Taking comedy seriously

My objective
My objective

It’s been a long time since I attempted to write a comedy, but the process has begun and I plan to see this through to the end. (the latest – hit the page 10/inciting incident plot point as of yesterday.)

Quite a challenge, to say the least.

For the time being, my objective is to produce two pages a day. Three if I’m on a roll. “That’s all?” you may ask. Yep, because a lot of that time is spent going back and fine-tuning the jokes.

I’ll crank out a scene, which usually includes a first pass at the jokes, then rewrite them multiple times until I think each one works. I’ve yet to hit the bullseye the first time out, nor do I expect to. It takes as long as it takes. I’m not in a rush.

If you don’t write comedy, you’d be surprised how tough it is to come up with a joke that isn’t a cliche, or has been heard before. Which is why it’s been such an unexpected positive result to discover that each day it gets a little easier. Not much, but just enough to make it seem slightly less daunting.

But add to that how comedy is subjective and everybody’s sense of humor varies, and we’re right back to extremely daunting.

What”s proven to be a huge help has been reading other comedy scripts and watching a lot of comedies to study how those jokes are done. I’ve really come to appreciate the Tina Fey/30 Rock-style, in that the joke, no matter how absurd it may be, fits in seamlessly and organically. Counter to this is the old-fashioned way (“Who cares what’s going on? Here’s a joke!” (rim-shot)), which feels forced and shoe-horned in, and is often not that funny. A cautionary example of what to avoid.

I suppose it’s even possible my daily output could potentially increase by an additional one to two pages, but I don’t want to strain myself.

-Thanks to everybody who contacted me after the developments of last week. It’s nice to know you’re not alone when things get dark, and a lot of those same people are more than willing to help you pull yourself out of it. A combination of working on the comedy, plus some encouraging feedback on the western (and its logline) have really helped put me in a better mood.

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