Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tired jokes

On his blog, Ken Levine argues that some common sitcom writing techniques are well past their sell by date.
One reason I contend multi-camera shows are out of fashion is because the joke rhythms are tired and stale. For a long time they worked, and the jokes themselves may be funny but audiences have grown weary of their predictable form...

The “No…(blank)” joke.

COACH: They call me Red.

CUSTOMER: Oh, cause you used to have red hair?

COACH: No, cause I once read a book.

The problem is you’re asking the customer to set up the joke by saying something she probably wouldn’t say. Straight man seeks clarification by asking the seemingly obvious only to learn it’s something else. Plus, it usually makes the set up person seem incredibly dumb.

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