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Comedy Script Writing

Comedy Writing

When you write for comedy, you should never try to be funny. Trying too hard is always visible, and in comedy, it might make the jokes and the characters unbelievable. The “funny” stuff should arise from the situations, the characters, and the story itself. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to sharpen up your comedy abilities. If you’ll want to learn more about comedy script writing, check the scriptwriting course at WritersStore Sale Items.

Find your own taste in comedy

To be good at comedy writing you need to find your own writing voice and your type of favorite comedy. There are many types of comedies out there. There are:

  • Goofy comedies like Office Space or Old School
  • Romantic comedies like Chasing Amy and the classic When Harry Met Sally
  • Dramatic comedies like Harold and Maude and The King of comedy
  • Action comedy such as Beverly Hills Cop and Pineapple express

There are also Slapstick, parody or spoof film, Black comedies, Gross-out films And screwball comedies so find out what are the ones that you want to do.

I recommend reading my post on finding your own voice, but there is another fun exercise you can do to find your own type of humor:

Listen to your favorite comedians and watch your favorite comedy films, listen to the jokes and write down those that really makes you fall down from your chair. Now, look at these jokes and find out what they all got in common. Start to become aware of what makes you laugh.

Even in comedy writing – Build a good story

When you have a good story the jokes won’t be forced. Writing a good story is essential for comedy.  Pay attention to the 3 act structure of the story and to the characters. If you are having problems with writing a good story, find a writing partner that is good at this and work with him.

Writing with a partner will work also when you write a good story, but having trouble making it funny.

Build funny characters

Even in comedy writing. good funny characters are 3D characters. I recommend reading my post on writing a good character, but also check out comedy films from different countries. You will find out that every country has its own character type that works best for them. For example, the British love dumb characters, while the Americans like a protagonist that keep on fighting in a crazy world.

You will find out that every country has its own character type that works best for them. For example, the British love dumb characters, while the Americans like a protagonist that keep on fighting in a crazy world.

Also, notice the job of every character in a joke. Some characters are there to comment on the protagonist’s actions. Sometimes a joke might won’t work without a good reaction from a secondary character.

In this scene from the Love Guru, Steven Colbert explains the Five hole trape. The scene wouldn’t be as funny without the reactions of Jim Gaffigan


Know your audience

Who are your audience and what are they expecting. It is very important to know your audience and to find a way you can reach them. You may like writing American humor, but if that kind of humor doesn’t work in your country, you need to find a way to make it work for them.

Writing the punchline

Many writers have problems with the punchline or funny ending for a sketch or a scene. Many writers try to start from the punchline and develop the funny situation out of it. Others like to start with a specific setup and then to try 10 different punchlines. You should do what works best for you, but I recommend starting from what is important. If it’s the setup then start with the setup and if it’s the punchline then start with it.

Surprise the audience

The element of surprise is a very basic element  in comedy. Taking the audience expectations and turning them around is what makes every punchline work. The characters should share the audience expectations too. The bigger the gap is between the character’s expectations and the true result of the situation, the funnier it will be. Also, make sure your jokes haven’t been done a thousand times before.Be original!

Find locations with potential to be funny

If you find a good location, jokes will come with them. Go through your script and see which scenes can be done in a more interesting location and think about all the funny situations you can draw out from it. Also, think about the props that every location can offer and what you can do with them.

being creative

Your first tool as a comedy writer is your imagination. Being creative is important if you want to surprise your audience. You have to create as many jokes as possible with the characters, props, and locations you have. Look at the objects around you and train your mind to find funny situations that relate to them. Observe really interesting people that you think might be great to build characters from. Maybe it is one element about them that interest you. Write everything down in a little notebook. Observe and ask yourself what would happen if…?

Bob Newhart once said that a comedian can never have a vacation because he is always observing at everything around him. That is basically the comedian’s job and the same for the comedy writer.

That is basically the comedian’s job and the same for the comedy writer.

Writing with a partner

When you’ll look at the credits in most of the comedy films out there, you will see that most comedies has a few script writers. Writing with a partner is not always easy and fun as it may sound, but in comedy writing it is very recommended. When you write with others, you get to see live reactions for your ideas and jokes. When working with a partner on comedy, it is recommended to find someone with the expertises you are missing, so he’ll complete you and won’t go against you. As in love & marriage, when you find your partner, make sure it will be someone you will love to work with and that it will be easy to divorce from if needed.

Fixing the script

Mel Brooks once said that writing is all about re-writing. When you work on the second draft of a scene or a full script, read the dialogue out loud and see how they sound. With comedy, the text is not enough, they should be acted funny as well. Pay attention to the rhythm of the lines. Sometimes simply moving an adverb can make all the work or simply changing one word (Is Pepsy is funnier word than Cola?)Read it also to others and see their reaction.

Script Writing – The Screenwriter’s Requirements

Do You Have what It Takes To Become A screenwriter?

There are many techniques, tips and tricks that I will talk about them later on in the scriptwriting section, but before that, I think you should look inside yourself and see if you really have what it takes to become a professional screenwriter. Looking at all the writers who really succeeded, one can see a number of common features to all. I will try to review some of them here

Creativity and originality in script writing

Script writing is all about being original and creative. Now I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel here. Take Pulp Fiction or Memento, for example, They both tell a pretty simple story- Memento is an ex-insurance investigator who tries to find his wife’s murderer and Pulp fiction is about two hitmen trying to get a stolen bag back to their boss. In both cases, the stories are not that original, but the way the stories are told- the structure of those films, the characters, and the dialogs are very original.

As a beginner screenwriters, though, it is important to be original and stand out. I will write about inspiration and creativity later on in the blog, but the crucial thing to understand is that you have to be affected by life and not TV or the other movies you’ve seen. You can not know from where inspiration will come, so you should be ready all the time. It will also help greatly if you surround yourself with creative people but, on the other hand, don’t be too affected by them too. Allow yourself to be alone from time to time and figure out what you have to say to the world.
Click here to read about finding your own voice

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’
But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?”
George Bernard Shaw

Flexibility with the script writing

Script writing is not an art that stands on it’s on. A film is produced by a very large group of people and lots of money is invested. You will be required to be flexible and compromise with your story. Of course, you do not have to sell your soul to the devil so fast, but know how to balance with what the producers want and what you want. I recommend reading the Make low budget film article to understand what the producer look at in the script when he plans the budget.

Commitment to your script

The main thing to remember in script writing is – Do not give up no matter what! When You start working on your first script, it will be something like this – you sit in front of the blank page in a notebook or on a computer and just stare at it. It could be an hour, two hours or a full day. You do it every day. Never Give Up. Take a notebook everywhere you write down scenes in every spare moment you got. If carrying a notebook is too heavy for you, I recommend using an app called celtx script – Celtx Inc. It’s a great app that many screenwriters are using. The app allows you to be able to work on your script anytime and anywhere. The app also helps you to write formatted scripts right away and to share it with your partners.
Even when you finish writing the script, you will still be required to do many rewrites. Keep doing that until you have something that you, the director, and the producer are happy with.

Courage to be in the business of scriptwriting

If you really believe you can make a living, only from your brain, so either you crazy or you have great courage. This script writing business is something very hard to do in the evenings after work (although that is not impossible). If you’re committed to the script, you’ll have to sit on it for days and that means no day job. It is important to ask yourself, are you really able to do it.


Know how to speak

It’s kind of sucks, but you will need to know how to sell yourself and your script. There is a thing called Pitch – the scriptwriter has something like a minute and a half to present his story to producers and to convince them that he is the person to tell this story. We will deal with this issue later on in the scriptwriting section of the blog, although I think it’s the least important things. At least not as important as knowing to write.

Knowing how to  look

To be good writers, you should turn off your autopilot and start to be present. Start paying attention to what is happening around you and start asking questions about what is happening. Stop hanging out with headphones in your ears and listen to the conversation around you and ask questions about what you see- what this guy story? Why this mother yells at her children in the mall? What’s her problem? Take a small notebook and write anything interesting you see, even if at the moment it does not look like something suitable for the film.

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Be Able to accept criticism

Perhaps the hardest part of the profession of script writing is the criticism. You worked on the scene all night. Suddenly there was a breakthrough, you ask a friend to read it and he doesn’t understand what you wrote. The trick is to know who to listen to and how. If a friend did not like the script, you do not have to run out immediately and change everything. Try to figure out what it is he did not like and most importantly, show the script to more people and see whether they think the same way. Be open minded to new ideas when you get criticism on your script and don’t be stubborn, but also didn’t change the script just to fit to the others opinions.


If you do not have a strong need for writing, you might want to give up the idea. This script writing business is a very difficult process, which can cost many frustrations and anger. If you do not really need to do this, you should never start.  Writing is something that burns inside of you and you have to let it out. Most professional screenwriters say that, even when they are not working on a screenplay, they are writing every day. They just must. The most important thing in writing the screenplay for a movie is to love movies. Writing a screenplay is a process completely different from writing a novel. You have to really love the field of film and to know how to express yourself properly in this medium. Watch as many movies and read many scripts, to learn the tricks screenwriters made there. So now you see that you have everything you need, you can go in and start learning how you can write the script of your life.


Find/Develop Your Inner Voice – Creative Writing Tips and Exercise

How To Find Your Inner Voice


When writing a good movie script, it is important to be able to communicate with yourself so you can touch the audience. Creative writing is all about breaking the boundaries of the professional writing for the purpose of expressing your thoughts, emotions and feeling instead of just delivering information about something. It’s a tool you use in academic writing also.

There are many creative writing tips out there, but trust me, only if you’ll use what you really feel, it will help you stimulate senses in the audience that they were not aware of before. The first step of creative writing is finding your own voice.


When we talk about “finding” your voice, we really mean that you should develop your own voice.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”
Oscar Wilde

Like it or not, you have an artistic identity

To produce any kind of art, the artist must have something to say, a certain value,
a certain approach, some experience, and vision.

So here is the kicker:
In your life you’ve went through a number of events that affected you emotionally. They created your own voice. Finding your own voice will happen if you’ll have a real curiosity and a desire to understand the logic of things with the desire to solve them. You have to be realistic and to understand the events that have shaped you into who you are today.

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Before I’ll show you the exercise that will help you find your own voice, I want to emphasise that it is very important to write freely. Don’t think too much about rules and not even about your original idea when you started working on this film, just flow with whatever comes out and I promise your inner voice will come out

The Exercise that will find your voice

This is a very simple exercise that will change your script writing completely:
Try to think of five things you like the most,
five things you hate most,
five things you fear most,
five things you most believe in,
the five things you most appreciate
and five things you know best.
Try to think of five people who changed your life,
five discoveries that changed your life
and decisions that changed your life.

“A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.”
Barry Neil Kauffman  

For each category write at least 5 things. 10 If there is time. Try not to write general issues such as global warming or war. If something general like war appears again and again, try to understand what about war is it that makes you mad or fear. Vented this concept, understand what your relationship to these powerful emotions topics.

That’s it! A very simple but important exercise you must do before starting your writing career.

Recommended books for Creative Writing