So what makes people laugh?
What makes something funny? Book after book has been published on the subject! Don’t worry, I won’t go into a psychological analysis of humor theory. But here is what I can tell you. I have found three things I think that makes people laugh.
3 sources of comedy:
- The Unexpected
- The Ridiculous
- The Truth (or things people can relate to)
I sell a funny clown badge that says “Belly Button Duster” It is a tiny little brush glued onto a badge. I think the badge is very funny in itself.
But a clown came into my shop the other day with another idea. He will wear the badge as the official Belly Button Duster. When he is doing his meet and greet he will look over the crowd and pick a Dad (which will make the kids giggle). He will shake his head and pull out an old fashioned toilet bowl scrubber (looks exactly like a big version of the same duster on the badge) to do that big of a job!
It makes people laugh because they weren’t expecting him to pull out such a big prop. The key to this blow off is keeping the surprise hidden.
I was watching a clown perform a skit where he brought three people on stage and gave them silly instruments to play. He stood behind them and touched them on the shoulder when he wanted them to blow on the horns he gave them. One of the “instruments” blew a loud wet raspberry sound. “Phlbbbbbttt!!!”
Sure, it is an old gag. Yet I laughed and laughed every time it blew! Why? It was still funny. It is such a ridiculous sound, and the older woman had a big smile every time. Pure delight!
When our clown club does a show, we have a running gag about removing a large stain on the floor. There really isn’t a spot. But each time the clowns come out to remove the spot the efforts get more extreme, until finally they come out in a “haz-mat” suit! While that is funny, the spot never got removed.
We needed a better blow off. So I suggested another old bit.
At the end of the show a bag lady/hobo clown will come out dragging a piece of carpet on a rope and holding a broom. She will sweep the imaginary spot under the rug to hide it. Looking satisfied, she will walk away dragging the carpet behind her!
It is funny because it is true…especially if you have kids! This makes people laugh every time we use this bit.
What is funny to you?
What props do you have lying around that just need another look?
Maybe you need to use a household item in an unexpected way?
Look for the ridiculous! Have a little fun and play.
You never know what you might come up with. And when you do discover it, share it with us here! Post a comment below telling me how you “find the funny” in everyday items.
Read more of my articles about skit writing, blow-offs, props, clown performance, and the like:
- Give-away: Ring-a-ding-ding
- Give-away: Keep this ticket
- Prop ideas with red foam noses
- Walk-around prop: iPod
- Be Someone’s Clown
- Skit Writing: Chick-a-le-le
- Skit Writing: Walk it out
- How to play the kazoo
- Meet and Greet: Reindeer games
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