Monday, December 19, 2011

Comedy Rule of Three

I am currently in the throes of writing comedy sketches for our Valentine's Day Dessert Theatre. I'm talking about fast and furious one-liners, short jokes and short sketches. All comedy, all the time.

I enjoy writing humor and have done it for years. In fact, one of my humor pieces is in an actual book called "Laugh Your Shorts Off" - a collection of humor compiled by my good friend and humorist Margie Culbertson.

For years I've written comedy sketches for our drama troupe, the Sunnyside Players. And I own an arsenal of books on comedy writing, as well as books by comedy writers (Steve Martin, Woody Allen, etc.) I guess you could say I take comedy writing very seriously.

One of the fun things I've learned over the years is the Comedy Rule of Three. This rule works both on stage and in print (humor columnists use it all the time). In a typical gag you have the set up and the punch line. But the rule of three includes three elements. The first two set the pattern, and the third line breaks the pattern with an unexpected twist.

Examples:
My son is a gifted athlete. He plays football, basketball and checkers.

Coffee, tea, or me?

So what's for dinner?  Braised salmon, beef Wellington, or Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks.

Professor Hinkleman has assigned the reading list for this semester: War and Peace, The Grapes of Wrath and Poetry for Dummies.

Post some of your own. I'd love to read them!

5 comments:

Zelda said...

Okay, kids. What do you want for breakfast? Pancakes, cereal or fried chicken?

Luana said...

Zelda: LOL! Love it!

anthony stemke said...

Sometimes I eat pasta,soup and my own words.

Name: Luana Krause said...

Anthony: You're making me hungry...

Scott said...

A Rabbi, a Priest and a talk show host walked into a bar...