Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wrong book?

I'm reading another book on how to write humor, but all it really deals with is writing gags for comedians and comedy sketches. I'm 60 pages in and still don't know how much good I'll get from it except to have an idea of how one-liners come about, and how bits were developed for "The Carol Burnett Show".

Don't get me wrong -- some of the funniest moments I've ever seen were on that show. There was one instance where the props crew apparently decided to play a joke on Carol during a skit. It was supposed to be about a world famous escape artist who isn't all that great at her escaping, but they set it up so none of the props she was expecting to work did. And she kept trying like crazy to  follow the script, but when they reached the part where a collapsable trunk wouldn't collapse, she lost it. And I couldn't catch my breath, I was laughing so hard.

So maybe this book'll help me figure out how to make the party in A65 funnier. I'd like at least one good belly laugh out of the script.

They had a good one in "His Girl Friday" when a process server meets with the crooked Mayor and Sheriff and the actor playing the PC was so whiny and out of touch with reality, he couldn't even tell when he was being bribed not to do his job. Typical exchange --

Mayor (to server)
"What's your name?"

Process Server
"Pettibone. What's yours?"

Mayor (not paying attention)

Process Server (smiling and thinking the Mayor has the same last name as him)
"Oh, not really..."

Same for "Twentieth Century", when John Barrymore describes the play he's going to do with Carole Lombarde in the lead, including showing her how the camels will act, and she finally laughs in his face and calls him crazy.

In "Tootsie" it's the second exchange between Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack, who's playing his agent, when Dustin reveals Jessica Lange's father asked him to marry him (thinking he's a woman). Sydney gets all happy and smiley and asks him what he said, and Dustin say, "What do you think I said? I told him I'd have to think about it."

I should watch those, again; maybe get some inspiration.

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