- The different types of humour and when to use them
- How to tell if you're funny
- Some easy ways to fix things that aren't getting laughs
- What makes a funny character? (lots of examples)
- How to see things in a funny way
- How to keep the laughs coming
- The funniest situations
- How to turn tragedy into comedy
- How to write jokes that are definitely funny
- How to perform comedy successfully
- Working with comedy clubs
- How to write for other people
- How to write for comedians who "don't use writers"
- How to sell work that has been rejected
- All about writing sitcoms
- Writing for sketch shows
- Spoofs and parodies
- Plus 19 great storylines you can use or adapt
as you wish
- And much more - far too many great ideas to list here!
Sample idea: Black comedy
If you'd like to write black comedy, try starting with
the black part first. Make a long list
of depressing or horrific events or circumstances: someone has
died in an accident, a
diner has had a heart attack in a restaurant, a soldier's
best friend has just died next to him in a trench,
and so on. You'll find plenty of examples
just by watching the news or reading newspapers.
These are shocking situations where jokes should never (normally)
be made. Listing them won't be pleasant but it needs to
The next step is to come up with a joke for each item. In black
comedy these are often the
things people say under these circumstances - especially
stereotypical British people who
never grumble or complain despite the dreadful things that happen
to them. So the wife of
the man who's had the heart attack in the restaurant might
say to her companions: 'At
least we won't have to pay the bill.' Or 'It
would be a shame to let this spoil the meal,
let's ask for doggy bags.' See what else you can
come up with.
[TIP] As in the example above, a good way of getting started
is to use 'At least ...'
Another way of writing
black comedy is to start with three lists.
In the first you list
serious circumstances: deaths, accidents, funerals, life-or-death
surgery, murder trials,
wars, and so on.
In the second you list people who might behave
inappropriately: foreign tourists who stumble in to ask for directions,
drunks, the village
idiot, young children, animals, the elderly and confused, an
uncle who thinks he's a
comedian (but nobody else does), and so on.
In the third you
list objects and events -
catalysts - and things that if they can go wrong will go
wrong: someone might shout out
something inappropriate at just the wrong moment, the coffin
might have to carried under
a ladder and end up covered in paint, one of the pallbearers
might not see the open manhole, a golf ball might come flying through
the window and hit someone on the head,
the curtains might catch fire, the dog (whose water bowl has been
spiked with something)
might see a cat in the garden and dive through the window - which
happens to be closed
and two flights up.
Taking one item at random from each list should
lead to all sorts of
comedy ideas - and if you choose them carefully rather
than at random they'll probably
be even better.
[EXTENSION] Try taking two of the best ideas
and combine them in a single
You might prefer the complete Volume
3 (Genre Fiction)
Includes: Comedy, Crime, Fantasy, Historical,
Mystery and Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers
1,228 very clever
ideas, 564 pages, £27.99
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