How To Write Comedy With Your Friend

Some of the best (and some of the hardest) times that I’ve had writing comedy have been spent doing so with different friends. There are so many different ways to work in a partnership of course, but here are three examples that ring true to my own different experiences.

The most fun is when you are just riffing on a subject as you do something else.

This clip is from a longer sequence in Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with Brian Regan, and it’s well worth watching the whole episode. Together they write the strong beginnings of two stand up bits, just by making one another laugh. One of my own favourite routines had its genesis in a moment like this.

More often than not, writing with someone else is a lot like this.

The bit where Jerry outlines all his caveats rings true to me, as does the moment he gets up and looks out of the window, before moving a chair for no reason whatsoever.

Then there’s the chewing something as you think moments.


They Came While We Were Sleeping

Sometimes, when developing an idea, I like to improvise into a microphone. Doing so often shakes loose some thoughts, and can even bring up new ideas that would never have occurred to me. I just turn on the recorder and start speaking.


That’s what I did yesterday.

Give it a go, it’s a useful tool to have. Think of it like writing but without the typing.

How To Write A Brilliant Scene

Have a look at this sketch from The Micallef P(r)ogram(me).

Sometimes it’s useful to see what bad writing would look like, and take it to the extreme just to highlight everything that’s wrong with it. If you haven’t learnt something from what you just watched, then it was a waste of your time watching it, and a waste of my time directing you to it.

Exposition it horrible to write, and painful to watch if done badly. I’d rather be confused for a bit than bored.

Ian Malcolm’s Leather Jacket

There was a moment when I was watching the video posted at the end of this post, when I realised something about Jurassic Park that I sort of comprehended before, but not really.

Take a look at this frame from the movie.

There’s something about it that tells you everything you need to know about the core relationships in the film.

The clothes.

Malcolm and Hammond are polar opposite characters, the ying and yang of the argument about nature and nurture, chaos and order, and recklessness and responsibility. So naturally, their costumes reflect this.

But look at Ellie and Alan (and let’s not ignore the similarity in names here) – they are wearing the same clothes, just in reverse. Their colour palettes are complimentary. It’s a nice touch. As it the fact that Lex and Tim are dressed in a similar garb to their adoptive parents.

The video is worth your time, even if it does read a little too much into things, and ignores the contributions of Crichton and Koepp the writers, as well as the rest of the crew. What it does highlight nicely though, is the importance of rooting a big, action adventure in a small, personal story. Koepp and Spielberg did this again with War Of The Worlds, and it’s what makes Die Hard so good, and Die Hard We Cured Radiation 5 so poor.