“We laughed until our stomachs hurt, our notepads filled and our comedy elevated.”
“David’s seminar was not only informative but truly entertaining.”
“Informative, thought-provoking and extremely funny.”
Screenwriter David Misch (“Mork & Mindy”, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, “Duckman”, “Police Squad!”, “Saturday Night Live”, “Funny: The Book”) presents a class about comedy which is guaranteed to impart no usable skills.
Okay, that could be an exaggeration but David’s given that guarantee at Sony Pictures, DreamWorks, Disney, Lucasfilm, Second City, Actors Studio, Groundlings, Yale, Columbia, Oxford University, Austin Film Festival, American Film Institute, Writers Guild Foundation, University of Sydney and the VIEW Cinema Conference (Torino, Italy).
“How Comedy Works” has no direct instruction but is a critical, and serious (though funny), exploration of comedy as an art form which gives actors, writers, directors, producers and Crafts Service personnel a closeup of comedy’s innards, the idea being that understanding how comedy works will help you work in comedy. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Topics include the Rule of 3 (Why are things funnier in threes? Really, why? I mean, why?); the relationship between Comedy and Logic (spoiler alert: they’re bitter enemies); the calculations involved in timing; comedy cues, and why withholding them is sometimes the best way to get a laugh; why your body is hilarious; the evil of punchlines; and how the mechanics of jokes – tension and resolution, pattern recognition, misdirection and surprise – provide a template for all humor.
As for practical applications, the presentation includes copious comedy clips from TV and movies which show how these principles translate into actual laughter. So forget all that stuff about no usable skills.