What I learned about comedy writing from John Cleese,
the Big Cheese of British Comedy
- In professional writing he encourages:- ‘If you kept at it, material would always emerge; a bad day would be followed by a decent one, and somehow an acceptable average would be forthcoming.’
- ‘Always put the key funny word in a sentence at the end of it, as this will give it maximum impact.’ Hmmm worth reviewing our sentences in the light of this observation.
- State of mind in writing comedy is important too and I read with delight the obvious - to those who have suffered from this - ‘The more anxious you feel, the less creative you are.’
- ‘First rule: get your panic in early. Fear gives you energy, so make sure you have plenty of time to use that energy.
- Second Rule: your thoughts follow your mood. Anxiety produces anxious thoughts; sadness begets sad thoughts; anger, angry thoughts; so aim to be in a relaxed playful mood when you try to be funny.’
- This is why I find ‘canned laughter' false and weird. It’s being commanded by an audience to laugh where it’s not natural for me to laugh. I don’t respond well to that kind of push. Other people like to feel they are laughing with the crowd. Incidentally the history of ‘canned laughter’ is an interesting one and here's where you can find out all about it Canned Laughter History
Check out 'Let's Speak English' Graham Chapman & Cleese with creative friends.
Contact us for help with your comedy writing or publishing on Skype
ChristineLeovLealand or email quintessence.publications *at* gmail.com