Write Some Jokes
Seen In: Lenny, Man On The Moon, Funny People
The Movies: We can’t stress this enough. Even if you’re making a disturbing flick about the most controversial stand-up of all time, you have to include a laugh or two.
If anything, the jokes can make the darkness even more disturbing.
The following sequence from Lenny proves the point.
It takes a typical stand-up subject – pioneered by controversial ‘60s comic Lenny Bruce – about cheating on your girlfriend, and intersperses it with talking head footage that exposes the sad truth behind the punchlines.
It doesn’t make the gags any less funny, or the film any less moving – get the balance between chuckles and sobs right, and you’ll have a hit on your hands.
Real Life: As part of our School Of Comedy day, we were given a tutorial by Micky Flanagan on the dos and don’ts of stand-up. Advice included
Do - “Make sure you start strong and end clearly – try and get the audience onside straight away.”
Don’t – “Get onto the stage and start crying and apologising before curling up into the foetal position, gently sobbing to yourself and murmuring your mother’s name over and over again .”
Okay, we may have made that second one up, but, by this point, that’s pretty much what we felt like doing.
That is, until we sat down and started to write our jokes.
After about half an hour of scrawling one-liners onto the back of our hand, we realised that, no matter how disturbing our eventual performance could end up being, if we managed to get at least three gags out before collapsing, we might do okay.
At least, that’s what we kept mumbling to ourselves as the performance time got closer and closer...
Next: The Performance