You Know Trick: Your own experiences are like gold -- they are yours and yours alone. Don't squander them. For example, if you have a favorite episode of Kramer, write that one. (Bonus tip: If you TiVo the episode, it's easier to get the words just perfect. If you think TiVo is too "yesterday," then contact your cable provider and ask about their digital recording package.)

IV. The Wacky Next Door Neighbor Trick: When you include the wacky neighbor in your pilot, don't give him or her a devastating skin condition. If this is a temptation, ask yourself a few questions: A) Why am I doing this to my show? B) Is there an ointment?

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There is. And that ointment is "comedy."

V. The ABV Trick: Always be vulgar. Year after year, we get more data that vulgar is what males from 13 to 37 want. And, other than females, males are your most important audience. If you don't believe me, try this demonstration: I am now going to print a phrase chosen on purpose to make you uncomfortable: "sanitary napkin." Right? It gets your attention! And then you laugh to relieve pent-up energy "normally used to repress hostile and sexual feelings." (Freud)

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Tom Snyder

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