Tag Archive > sitcom

Sketch comedy writing: Sketches need characters

So far, so obvious.  A sketch without characters would be,um, a very long  joke or a short stand up set. And even then the persona of the performer gives you at least one character to play with. So sketches need characters. So what? Well, they need funny characters. Again, obvious. We’re trying to write comedy […]

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Andrew Ellard on naming characters

Andrew Ellard (script editor on Red Dwarf, IT Crowd, and Miranda amongst other things) has a great Storify story on naming characters. His basic point is that you should make the character name evoke (or, perhaps, completely contrast with) the character. E.g. Mr Gradgrind tells you exactly what Dicken’s character is like.  On the other […]

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The importance of the Shitty First Draft

(Please excuse the Anglo-Saxon synonym for manure used throughout. It is entirely artistically justified. Well, mostly. And it’s shorter to type.) I asked Father Christmas to bring me the boxset of The IT Crowd this year, partly so I could watch them without watching 20 emotionally needy Microsoft ads on 4OD.  (If Windows 8 was […]

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Best comedy writing tip I’ve ever got: Put the funny bit at the end

Now, I haven’t yet scaled to the thin, slippery branches at the top of the comedy writing tree – so I am willing to believe there are other principles of the comedy writing craft I have yet to discover. But of all the tricks I’ve picked up so far this is the one I use […]

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The targets of comedy – who is the joke? And is that OK? What about “Derek”?

Comedy usually has a target. Satire points out the flaws of it’s subject. Sitcom also puts characters through the wringer, even in the mildest gentlest episode of As Time Goes By. With the possible exception of silly wordplay, there is a butt for most jokes out there. Not all of this is “nasty” – much of […]

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Rewatching One Foot in the Grave – thoughts on Sitcom structure

For my birthday a week or so ago I was given  more to add  to my collection of classic British sitcoms including the box set of One Foot in the Grave. I’ve just started rewatching the first series. I’ve found this fascinating as, although a lot of the elements are there – Victor’s character, the […]

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Paul Kerensa on sitcom writing

Great blog post from Paul Kerensa on sitcom writing, over at the British Comedy Guide. He makes the excellent point that rules and tools and structures should help you, not get in the way. Use them when they make your work better. And that you have to start with funny characters (ie more than one […]

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Sitcom characters – stuck in the middle

One of the defining features of sitcom is that the characters are stuck. They are unable to get away from the family, workplace or friends that frustrate and annoy them. More than that the main characters of sitcoms are usually stuck in the middle – between superiors they can’t avoid and those beneath them that […]

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