A. How to deal with comedy MATERIAL.

        B. Don't just invent business, but must have TIMING, TECHNIQUE and find MOTIVATION.

        C. The whole idea of COMEDY.

A normal view of people in comedic situations.


  1. amuse the audience
    1. humor
      1. laughs
        1. where the pie lands amuse the audience
        2. counter point
      2. basic joke
        1.  list of basic jokes
      3. joke

        1. no new jokes
        2. marriage joke
        3. running joke
        4. shtick
        5. gags
        6. rule of three
          1. third variation
      4. funny
        1. human funny
      5. off the wall
      6. gold mines
  2. comedians
    1. play comedy
    2. straight man
      1. suffer
    3. funny man, clown
    4. foil
    5. Laurel and Hardy
    6. shtick
  3. actor funny
  4. comedy is an exact science, you must learn the science.
    1. basic of comedy
      1. pace
      2. precision
      3. timing
      4. working clean
      5. comedy clock
      6. business
      7. clarity
      8. frame the joke
        1. train of thought
        2. continuous track
        3. comedy beat
        4. derailment
        5. ride a laugh
  5. sitcoms
    1. how to get on a sitcom?


author's intention

list of styles

study a script


Funny is suffering.


     Comedy is an extreme.

     All comedy is based on:


     Audience wants to see people with bigger problems.


     Comedy played well is desperation.

     Don't rehearse things to do, feel-think-do technique will come up with things to do.

     When approaching drama and comedy you must interest the audience right off. Dynamic. Even in comedy, you have to have something grab the audience. Audience wants to see suffering. "Yes, I have been there", a world for audience to come into.


     Be serious actors who want to do comedy.

     The humanity of Comedy:

     Comedy is not clowning, comedy is doing preposterous things for the wrong reasons. That is what comedy is.

     Don't look for individual things, look for basic joke.

     Tragic human beings.
     Make it all happen in heightened reality.
     What is human dilemma?
     What is normal, do opposite of normal.
     Weird but have reality of it.
     We laugh at danger, but we don't laugh if you  hurt yourself.

     Audience is expecting a comedy.

     You can't play comedy unless you know drama.

      Comedy and drama both build on difficulty.


     Learn comedy, it's half an actor's work.

     Play comedy:

one man straight man, one funny man.

     The character doesn't know he is in a comedy.

your character must suffer. Comedy is someone else's tragedy.
actor is in a state of mischief, find what is funny.
opposites is the whole basis of comedy.
still has to have combat where the situation is funny.
no matter how kooky, must have a basis in reality.
secret of comedy, like drama, is difficulty.

     Wait long enough and all tragedy will turn into comedy.

     There are a lot of funny people in the movies and on the stage, but there are very few people who are human funny. And when they're human funny, they are twice as good as anybody else.


     Comedy requires technique.

     Approach comedy: a. bat out of hell      Like going to a party.
b. chase the train
c. no meaningless pauses
d. rattle,
e. rattle
f. beat
g. joke

     In comedy never be crazy if you don't know why.

     Essence of all comedy; you need to find the underlying basic joke throughout.


     Comedy is a science.

    First start with characters:

Who are they?

     And add in comedy; What is the underlying joke?

What do they feel?
What do they want?
  1. A person who the audience recognizes. Someone has to be the straight man. Laurel and Hardy always had someone watching.
  2. A point of view, the way it is twisted. Comedic point of view. Think what was funny. Comedic of difficulty.
  3. A scene is a contest.
  4. A whole series of inventions, like a string of beads.
  5. Actor is in state of mischief.
  6. Actor must have heart.
  7. If actor puts finger in mouth, make sure you do it funny.
  8. All acting has to be larger than life.
  9. All comedy is based on suffering.
  10. All comedy set-up: some are the clowns and the square is the identification of audience.
  11. All facet of comedy is up front: bright lights, fast, main thrust to amuse. Everything is out. Character suffers.
  12. Amuse people.
  13. Amuse the audience.
  14. Anything not the norm. Away from convention.
  15. Attitude makes it work and they have to be opposites.
  16. Audience has to identify with him. What is her attitude toward him? To increase his difficulty, she has to look at him; come on be real.
  17. Audience identification of characters; it ain't just funny.
  18. Basis of comedy is credibility. (People need to belong together).
  19. Basis of humor: audience wants to see people with bigger problems.
  20. Be aware the intention to amuse. Elements of humor.
  21. Be clean.
  22. Be in middle of activity.
  23. Be on humanity.
  24. Be real and get rid of cute.
  25. Be specific.
  26. Best comedy is laid back comedy.
  27. Bigger emotions.
  28. (Both actors were aware that they were in a comedy. They were kidding their characters). Don't make fun of character.
  29. Can be funny and real.
  30. Can I play comedy?
  31. Can't both be clowns. Audience identification is straight man. The other is the clown.
  32. Can't play jokes, comedy is not light.
  33. Character is out of control, not actor.
  34. Characters can be complicated. Very full characters.
  35. Clear makes a point.
  36. Clear with words.
  37. Comedy change your concept: Dilemma greater. Don't play humor of dialogue. Approach to the manhole.
  38. Comedy comes out of difficulty.
  39. Comedy has a basic joke. Tie it to the audience. Away from norm.
  40. Comedy has something pathetic, heartbreaking.
  41. Comedy has to be personal, a disaster, gets worse, and compounded.
  42. Comedy has to be reaction, just not dialogue.
  43. Comedy has to be seen.
  44. Comedy is an extreme.
  45. Comedy is a fine line, very minute. Extra things kill it.
  46. Comedy is a science, know the science and it will work.
  47. Comedy is a science, you must learn the science.
  48. Comedy is a science: first start with characters; who are they?, what do they feel?, and what do they want? And add in comedy; what is the underlying joke.
  49. Comedy is about suffering, not just funny things.
  50. Comedy is all opposites of what your say.
  51. Comedy is based on opposites.
  52. Comedy is broad, bordering on farce.
  53. Comedy is delicacy.
  54. Comedy is difficulty, farce is even more.
  55. Comedy is exact.
  56. Comedy is misery.
  57. Comedy is not a light matter, highly emotional, more emotional about trivial things, don't approach with minimum.
  58. Comedy is not a light matter. Emotions are bigger even than drama. Create difficulty.
  59. Comedy is on frantic things.
  60. Comedy is opposites, don't get logical.
  61. Comedy is progression.
  62. Comedy is pulling the rug from out under the audience.
  63. Comedy is serious work.
  64. Comedy is someone else's tragedy. Don't do shtick.
  65. Comedy is to amuse, not to be crazy.
  66. Comedy must be funny to look at.
  67. Comedy must have counterpoints.
  68. Comedy must have pathos.
  69. Comedy of any kind, find opposites. Comedy is never literal. Got to be stylized. Directors responsibility to stylize. Find the craziness. This is kooky, how do I make it kooky. Director think as a chief, what am I making? Beef and potatoes.
  70. Comedy of manner. Humor of play is based on one segment of society... adolescence, upper class England, etc.
  71. Comedy on organization, it has to be planned.
  72. Comedy precision with the jokes.
  73. Comedy timing, the truth behind comedy.
  74. Comic; audience demand actors to suffer. Grand opera. Catastrophe is the secret.
  75. Constant reminders of reality in the weirdness.
  76. Control audience.
  77. Control yourself, don't do unneeded movement.
  78. Cry funny.
  79. Dealing with an insane society.
  80. Difficulty is what comedy is about.
  81. Do it for real with the character, you will get laughs, not just busy.
  82. Do not look ridiculous. There has to be straight people. All clowns there is nothing. Someone the clown, someone the square. Don't play a clown, but play a human. Bases of comedy is sadness.
  83. Do what the playwright wrote, not a comedy sketch. 
  84. Doing farce; you must know the joke, exactly where you want audience to laugh, know shape of the scene. Comedy is an exact science.
  85. Doing things that are obvious is wrong.
  86. Don't walk on dialogue.
  87. Don't clown around at being stupid or both having fun.
  88. Don't clown through farce.
  89. Don't do shtick.
  90. Don't do to many things at once.
  91. Don't get acrobatic to be funny.
  92. Don't go for chuckles all the time, because audience may laugh but not leave liking it. Go for the big laughs once in awhile. Do not stay with the same rhythm throughout.
  93. Don't go for only the laughs, but the plight of human beings. Human dilemma.
  94. Don't go narrative line, that's how to approach drama.
  95. Don't go over board with physical stuff.
  96. Don't look for laughs. (waking up has to be real)
  97. Don't make everything important. Don't make everything the same.
  98. Don't play funny. Must be serious about it. Believe in it. Can not kid it.
  99. Don't put audience on guard, warm them up. Creep up on audience, be real.
  100. Don't sit and wait for dialogue.
  101. Don't try an act funny.
  102. Don't turn to cartoon, you have no where to go.
  103. Don't use characters as clowns. Don't sacrifice. What makes it funny?
  104. Don't worry to over act.
  105. Dream up joke, frame it, specific action.
  106. Each joke has to be framed.
  107. Each person thinks the other has a better time than they have.
  108. Each person thinks the other is a moron.
  109. Element: set tone of scene, let audience know that they are to laugh.
  110. Every line is clearly stated, no matter how frantic. Slower, clearer.
  111. Everything is off the wall.
  112. Everything is up front.
  113. Exactly sure where jokes are. Audience made to laugh.
  114. Farce is all backwards, all crazy.
  115. Farce is life turned upside down. What is norm, then don't do it.
  116. Farce: problem is each thing was done mechanically. You have to make it real.
  117. Find out the line, what is it about?
  118. Find out what is under the material. Why? why?
  119. Find the funny in it.
  120. Find the humor in: short pants, etc.
  121. Find the middle ground anchored in reality.
  122. Find the moments to sacrifice the humor for reality.
  123. Find the  opposites.
  124. Find the truth under the farce.
  125. Find what is funny. What's normal, don't do it.
  126. Finding the humor.
  127. First problem: don't try to be funny at start.
  128. Frame the jokes. If you don't play the jokes right, they will back fire.
  129. Framing, reacting, timing.
  130. Funnier by making more real.
  131. Funny and creditable.
  132. Funny is serious.
  133. Get factual. Don't punch anything until something ridiculous. Beat before you want them to laugh.
  134. Get the value, effortless.
  135. Getting the right laughs, not how many laughs, is what counts.
  136. Go for believability, someone audience can identify with: (she is out of her depth).
  137. Go for reality, then go for funny.
  138. Going to be funny, you first have to be credible.
  139. Has nothing to do with normal behavior, framing jokes, high energy. Can't keep moving around, don't move on every line, so they can set up shots. Stay together for awhile. Cut down on movement to different places. Close up, they want faces on TV.
  140. Has to be funny to watch. Don't play radio. It's behavior, that is what is funny.
  141. In comedy turn on your lights. Fill the theater with personality. Last thing you want to be is natural. Natural is not entertaining. Must be theatrical.
  142. Heighten something, make intense.
  143. Heighten the words, simple principle.
  144. High state of behavior, heighten the emotion "the tickle".
  145. How is the scene to amuse them, can't use belligerent.
  146. How to frame the laughs?
  147. How to play comedy?
  148. How to play funny?
  149. Huge pain.
  150. Human dilemma.
  151. Humanity.
  152. Humanize, find what is real.
  153. Humor comes out of difficulty.
  154. Humor is total derailment.
  155. If everyone is hilarious, nothing is hilarious.
  156. If everything is funny, nothing is funny, you will wear audience out.
  157. Important things: One; derailment. Two; clean up joke.
  158. In comedy, find the most emotional problem, (Gleason is an enormous emotional bus driver), carry it to extremes.
  159. In comedy find out what is under the material.
  160. In comedy have instinct; refine and be precise.
  161. In comedy know skill, it can't be sloppy but precise.
  162. In comedy people can react to things together, but not in drama.
  163. In comedy someone must carry scene.
  164. In comedy you have to suffer.
  165. In comedy, the minute you start to make fun of your character it dies, it goes out the window.
  166. In comedy both can move.
  167. In comedy we want people to suffer (Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock, etc.)
  168. In drama there can be a good deal of comedy.
  169. Isn't just shtick.
  170. It's where the pie lands.
  171. Jewish quality: no end to what you've done wrong.
  172. Just don't say lines.
  173. Keep it light and funny.
  174. Key to comedy is to have difficulty like in drama, but even greater. The greater the difficulty, the funnier (the man is delicate).
  175. Key to comedy: people have to laugh and amused.
  176. Know skill, it can't be sloppy, but precise. Work clean don't muddle it up.
  177. Laurel and Hardy goofy, but basis in reality.
  178. Lay out the funny joke.
  179. Lay the groundwork from where you are going. Don't yell at start.
  180. Literal interpretation. Must do showmanship. Cardinal sin: boredom. Give audience a circus.
  181. Look for opposites.
  182. Look for the unexpected.
  183. Louder and funnier. Whatever their problem, it has to be huge.
  184. Main thrust is funny.
  185. Main thrust is to amuse.
  186. Make certain things heighten.
  187. Make it all happen in heightened reality.
  188. Make the jokes play off each other.
  189. Make the two people real.
  190. Misinformation.
  191. Must be weird to look at.
  192. Mystery like comedy has derailment.
  193. Never be crazy, if you don't know why.
  194. No joke unless you react.
  195. Not a vaudeville, joke on joke.
  196. Not who throws the pie, but where it lands.
  197. Actor has to make the right choices. For director it is casting.
  198. In comedy, it is OK to just give audience a pang. Not to have them crying.
  199. Organized chaos.
  200. Orchestrate toward the joke.
  201. Outrageous and funny.
  202. People are afraid to be ridiculous.
  203. Plan a prank on audience, it can't look planned.
  204. Planning before being the other person, then don't plan when you start doing.
  205. Comedy is someone else's tragedy.
  206. Play for reactions and do reactions.
  207. Play great comedy; deeply funny. 
  208. Play person who has feelings.
  209. Playing kooky people real.
  210. Playoff what other actor is doing.
  211. Reaction to jokes. Comedy has a straight man and comic. Comic is the one who generates. Straight man gets pie in face.
  212. Rediscover the same things.
  213. Relate in a humorous way.
  214. Riding the laugh.
  215. Rule in comedy: rule of threes, third time is of variation. Also in drama.
  216. Rules of opposites.
  217. Sane: we are all neurotic, different levels. Only use "two emotions" principle with insane, not with neurotic.
  218. Scene is suffering.
  219. Scene was not personal.
  220. Secret of all comedy is difficulty, suffer. Comedy is the tragic clown.
  221. Secret of comedy like drama is difficulty.
  222. See the courage of the person, see the humor.
  223. See the world cockeyed.
  224. Sense of the ridiculous.
  225. Sensitive, beautifully sad funny.
  226. Show me the madness; basis for comedy.
  227. So have history between people. Real people.
  228. Start normal, lead into madness.
  229. Start with everything real, instead of starting with everything funny. Who am I? What's going on? Where am I? Solving all the problems of reality. Real people then heighten.
  230. Start with something actual (Doctor just wants to get the work done).
  231. Stay consistent to style, play that last moment to the hilt.
  232. Stop acting funny, it is serious work.
  233. Suffer with variation.
  234. Suffering.
  235. Take an emotion and make it big without strain.
  236. Take time to let audience response (Oh shit, what's going to happen now?)
  237. Technically comedy is a science.
  238. The character doesn't know he is in a comedy.
  239. The comedy... (he thinks he is as dignified as a banker).
  240. The humanity of it.
  241. The marriage joke: blaming each other, each one talking to an idiot.
  242. The people are suffering. Start out tranquil, chaos has to grow.
  243. The scene is a scene of suffering. When you approach comedy look for the pain in it. Always look for the pain.
  244. The secret of comedy is precision.
  245. The skill of comedy: string of words, then find the beat.
  246. The unusual is what it's about, not just beautiful.
  247. The whole key of comedy is suffering.
  248. There are a lot of funny people in the movies and on the stage, but there are very few people who are human funny. And when they're human funny, they are twice as good as anybody else.
  249. There has to be a difference. He is the funny person, she is a square.
  250. Think of the other person as retarded and deaf.
  251. To amuse, not be be crazy.
  252. To find what is funny underneath, just not funny faces.
  253. Track has to be continuous.
  254. Tragic human beings.
  255. Try to find all the beats.
  256. Understand every single word: must be understood in comedy. Comedy is clarity; skill, timing. is clarity; skill, timing. is clarity; skill, timing. Comedy is technique.
  257. Understanding of humor: lesson in using body, sense of gesture, some are funny and others aren't.
  258. Unless you suffer it's not going to work for scene.
  259. Want them to laugh here, mark it. If the audience doesn't, why not?
  260. Watching other people suffer.
  261. Watching ourselves. Sad funny; Jewish humor.
  262. We laugh at danger, but we don't laugh if you can hurt yourself.
  263. Weird but have reality of it.
  264. What is funny about scene?
  265. What is human dilemma?
  266. What is normal, do opposite.
  267. What is comic material? Why is it funny? Look for the basic joke. There are no new jokes.
  268. What is the pain? (to prove myself by setting a perfect table).
  269. What is the reality of this? (what kind of doctor am I)
  270. What makes it funny: what attitude, it has to be thought through; actor in state of mischief.
  271. What works, skills of comedy, nothing has changed over the centuries.
  272. When people do things in unison, it's funny, that is why you avoid it in drama.
  273. Where are the jokes, then frame them.
  274. Where are the jokes?
  275. Work clean.
  276. Work on exact timing.
  277. Work out steps in farce.
  278. Working clean: do everything in specific order.
  279. You can do funny things as long as you suffer.
  280. You have to know where the laughs are and then define them. Comedian has to decide where laugh is. Leave time for laugh. Know in your planning the big ones, normal ones, chuckles, etc.

"In the end, it can't look like acting."