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COMEDY - part three - You take the good, you take the bad...

Banes at 12:00AM, April 27, 2017

Comedic Characters - You Take the Good, you Take the Bad…

This week we continue talking comedy. Last time we started creating characters by choosing a “STRONG COMIC PERSPECTIVE”…like greed, innocence, obseque–obquestri–obteq– uh, weasellishness, and then EXAGGERATING that perspective to the extreme.

Now we finish creating our characters by giving them specific FLAWS, and then HUMANITY


In the philosophy of the book I stole these ideas from, (The Comic Toolbox“ by John Vorhaus), flaws are what separate the character from the audience and allow us to laugh at the character. I've always heard that flaws make characters more relatable or believable. I guess both outlooks could have some truth.

Anyway, the idea is that we give our comedic people flaws, which allows the audience to feel comfortable in saying ”that's not me,“ and gives them enough distance to laugh at them.

In fact, you could look at it this way: Flaws, and the expression of those flaws, is what makes us laugh in the first place. And the more flaws a character has, the more ways that character has to amuse us.

The stew of flaws that define George Costanza, one of the great comedic characters of all time, means he brings his problems on himself. But even a ”nicer" character, say, Joey from Friends, allow us to laugh at him and feel that, as dumb as we might be at times, we ain't THAT dumb!

Flaws can be connected to a character's Comic Perspective (Scrooge is a penny pincher; his flaws of selfishness and greed obviously are connected to that perspective). But Joey's gluttony and womanizing are flaws added to his Perspective of childish appetites.

Give your characters flaws!


Qualities of “Humanity” are positive qualities that help us relate to a character and make them universal…or likable. They are honest. Or attractive. Or loyal. Or kind. They have something in them that's worth rooting for and caring about.

Of course, some characters can be funny, but have seemingly little goodness in them. That can work too! But it can run the risk of having the audience tune out after a while. It's at least something to strongly consider, including these positive human qualities.

Next time let's talk about Story Structure, specifically as regards comedies.

See you next time!




Banes at 10:26AM, April 27, 2017

Thanks, youse ! I loved Johnny Bravo! Freakin hysterical, and I've seen his stories ripped off pretty regularly

KimLuster at 6:29AM, April 27, 2017

Ahhh George, I miss you, you evil dumpy crackpot!! Flaws... Not sure this is related, but when it comes to events and happenings, it's the ones where everything goes wrong (rain at a wedding, ran out of gas on a long trip...) that are the most memorable! They're the ones we talk about later... I think character Flaws may be similar - they're what makes a character 'stick'. I love Johnny Bravo cartoons!! Not matter what happens, Johnny never, ever "Get's it!" - and he'll always be unforgettable because of it!!

Ozoneocean at 3:31AM, April 27, 2017

Very well said. George was a fantastic character! The "humanity" point reminds me of Jason's other great comedy character "Duckman". He was a lot less likeable than George, but just as funny. Just when you'd start to tune out over his nastiness though they'd real you back in by giving him some humanity, making him care for Ajax or his horrible twins, or even Bernice, his nasty sister-in-law.

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