About Writing: How To Make ANY Scene Funny

We don’t like to admit it, but us comedy writers have a secret technique for making ANY scene in anything funny. It’s a well-kept secret* because we have to protect it and earn a crust. We’re like the Masons or something.

But I’m breaking the code of silence, like that magician who pretended he spoke like Mitch Pileggi. Or Penn & Teller.

Here’s a really tense and dramatic scene from A Few Good Men. Anyone can write drama, it’s really easy, but I’ve used the secret trick here to make the scene FUNNY! See if you can spot what I did.

*Only TV critics know about it.

KAFFEE

Is this funny, sir?

JESSEP

No, it isn’t. It’s tragic.

KAFFEE

Do you have an answer to the question, Colonel?

JESSEP

Absolutely. My answer is I don’t have the first damn clue.

(Audience laughs)

Maybe he was an early riser and liked to pack in the morning.

(Audience laughs)

And maybe he didn’t have any friends.

(Audience laughs)

I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the travel habits of William Santiago. What I do know is that he was set to leave the base at 0600. Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Phone calls and foot lockers?

(Audience laughs)

Please tell me that you have something more, Lieutenant. These two Marines are on trial for their lives. Please tell me their lawyer hasn’t pinned their hopes to a phone bill.

Audience laughs even harder than before, and does a round of applause.

Note to editor: Please add canned laughter.

Truth 'andles. 'Andles for truths.
Truth ‘andles. ‘Andles for truths.
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