Monday, February 09, 2009

Comedy Gold: Again

Today's edition of Comedy Gold is about a single word as the title indicates, and it will be utilizing an example from the work of The Kids in the Hall.

That word is again.

Now I know what you are saying? How can a single word be funny?

Again is like salt. Judiciously applied, it enhances the underlying flavors of whatever it is put in.

The circumstances I am thinking of rely almost exclusively on physical comedy either explicitly shown or as described by character. It isn't just seeing or hearing about something truly strange. It is the implication that the event that has or is currently occurring has happened before, making it funnier by extension.

Example: If a character walked into a room and found his friend with both his hands glued to his face, and then remarked that Chuck had gotten his hands stuck to his face again, it would make that scene funnier than it otherwise would have been.

Again also serves as an explanation when uttered by a second character. For instance, if one character encountered another hanging by his underpants from a coat hook in a public restroom and after a short pause said something like "You were talking to The Incredible Hulk's girlfriend again, weren't you?" There was a sketch on the third season of The Kids in the Hall involving a burglar and a guy in the shower which ends with a naked Bruce McCullough passed out on top of a fully clothed, knocked out Scott Thompson which had the punchline, "Gary, are you gay again?" which also utilizes this effect.

There is a third variation which also comes into play in some situations... mainly when there is espionage, heist schemes, assassination or general business involved. While in the middle of a weird or difficult task, a member of the team mentioned that it is like that incident. Example: After a particularly grim set of events that have a lot of black humor (as well as some odd funny coincidences), a jaded ex-CIA man who got roped back into doing one last job might say "It is the Picabo job all over again".

So as you can see, again in comedy has a lot of range, and its place in the arsenal of any comedy writer should not be forgotten.


Arjan said...

it sounds so plastic when you explain it like this. I think that's why I could never be a comedian who makes up his own jokes because when making it up it doesn't sound all that funny, but when performed it ís.

MC said...

Because I am trying to write that pilot, I've had to start breaking things down like that.