How to Write a Sketch Comedy
Ever thought you could write write a comedy sketch as good as the next guy? Writing razor-sharp dialogue may not be as easy as it looks. Good comedy sketch writers observe their surroundings to learn what's funny and understand why.
Draw Inspiration from Others
Watch and read as many comedy sketches as you can from masters such as Mel Brooks, the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and Monty Python. You'll learn what's funny and see what's been done before.
Dissect what you found funny about a certain sketch and why it worked for you. Talk to others about what worked for them.
Bounce ideas off people around you, or brainstorm with a group.
Write down anything that makes you laugh or smile for a week, then pick the best three ideas from your list.
Start one page for each idea and write the title at the top.
Jot down words, connections or anything you can think of for each subject until your three pages are full. Begin your draft by writing on the subject that had the most ideas.
Start the Writing Process
Select an original setting for your sketch, not the obvious. Choose only one location.
Work backwards. Start with the punch line at the ending and work out how to get there.
Limit the characters to a maximum of three.
Write enough so that you have about two minutes' worth of material. There should be a big laugh approximately every 15 seconds of the sketch.
Describe the action in detail, and give your characters real names to help with the creative process.
Try Well-Loved Comedy Formats
Escalate an idea by starting off small and ending in chaos.
Juxtapose new with old, big with small, rich with poor.
Place your characters in dangerous or improbable situations.
Play with language, lists or funny-sounding words.
- Don't forget to edit your work. Look at it the next day. If it's not as funny, punch it up, but don't waste time rescuing an idea that just isn't that funny.