Writing Comedy Scripts That Make People LOL
Writing comedy scripts that make people LOL is very difficult. Comedy writing has to be natural and authentic. But writing an effective comedy script isn’t just about telling jokes.
There are other key components that need to be well thought out in order for the final product to come together as a cohesive whole.
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Comedy writing has to be organic. It’s not something that can simply be manufactured after all!
So it needs careful consideration without making too much effort because let’s face it – writing bad comedy can be detected when the writer is trying too hard.
So without further ado, let’s get into this!
Writing Comedy Scripts That Make People LOL
Hopefully writing comedy scripts has been easier since writing the first draft of your script. But what if it isn’t? What do you do if writing comedy scripts is still tough after writing your 2nd, 3rd or 4th drafts?
Dialogue is probably where most writers struggle with writing comedy scripts. You may have attempted writing jokes but they fell flat. And writing dialogue that’s actually funny can be difficult to begin with.
It requires not only plenty of practice but also an intense knowledge about all things funny, including everything from comedic timing and delivery, through to humor theory and structure.
But for now I’d like to focus on writing dialogue in general – especially writing great dialogue which will make your writing stand as amazing comedy writing .
So, what makes good dialogue? Well, that’s the million dollar question isn’t it? They say writing and rewriting is 90% of writing (which it probably is) and you do a lot of writing and rewriting during the editing process.
A sure fire way to make your writing feel effortless is to write what you’re already familiar with.
One great way to give your characters fantastic lines is to modify a common phrase or cliché into something that no one has ever heard before.
Example 1: “That’s the last time I loan out my vacuum cleaner.”
Not so funny, right? But…
“That’s the last pube I’ll ever see!”
Or how about…
“That’s the last slice of pizza I’ll have until after this baby comes!”
See the difference? And it only took thirty seconds! Here are another few examples:
“Why would I want to get better? This has been the most interesting experience of my life!” – Jerry Seinfeld, Seinfeld
“Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii! We’re sorry you had to find out this way.” – David Cross, Arrested Development
“No one should ever have to look at their dead grandfather naked.” – Louis C.K., Louie
The tone in which these lines are spoken make them sound like ridiculous things to be saying, but it is how they are said that makes them ‘funny.’
Reading them straight-up or too slowly will not create comedy; it must be read with a comedic delivery to them.
Writing comedy scripts is not easy. In fact, writing a piece of writing that will make people laugh can be an incredibly difficult task.
This guide has been written to help you learn the art of writing comedy scripts with wit and style.
You may have heard that ‘comedy is subjective’ and this is absolutely true. What makes one person laugh might make another cringe, so writing a script for a sitcom or even writing your own blog posts will always come with risks.
Even if you spend hours looking at hilarious TV shows or reading funny books you might still think “My writing isn’t nearly as good as this” – but believe me, it’s all about practice!
Wit Is Not Comedy
Neither wittiness nor stupidity are comedic writing qualities. Witty writing is just writing. Stupid writing is just writing. Dull writing, on the other hand, can be very funny or not depending on how it’s used by the writer crafting the scene in question.
This article seeks to make you aware of two important rules which every writer should follow when writing comedic material:
1) Your characters must not be witty; and
2) nor should they be stupid or dim-witted.
Neither wittiness nor stupidity are comedic writing qualities. Witty writing is just writing. Stupid writing is just writing.
Dull writing, on the other hand, can be very funny or not depending on how it’s used by the writer crafting the scene in question
Actually, funny writing takes more than just writing funny things. That’s because writing is not the same as saying funny things. Just because you can say funny things doesn’t mean you can write them.
Similarly, I have a coworker who has won awards for his public speaking—but he’d be the first to tell you that writing about it is very different from doing it.
And if you’re planning on writing one-liners or gameshows, then being able to speak your line with timing doesn’t help either since they are meant to be read.
But writing comedy is different than writing something funny. Let me explain…
A lot of people can say funny things, or do funny things, and make people laugh. But writing it down on paper isn’t as easy as telling a joke – regardless, if the audience is made up of one or many people.
Writing comedy scripts that make people lol is a skill that may take years for you to master.
Quality Over Quantity
This is key in writing comedy scripts that make people lol; writing a comedy with a few jokes that are great is preferrable to writing many jokes that are bad.
The most common mistake with writing them is to try too hard- most comedies are funny because the writing is good, but funny things happen in them anyway.
If you can make someone laugh without writing a joke, or if the writing of your story makes people laugh for all the wrong reasons, something has broken down somewhere.
You need to focus on clarity and wit- however clever you think your dialogue is, it will only be heard once by the person who reads it.
You also need to remember that jokes written into description aren’t going to read as well as they sound in your head when it comes time to record them. People have limited attention spans, so be wary about writing descriptions to try and set up jokes.
Often this will involve making fun at somebody rather than something, because mocking people never gets old.
As long as you’re smart about it, that is- many writing teams fall into the trap of writing ‘dick joke’ comedy which makes their structure lackluster.
Look at the work of Christopher Guest- each scene contains one or two setups and payoffs which push the plot forward, often the character motivations are conveyed within these scenes themselves (eg Margaret trying to take credit for Chips’ writing).
Read your dialogue out loud- it should sound natural to the ear. Good writing is about having a good sense of rhythm and pacing to emulate what you’d have if you were writing a song or a poem, rather than writing prose.
You need to write jokes which are comprehensible on the first read through, but also create a solid structure so people who want to read it multiple times can find new things in there each time they do.
In the words of Christopher Guest himself: “If something isn’t funny, then don’t put music under it.”
You’ll never be as clever as you think you are, so just try your best and hopefully leave yourself looking smart enough without trying to for your own good.
Comedy Writing Techniques
There are some writing techniques that can be used in writing comedy that makes people lol. One writing technique for writing comedy scripts is to use the element of surprise.
The element of surprise may often work within comedy writing because it arouses feelings in people. People will say, “that was surprising!”
Another writing technique for writing comedy scripts is to write the unexpected ending.
When writing the ending, make sure you make it an ending that your readers or audience would not suspect at all. You want your readers surprised and shocked by what they read next!
The third writing technique for writing comedy scripts is to think ‘out of the box’. This means you need to write about something off topic; something completely random which has nothing to do with anything else at all.
This writing technique will really put your writing skills to the test. This writing technique may also take you longer than expected, but it should be worth it in the end!
Another writing technique for writing comedy scripts is to use irony. Irony is when something happens that’s completely opposite than what one expects or intends.
You can use this writing technique by writing about someone who goes to the office every day full of energy before 11am but stays until midnight getting a lot of work done because they have no life outside of the workplace.
Two Heads Are Better Than None
Maybe you might find out that writing comedy just isn’t your thing. Maybe you might need some assistance in being able to get your jokes to get people to laugh out loud.
Try getting together with a certain kind of person. The off the wall, 24/7 hilarious, class clown. That’s right I said it.
The sometimes-annoying guy that can’t talk about anything but how funny something was or how great his most recent trip with his best friends was at their favorite restaurant/bar/hotel room talking about everything else under the sun till the early hours of the morning.
This means you need to have your wits with you at all times and use them well enough, so you don’t forget some important facts like who had what drink first (because it’s always funny to remember people by their drinks…water, coke zero, redbull vodka).
You also need to take writing deadlines seriously. You want to be able to make your best friend laugh at least once a day and you don’t want him or her feeling bad for thinking their jokes aren’t as good as yours.
Let’s Begin Writing!
If writing a comedy script is something that intrigues you then let’s get started writing one together! Here I present the first step: The idea.
The idea is the first thing anyone ever thinks about when writing anything from a letter to a poetry anthology.
In writing a comedy script it must be comedic enough so anybody who reads it will laugh out loud even if they don’t remember why later on.
How do you come up with a good idea for a comedy script?
Good question. It’s easiest if you’re writing for a certain genre of comedy, best friend humor.
In writing a comedy script, the best way to write it is to think of your own experiences and expand on them with comedic imagination.
What would be funnier than imitating something from your life? There are infinite possibilities in writing a comedy script because everything can be turned into something funny when written well enough so keep writing!!
The next step is writing an outline to organize all your ideas that will eventually turn into a draft. I cannot tell you how to do this step, but I can give some advice: Have fun!
The more work you put into writing a comedy script the better the outcome resulting in writing for hours. If writing for hours isn’t your thing then writing a comedy script may not be either.
Writing comedy scripts that make people lol is easy once you put the work into it and keep writing over and over until it’s done!
Writing can be fun because even though you’re writing, you might think of something that would have been great to write but wasn’t in the outline or anywhere else!!
That means that after writing a comedy script, another one needs to be written so writing two comedy scripts instead of one has twice as many chances for laughs.
The best way to write a comedy script is making someone laugh so hard they cry which is why stand-up comedians are so well known.
Everyone wants to laugh at least once a day. Writing a comedy script will help you achieve that goal using these steps outlined in this article.
Thanks for reading! I hope writing a comedy script won’t be as difficult as writing about writing one was.
P.S.: Who do you know who is always trying to make you laugh? If writing a comedy script has always been your dream but nobody thinks they could write one maybe they just haven’t tried yet. Maybe that person needs to read this article to get started or just start their own step by step journey into writing a comedy script starting with finding someone whose jokes are better than theirs :)!! Writing is fun, so have fun writing!!