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Elements of Comedy PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Elements of Comedy With a Focus on Satire Caveat: The best way to kill a joke is to analyze it. Comedy is the hardest genre to create—partly because everyone thinks it’s easy. So Why Risk It?

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Elements of Comedy

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Elements of Comedy

With a Focus on Satire


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Caveat:

  • The best way to kill a joke is to analyze it.

  • Comedy is the hardest genre to create—partly because everyone thinks it’s easy.


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So Why Risk It?

  • We all have different ideas of what is funny…but there are some common elements or building blocks of classic comedy that we can at least understand and identify.

  • As with camera angles and exposing invisible editing, understanding what is there may help you to better write and appreciate comedy.


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Basic Concepts for Creating Humor

From “How To Be Funny” by Steve Allen


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Play On Words

  • usually builds on homonyms

  • understanding a second definition than what was intended

  • misusing the intended definition

  • etc.

    • A dime and a nickel were on top of the empire state building. The nickel jumped but the dime didn’t. Why?


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Reverse Formula

  • Saying or doing the opposite of what is expected

  • Presenting something that is the opposite of the normal order (order of events, hierarchical order, etc.)


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Exaggeration

  • To enlarge, increase, or represent something beyond normal bounds

  • Result: it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen

    • Examples:


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Incongruity

  • To present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to their surroundings

    • Monty Python uses this a lot


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Parody

  • To imitate the techniques and/or style of some person, place or thing


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Implication

  • Makes the viewer make a leap between the last part of the statement and the implicit meaning

    • “Mommy, Mommy” jokes

    • Example from Annie Hall


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Visualization

  • An exercise of the visual imagination

    • “Mommy, mommy, my pigtails are too tight.”


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Satire

Definition and Key Techniques


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Definition of Satire

  • A literary work that ridicules its subject through the use of specific techniques:


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Exaggeration

  • To enlarge, increase, or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen


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Incongruity

  • To present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to their surroundings


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Reversal

  • To present the opposite of the normal or expected order


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Parody

  • To imitate the style or technique of some person, place or thing.


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