Comedy writing can be a profitable occupation, and talented writers are needed in the world of comedy. The first step towards becoming a comedy writer is to decide exactly which form of comedy writing to choose.
A comedy writing career could include any or all of the following:
• Writing monologues for stand-up comedians and solo performers
• Writing short comedy sketches
• Working on TV scripts
• Writing a full length novel or a screenplay
Comedians who do stand-up usually write their own material. A comedy stand-up routine can be based around real life funny incidents, it could be a satirical look at the news, or a humorous view of things we all do. A comedy routine can also be deliberately controversial.
There are always some celebrities and presenters who require funny observations and jokes to be written for them. A talk show host might use a scripted opening monologue, or a celebrity hosting an award ceremony might follow a script full of funny introductions.
A comedy writer can try submitting a few quips and funny material directly to a production company, with a particular performer in mind, but the outcome might be just another rejection letter, or no response at all.
One way to get established as a comedy writer is to set up a service as a ghost writer and offer to write funny monologues for clients. A client could be anyone who has been asked to make a speech in public; a business leader, a best man, or an after dinner speaker.
In addition to marketing a ghost-writing service, sample speeches and testimonials will be needed.
Most comedy sketch shows require a number of writers, either working together or individually, to produce short sketches that will get plenty of laughs. Sketch writing involved witty dialogue, or a send-up of someone who has recently been in the news.
Finding suitable subjects for sketch writing should not be difficult. A typical idea would be to place a pompous character in a ridiculous situation, or to create an absurd encounter that leads to confusion and misunderstanding.
Many successful TV comedy shows and sitcoms use a team of writers. It is not an easy job to get into, without knowing the right people and having some scriptwriting knowledge.
The ability to write witty dialogue would be a basic requirement. A comedy writer could also submit ideas for comic situations, which could lead into writing a sitcom series.
Successful comedy movies are usually written as vehicles for well-known comedy performers or comic actors. A movie production company contemplating a new comedy will usually commission a writer known for producing funny scripts.
Hollywood producers are unlikely to accept a script from an unknown comedy writer. They are much more likely to consider a script that has been submitted through an agent.
Novels that are categorized as humor can be highly successful, if they are well crafted. Good novels are character-based, and comedy scenes can be written by placing characters in sticky situations and creating moments of embarrassment.
Incongruity and ridicule in a novel can cause a reader to laugh out loud, even if the characters are not particularly stupid. Witty dialogue can also be employed by a comedy fiction writer.
There is plenty of scope in comedy writing and it is important for a writer to consider which might be the most appropriate form of comedy to try and break into. It is even possible to start by writing monologues and progress through sketch writing, TV scriptwriting and movie screenwriting. It is also possible to start by writing a best selling comedy novel.