Oh you want to do comedy? That's a good one- tell me another!

Oh you want to do comedy? That’s a good one- tell me another!

I think one of the hardest parts about working on a comedy is getting over the idea that people are going to laugh every time they see your work.

We had a reading today of the script that we are preparing to produce this weekend. It’s a funny script- at least, I think so, and it has been a lot of fun to begin seeing it come to life in rehearsals because each new step forward only makes it funnier. Even with this much confidence about the script’s comedic potential isn’t enough to prevent me from being SUPER sensitive to whether or not people laugh at the intended punchlines.

The hardest part is to avoid second guessing yourself. Is this joke really funny or is it not playing at all? Is it weak on paper but will be strong once an actor starts to speak? Am I just reading it for the wrong audience? Is my audience too familiar with the story already and are smiling as loudly as they can?

The other day I wrote about the Muse of Regret and how our shortcomings give us a lot of inspiration in creative work. Well, today I guess I’m going to talk about the Muse of Laughter which is a much meaner and more demanding muse to try to work for. Let me tell you this, though, when you write something and people laugh, it feels amazing. It gives you a dose of energy that makes it real easy to keep working. Conversely, though, when you write something that you think is funny and nobody laughs, it’s like pressing your face up against the glass of a bakery case with a delicious, delicious chocolate cake behind it- just out of your reach. The less laughter you get the more you want it.

As a matter of fact, I think learning how to do comedy is a lot like distance running: a lot of hard work and training and you’re just going to have to push through discouragement on days when you just want to quit early and go home. The better that you get at it the better it feels to do it and after a while you do it for the joy of doing it rather than reaching a finish line.

That said, I need to get back to work now: the Muses call.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 25, 2014.

One Response to “Laughless”

  1. I like how you talk of the muses. For me, it made them human, which lead me to wonder if they ever go for coffee or become intwined in in long fought epic battles. Are they human, or just semi-gods in human form?

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