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21 January 2023

Posted by Holly Spillar

Comedy Writing

COMEDY WRITING (21st Jan 2023)

Today’s sessions were all about comedy and as comedy is my favorite thing to write, this week I lead the sessions with a workshop I call HOW TO MAKE YOUR MUNDANE LIFE INTERESTING.

Comedy can often come from the most boring parts of our lives because the more simple and boring an activity is, the more likely your audience will be able to relate to it.

Step 1. The writers had to make a list of all the boring things they had done this week and choose one.

Step 2. They had to write out the instructions of that thing as a list.

E.g. I plug in the toaster, I flick the switch, I open the cupboard, I get the bread etc…

Step 3.

The Junior writers had to go through their list and think of silly alternative names for the words they were using (inspired by Dr Seuss). ‘Little Brother George’ became Brotherzilla, socks becomes fuzz tubes, pillow became snooze square. 

The Young Writers had to make a spider diagram of anything remotely interesting centered around the steps of those tasks. E.g. I plug in the toaster: it sparks, the cable is too short, the switch is too stiff, my hands are sticky and I leave fingerprints etc.

Step 4:

The Junior Writers had to write their boring story using the silly words to make it fun and interesting. It had to have a simple beginning and middle and an end, so the words became the fun part. 

The Young Writers had to get into pairs and tell the story of their boring task to their friend out loud. This would give them more confidence in their storytelling and also more of an idea of how to write stand up that felt conversational.

They then watched a clip of James Acaster talking about Oven Gloves and his annoying housemate. 

Step 5.

Now the Junior Writers had their story they had to draw and name a silly character who they could imagine telling their story and speaking in the goofy made up language.

After watching the clip the Young Writers had to tell their stories in pairs again but this time at any point their partners could interrupt them by saying ‘BUT IT’S NOT ABOUT THAT THOUGH IS IT?’ to which they would have to change the subject and reveal a made up deeper meaning behind their boring story e.g. maybe they weren't mad at the toaster but actually mad at their boyfriend Carl who smells like toast.

After telling their stories in pairs again the Young writers had some time to write and rehearse their stand up. At the end of the session of them even stood up and performed and Rohan and I were so impressed with their confidence and ability to entertain an audience with such clever, relatable stories that made everyone laugh.


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