Understanding How Comedy Works

what are you laughing at…Which is, you know, kind of important if you’re writing it. Recently, several of TVWriter™’s comedy writing friends (industry biggies, baby!) independently recommended this book as well for fledgling humorists/writers to get a handle on what it is exactly that they’re supposed to be doing. So we thought we’d pass it on:

The book is called What Are You Laughing At? and it’s written by Dan O’Shannon, MODERN FAMILY producer who knows his away around the funny, as somebody who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons (but is otherwise a funny dood himself) has said to us. The Amazon description gets to the heart of the matter:

If you’re looking for a book that will teach you how to write comedy, we suggest you keep moving. You still have time to pick up a copy of Writing Big Yucks for Big Bucks before the store closes. However, if you want to understand the bigger picture — what is comedy, why do we respond to it the way we do — then you’ve come to the right place.

What Are You Laughing At? presents an entirely new approach to comedy theory. It challenges long-held beliefs and shows how the three main theories of comedy (incongruity, superiority, and relief) are not in conflict; but rather, work as parts of a larger model. There are many examples pulled from the author’s own experiences, writing for shows such as Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of just what happens when man meets comedy. It will change the way you hear laughter.

The theory of comedy! What could be more worthwhile? Check it out! (And no, TVWriter™ isn’t gonna get a pfennig if you click “Buy.” Not our style, gang, as you know.)