The other night I went to see Gran Torino with a couple friends. How is that possible? Did the staff hand us all white hoodies as we entered the theater? We laughed because the comments were way over the top and continual, being uttered by guy who was unbelievably clueless. And the writers knew that was the only way they could breach the subject, effectively.
They had to make us laugh. If they held the reins back it would have been too uncomfortable for the audience to deal with the subject matter. The writers of Gran Torino made use of one of the seven reasons to use humor in a work that is not a comedy. No matter what your work, there should be elements of humor, typically for one of seven reasons:.
Humor is often the only vehicle to address such topics. Think about how many sit-coms breach difficult subject matters before anyone else- Roseanne a woman kissing another woman , Ellen being a lesbian , Seinfeld masturbation and being gay. Humor does that outside comedies, such as in Gran Torino. When things start to get too heavy or overwhelming, throw in a little humor to release the tension; a lot of the classics do this.
Lots of films make great use of this, too, ranging from Casablanca to Die Hard. The project would lose you. Humor keeps you engaged. In I Am Legend , there are spatters of humorous moments both in the book and film versions-it was adapted into a film three times.
People joke all the time, even in the most serious situations. When my father died, my younger sister and I found some alone time with each other unbearable.
I broke the tension by reminding her of something funny our dad used to do; she countered with another thing. Soon we were reminiscing and laughing about his quirks and funny incidents involving him.
If you want your characters to ring true-to-life, you need to splash some humor on them. Most people are not cardboard cutouts; they are multi-dimensional. Humor is a quick, effective way to illustrate such. Humorous remarks or incidents tend to happen near the end of a chapter or long scene. What lines do you remember from books, stories, and movies? What lines do people quote over and over? Is it the long, drawn out serious ones or the short, funny, witty quips?
Do these lines sound familiar? When quoted by people, they are referenced in a humorous manner. Humor goes a long way to making a short phrase memorable… and you want your stuff to be memorable.
One last thing to keep in mind: Perhaps a very serious character steps into a puddle while chastising someone and so forth. Make your writing real and captivating by incorporating humor, no matter what the subject matter.
Ian Coburn is the author of the bestseller God is a Woman: Dating Disasters , which re-lives his dating and sexual misadventures as a ten-year touring comedian. Become a Top Blogger.More...