Add to Technorati Favorites

Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

When clicking on an Alter Egos in the sidebar, please look above this title for video content.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Comedy and the Absurd - The Vaudeville of Writing

People sometimes bemoan the hapless form of the Marx Brothers in film - essentially they were bring a stage/vaudeville form to cinema. Clearly adaptations need to occur. The Brothers were hugely sucessful on stage. The attempt was to replicate this as much as possible for film. This was in the 'early' days of film remember.

Dead Beat is completely forgiving. Like Groucho he couldn't really stand the harp either. But like Groucho he understands that you need to give the audience time to allow their laughter to subside before the next onslaught. Highs and Lows - does this not sound like form to you?

Anyway Dead Beat is much more interested in the form of their comedy. This is where the goodies for us writers are kept.

This is the thing to remember: Comedy has form and structure.

Comedies have type characters. They begin in comic situations that develop in unconventional ways. In the case of the Marx Brothers the unconventional becomes 'wild', 'chaotic'. And we laugh.


Well there are three types of comedy: Farce, Romantic, and Satire.

The Marx Brothers are clearly in the former cagagory. Here we encounter zaniness, slapstick humour, hilarious improbability. The fantastic, the absurd, the ridiculous. Wild coincidences, twists and complications. Confusion abounds. Deception, mimicry, disguise and mistaken identity.

This latter point is of great interest to Dead Beat: Mistaken identity. Comedy questions identity, our identity just as great writers do in their works. Although it deals in stereotypes it uses these types to force us to recognise the absurd within us - the absurdity of life. Comedy is subversive and to be feared by the powerful.

Ignore its possibilities in your writing at your peril.

No comments: