Animation Comedy and Gag Writing
Writing a Funny Script
Where does the humor of this series come from? Is it belly laughs, giggles, or smiles? Is there visual humor or funny, smart dialogue? Be consistent to the kind and amount of humor of that show. Whats funny about the stars personality? Combine people, places and props, juxtaposing one idea with a totally different one (a meek man and an office cooler in the middle of the desert). Place the unexpected in a surprising context. Place incongruous words or things in juxtaposition to create surprising relationships. Come up with something fresh, or at least put a twist onto a classic idea. Try creating an episode around a fish-out-of-water situation or an unresolved predicament (like a lie or a secret). Often theres an inciting incident that rocks the boat. The star may make a plan, but it turns into a textbook case of Murphys Law, and everything that can go wrong does. Complicate the predicament your star finds himself in by adding additional layers of problems. Escalate the trouble so that he digs himself in deeper and deeper. Be sure you have plenty of props available, as these are needed for the gags. Misuse your props. Make up your own wild gadgets. Set up your gags (build them), milk them, top them. Comedy is often done in a rhythm of three dum, dum, de-dum! Sometimes you can set up now and pay off later with a punch line. If something isnt funny enough, try adding cs and ks to the dialogue. These sounds are funnier! Use timing, tension, hints (letting your audience bring a little to the whole and bridging the gap). Use simplification and selection. Give the audience A, B, C and F, G. The audience should have to supply D and E. You dont want to write, Your baby brother eats like a pig! You want to say, Your baby brother is coming to lunch. Should I get out the trough? Dont tip off the surprise, the punch line, but save it for the end. Scenes usually go out on a laugh line, a stinger or a button. End your script with a twist!
Writing a Funny Script
Here are a few comedy devices that you can use in writing gags: Impersonation/Disguise (a character in costume or drag), Role Reversal and Anthropomorphism (two forms of reference and you oscillate between them), Pretense and Exposure (hypocrisy, The Emperors New Clothes), Pull Back and Reveal (the basic gag element is at first hidden from the audience), Hidden Element (the basic gag element is hidden from one of the characters), Misunderstanding, Turnabout (things are the opposite of what we expect), Understatement (A huge crowd is watching the takeoff of the first flight to leave our solar system. The spaceship rockets toward the sky, then explodes like a firecracker. Cool Surfer Dude: Looks like a dud, dude.), Manners and Customs (the juxtaposition of references from two different occupations, ethnic customs), the Smart Joke (upscale, In Beverly Hills the emergency number is unlisted.), the Dumb Joke (blonde jokes, women driver jokes), Kids Mistakes (not always funny to kids, Bill Cosbys Kids Say the Darndest Things), True Stories (usually these are a real belly laugh), The Excuse, Death (hard to make funny, but it can be done!), False Logic (How do you get milk from a kernel of corn? You use a low stool!), Malapropism (the wrong word, Dr. Seuss holiday dinner of roast beast), Insult, Pop-Culture References (Shrek), Metamorphosis, Shell Game (people, props, animals shuffle, hide and pop up where theyre least expected), and Funny Chase.