Thread: Stand-up Comedy
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Old May 30 2013, 08:48 AM   #14
Re: Stand-up Comedy

I've found that there are some things that work fine when on the page that don't work well when being performed, and vice versa.

So I have to agree with Elias here. Something can be the funniest thing in the world if it's being performed by actors, but put it into a prose format and it can lose something. Likewise, a book can be very funny, but the instant that it is put on the screen or on a stage, it can lose something.

As a case in point, check out Red Dwarf. I've watched the episodes and also read the books. The books take events of the episodes (albeit in a slightly different order) and turn them into prose. THe books are funny, yes, but in a very different way to the episodes.

For example, take the scene in which Rimmer appears dressed in a gingham dress with a penguin hand puppet called Mr Flibble.

Funny as hell when he comes on the screen, but if you have to put it in prose, you're in trouble. It's because on the screen it hits you all at once and you are practically slapped in the face with the absurdity of it all. On the page, it would take a paragraph to describe it, so it can't possibly hit you all at once. Thus it loses the impact that makes it so funny on the screen. And there are things that can't possibly be described in a book. How do you convey the silly cock-eyed-ness of the puppet you see in that picture? The seriousness with which Rimmer takes the whole thing? The tone of his voice? All these things are what make the screen version so funny, and yet they are difficult if not impossible to translate into prose while still keeping it funny.

In any case, Sandoval, I think Elias was right when he said that you were making the same point as him. he said, "Comedy books are written in a very different format than scripts that are meant to be spoken aloud in front of an audience." In other words, comedy PROSE is very different from a comedy PERFORMANCE."

Then you came and said, "Tons of comedy books are in prose form that is not intended to be spoken aloud." In other words, comedy PROSE is different to comedy PERFORMANCE.

I honestly don't see where your disagreement with him comes from.
Tiberius is offline   Reply With Quote