- not being funny
- making others uncomfortable
- getting that sick feeling in your stomach
Think about the following people who you KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, are trying to make you laugh:
- your father/grandfather/old neighbor who loves puns
- the guy at the office who laughs nervously after everything he says
People don't like the sense that they're being pushed or forced into laughter. It makes them uncomfortable.
The best comedy doesn't push people to laugh, but pulls them into a funny situation. Setting up an interesting scene naturally engages people, and then as you're pulling them along, you take them someplace unexpected.... that's where laughter happens.
There's a few basic steps to making this happen:
- Start with a somewhat believable premise; this allows the audience to think ahead and feel like they know where this is all going
- Draw people in with interesting characters/scene movement
- Give the audience something they're not expecting; to upset their expectation that they knew where this was going
- Get a situation that lends itself to humor/incongruous characters.
- Make those characters interact
- strange things happen; studio audience laughs; people at home laugh
This has to be a reason for so many recent comedy flops. Movie makers don't trust the audience's attention span enough, so they can't set up a good situation that will result in some well-crafted comedy; they make movies that repeat and retell the old flatuation, defecation, and fornication jokes--only making them more disgusting and making them happen more often.
But really, where do you go from there?