Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekend blogging -- an analytic approach to comedy

[The relevant gag occurs around 1:25 starting with "no scruples"]

Veteran show-runner Ken Levine discusses in depth one of the oldest but most durable classes of jokes, the Comedy Rule-of-Threes.Set up a pattern with two items in a list then deviate from the pattern with the third but not so sharply as to violate the premise.
Comedy writer Bob Ellison was in a late night rewrite once and pitched a joke. The showrunner said, “Too corny, too obvious” and Bob replied, tapping his wristwatch, “Two thirty.”
Comedy is a performance genre of instant feedback. It's also a field that attracts sharp minds. Therefore, it's not surprising that most performers have well-thought-out theories about why things are funny. For someone like me, who has watched waaaay too much TV, it's interesting seeing how the tricks are done.

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