“The key element in any attempt at humor is conflict. Our brain is suddenly jolted into trying to accept something that is unacceptable. “
Stay with me for a minute, and you’re going to learn an awful lot about comedy writting.
Every once in a while some back up to a back up comes into a game and hits a home run. Even though he may not even be qualified to play by anyone’s assessment. The stars just align and pow. Right now there is a quarterback by the name of Flynn who is so bad he is sitting on the bench of the Green Bay Packers as a back up to a kid who was cut from three different teams and has only played two games. Flynn at one point was signed to a several million dollar contract because one glorious day…when the stars aligned he had the game of his life. He had such an amazing performance that the next season teams were throwing money at him. Was he actually that good or does he really stink bad enough to be where he is now? Yes and yes…for one shining day he actually did all that amazing football playing, and yes he actually really stinks. THE POINT HERE IS…sometimes someone has a all-star performance…performs at the highest level…even though they are not qualified. Even though it was a fluke…it did happen. Flynn played one of the greatest games you’ll ever see and no one can take that away or find reason why it should be looked over…even though when all is said and done he is not a good quarterback.
“what does this have to do with writing comedy?”
I’m getting to that. I tell you all that to give credibility to this cartoon (below), which was the funniest thing I have seen all week from professional, amateur, man, woman or beast. It is a religion vs atheism joke…but everybody turn off you’re little agendas and hurt feelings…we are focused on funny here period, end of story. So don’t just read the cartoon and try to post your opinion on religion because I have long since changed the setting here so you can’t post any comments on anything.
You want to be a good writer? Good writers see past what makes them mad or sad…and see all sorts of levels beyond that. They see the things consciously that the rest of the world only take in subconsciously .
Because of the base argument of it, this is a joke that for the most part, one side will find funny and the other will find stupid. The truth is…it is funny…very funny. I’ll tell you why,but first read it.
This made me out loud ( that’s not easy to do).
We can assume the author (whoever he is…I was unable to find out but will gladly give credit if someone knows). We can also safely assume it is in response to something that happened over the course of his/her day. If art imitates life then this is a home run because the annoyed backlash, knee jerk reaction to whatever happened just DRIPS OFF THE PAGE.
As best the author could do, he had the religious guy be clearly good-looking and the atheist ugly and creepy. BUT…and here is where he starts playing at a pro level. the Religious guy is wearing a cross! He added a subtle detail so we know right off that the ogre is trying to be insulting and not just talking to someone on the fence who may be swayed to atheism. You see how brilliant and IMPORTANT that little detail is? That cross is telling us more about the atheist than the religious guy! It tells us the religious guy is a true believer and that the atheist knows it and is being confrontational. The dialogue alone would not have driven that point home as well.
Make no mistake though…that dialogue is good. It’s ogreish…bad grammar, but not over the top bad and just enough of a base argument that we can all get what type of atheist the guy is.
The addition of the man boobs and open zipper…imply as much about the author as the character. As much as we see an ugly drawing, we see the authors aggravation and annoyance with whoever the character was based on. For me…seeing this frustration on the page is funny as hell. Who the hell is this author?! what is he supposed to be doing right now while he vents via photoshop? You can just about hear his internal dialogue as he draws it ” yeah…and some man boobs..OH and an open zipper! better add some color by his mouth so we know he has bad breath”. The author wanted to convey an event he went through from his perspective and he is doing it two ways…whether he meant to or not.
The second panel is where he really turns it up. We can plainly see here, he means to show the difference in lifestyles with a side by side comparison. But he didn’t ..not really…he just went full on “f*ck this guy”. The religious couple are smaller and were just scribbled down, then he slapped a heart and a cross above them. We get it, they are religious and in love. ALL the real effort in this panel went into mocking the other guy. Again…for me, realizing that this is in response to something…the author is religious…and is fed up…and doing ABOUT THE MOST UNCHRISTIAN THING HE’S PROBABLY CAPABLE OF! IT’S HYSTERICAL! The atheist meant to throw this guy off his religion…and HE DID! the whole cartoon really is a testament to the author falling off the “turn the other cheek” wagon! You know the old W.W.J.D.? Well I kinda doubt he’d draw a cartoon of someone with a crap stain on his pants in the second panel!
And as for the atheist…what did he spend his time doing?..talking about God! It was mutual destruction in a way.
But that’s a deeper layer of the “funny” onion. Lets back up again. The second panel is all about mocking this atheist guy. He’s drawn naked, gross sitting in front of a computer…masturbating…with a photo of Dawkins on the wall. Can you hear the internal dialogue again?! ” yeah…and he’s crying too! cry…cry at your computer with your dork in your hand while I go off with my wife and make out….oh yeah, I’M the stupid one, maybe dawkins will keep you warm at night you lonely bitter jerk off…hmm…think I’ll add a crap stain to him……OH!….better add what he jerks off too…ENTER…SEND!”
For me the last minute addition of what the guy is jerking off to is just flat out gold. There is no way to look at that really without realizing it was a last minute add it on just before sending it into the internet. and it’s so damn funny…it’s like seeing someone curb stomp someone else….walk away…then come back and kick him in the ass. That addition wasn’t needed…it doesn’t really matter to the larger point what he was jerking off to…it was just stuck in because there was a couple of drops of fuel left in the authors tank of anger.
Just take a good look at the effort the author put into the drawing of the ogre in the last panel. It’s not skillfully done,but done with focus. he’s got the table…a little curve on the bottom of the monitor, electrical cords…EVEN A MODEM!! And I’m just now noticing his eyebrows are real bushy in both panels…this was CLEARLY a drawing of some actual person… …bwahahahahahahaahaaaaa
We have all been around the internet…we have all seen or participated in little flame wars, there is no way to read this without knowing that it’s a reaction to something, hearing a little internal dialogue,, and based on the amateur drawing, knowing…that is was done in the heat of the moment. This guy conveyed a funny situation as purely as may be possible!
If you want to dig deeper now into the onion skin…you can wonder…did the atheist guy receive this? or did the author just post it…and wait…fingers tented together…in anticipation of the atheist running across it and coming back to react? OR did he send it and then instantly regret it?
The bottom line here for would be authors is this…DETAILS and where you put them say an awful awful lot, in many ways.
Master the details.