If you wanted to know how comedy is created how would you go about it? You would probably first gather a large group of the world’s most talented and successful comedy creators. Then what? You could ask them how they do what they do, but they may end up telling you what they think they did rather than what they actually do. Remember that the highest form of fiction is the autobiography.
Well, you could follow them to work and watch as they created comedy, but then there is no real way to understand how one worked compared to the other so it would be difficult to draw conclusions about the process. Or, you could give all of them the beginning of a comedy idea or premise and ask them each to start from the same place to see what they create and where they end up.
Imagine sitting there as they created comedy right there while you watched, and maybe even throw in some narration about how they were solving problems or creating new conflicts to create even funnier material in real time. You have just read a description of an amazing book called, Now That’s Funny! The Art and Craft of Comedy Writing.
Remember times when you walked through a museum and seen some of the world’s greatest paintings. What would you give to sit next to Rembrandt and watch him paint a still life that you set up? You would get to watch each brush stroke and from time-to-time, he might tell you why he was using teal blue instead of cobalt blue. Then you would go to Renoir’s studio and watch how he went about painting that same still life so you could compare his style, technique and vision and then on to Picasso’s. Now throw in Van Gogh, Cézanne and twenty other famous artists and you can get a sense of how Now That’s Funny! gives readers the opportunity to see comedy created.
You’ll be sitting next to the writers who created such iconic shows as The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Everybody Loves Raymond, Wings, The Larry Sanders Show and Frasier. And, seeing how the writers of classic comedies like The Jerk, There’s Something About Mary and Saving Silverman all went about developing the same premise.
You’ll see all of these writers “in the moment” creating comedy and see what they come up with, how they do it, what they are thinking, how their thoughts develop, how they navigate through blind alleys and how they end up with fresh takes that are really funny. And while they are doing all this, they weave in stories about their lives, their craft and the people they worked with.
It’s access into a room that very few people have ever been admitted to.