The dreaded ensuing of wackiness

pie-in-face
Done right, this is comedy gold

As part of my work on the low-budget comedy spec, I’ve made an effort to read other comedies to help get a better understanding of how it could be done and hopefully some guidance I could apply to mine.

It’s always been tough for me to read comedy because my sense of humor doesn’t always align with others. Many’s the time I’ve read a script that garners universal praise for being gut-bustingly hilarious, but doesn’t do anything for me.

There is, however, one detail I’ve noticed that keeps popping up:

Unrealistic situations.

Things that seem to happen only for the sake of a joke, and not much else. These often feel forced and inorganic to the plot. Almost as if the writer thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be crazy if ____?”

In theory, potentially a good idea, but in execution – not really.

Some might argue that since it’s comedy, things don’t have to be realistic as long as they’re funny.

I beg to differ. If I don’t think something could actually happen, I will most likely not find it funny.

**side note – this doesn’t necessarily apply to slapstick or absurdist fare, which are two entirely different discussions**

Sure, there are comedies where the entire premise isn’t all that realistic to begin with, but even the humor in those should stem from the situation, rather than being a crazy assortment of wacky gags.

Going for the easy laugh or cheap joke doesn’t take much skill and shows a lack of sincere effort. If a writer does it once, chances are they’ll do it a lot. It also doesn’t offer anything new. Who wants a joke they’ve probably seen or heard a thousand times before?

Looking at comedies that would be considered strong, there are a lot of instances where the joke is an integral part of the scene, rather than feeling like something tacked on.

You’ll hear that the best comedy is the kind that makes you think. I prefer comedy that shows the writer did a lot of the thinking.

Striding boldly into Phase Two

Might as well make it a nice-looking door, right?
Might as well make the way in look nice, right?

I had to work New Year’s Day, starting at 5am. It wasn’t as bad as you might think.

It meant holiday overtime (always nice), the roads were extremely quiet, so there was a lot of downtime, which provided me with the opportunity I was hoping for: to hack and slash my way through the script, cutting out anything unnecessary.  Turns out there was about ten pages’ worth, including an excessive amount of adverbs.

But it’s all gone now, and the script is that much better for it. Tighter, smoother, a faster read.  114 pages of potential cinematic goodness.

The professional feedback will have to wait for now, but notes from trusted colleagues are proving to be just as helpful.

Apart from a few tweaks, this script could officially be considered READY TO GO.  A minor celebration will be held in the form of a trip to the comic book store.

The next few weeks will be split between researching and contacting potential reps and continuing the fine-tuning of the western outline (gotta keep the creativeness going).

-Awaiting delivery of my equipment to get the podcast up and running, so add contacting potential guests to the aforementioned list.  More details as they develop.

-Movie of the Moment – THE HOBBIT (2012). Enjoyable, but way to0 long. Why exactly did they feel this had to be a trilogy? Two movies would have been fine.  This is not the epic tale that LOTR is, and suffers for it.

Saw it with V. She liked it, and was genuinely surprised at the end because she thought it would be a single, self-contained story. She’s already stated her interest in seeing the next one. I can’t help but wonder how much Smaug will be featured in Part 2, and Benedict Cumberbatch doing the voice is an added bonus.

-V was also off for winter break, so there’s been a lot of crashing/vegging out in front of the TV. I’m happy to say she’s outgrown some of the inane kids programming she used to watch, and has discovered I LOVE LUCY. It’s easy to see why this still holds up today. She’s already watched the Vitameatavegamin episode three times, laughing hysterically each time. HuluPlus only provides parts of each season, so we’ll have to try Netflix to track down the candy factory episode.

When your 21st century child develops an appreciation for Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball, you must be doing something right.

A surefire hit!

With the success of recent alternate reality stories such as PRIDE, PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES and ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER, the next logical step can only be:

THE 3 STOOGES: UNDERCOVER G-MEN!

1944. Hollywood. A Nazi spy ring has infiltrated Tinseltown’s Jewish community.

Moe, Larry and Curly are on hiatus from filming their latest batch of shorts.
Although they initially reject the offer to join the Axis, the OSS recruits them to play along and destroy the ring from within.

Slapstick combined with war-time thrills and intrigue! Tell me the world would not go absolutely gaga over this.

At least the male half would.