Happy Red Face Day! It’s a day I set aside to celebrate being exactly one month early for Red Nose Day. I hope more of you will join me next year.
I look forward to all the comedy on telly later (in a month’s time), but until then, here’s a tip for the jokers out there…
I came across a book once that had one piece of advice that stuck. It’s this acronym:
If a joke isn’t working or could be better, does it have these elements?
TARGET. All jokes need a target. Could be person, or an idea, or anything.
HOSTILITY. Is it a target people can get behind, and build up hostility toward?
REALITY. Is the joke based in reality? Of course you can still be surreal…
EXAGGERATION. Exaggerate/heighten (even go surreal) the reality in your joke as much as you can without breaking it, so you can heighten the…
EMOTION. If the target is something or someone the audience can build up hostility toward, go for it! Make your Greedy Banker a maniacally laughing, top hat-wearing baby-eater…
SURPRISE. If they can see the punchline coming, it just won’t work.
Bear in mind, as I said earlier, there is only one piece of advice worth anything in this game, so feel free to disregard/improve the above.
Also, this is not a formula for synthesising jokes from the ground up, it’s just an idea to throw at stuff you’ve already created to see if you can improve it.
Form is there to guide, formula is just too proscriptive and probably unhelpful wherever it rears its ugly head.
And finally, they say the secret to comedy is timing. A month early is probably not right.
*(I want to credit Mervyn Helzer for this, but can’t find him anywhere on the internet.)