Starting in Entertainment : How to Write a Comedy Sketch

Starting in Entertainment : How to Write a Comedy Sketch


The Blues Brothers, the Spartan cheerleaders,
the church lady. Great comic sketches. How do you write comedy sketches. Well, my name
is Joe Pauly. I’ve been in the entertainment TV world for about twenty years. I write some
sketches, hopefully, I can help you out with that task of writing a comedy sketch. Alright.
First rule, it’s a sketch, not a skit. A skit is watching Uncle Charlie at the lodge put
on a dress with coconut brazier, singing a song. That’s a skit. A sketch is what you’ll
see on Saturday night live, MadTV, the Daily Show, and some of the better ones you’ll see
on YouTube, OK. Topical versus timeless. If you’re going to write a sketch, and you want
to make it topical, just remember, the shelf life for it, it’s not going to be very long.
You zero in on the two thousand four elections, after about a year or so, people are going
to be scratching their head going, oh, that’s not very funny. Timeless is something you
can watch over and over, the comedy is genuine, it’s from the character. OK. Once you know
the talent of the group you’re working for, focus on that. You’ve got a guy who can do
a great impression of a certain person, use it. Get into the sketch quickly. Remember,
this isn’t a five hundred page book here. Get into it quickly. If it’s not funny in
the first five to ten seconds, maybe you should start on a different sketch. Great if you
can end it with a punch or button. You watch the parrot sketch on the old Monty Python
show, it ends with a button. Those are tough to do, but if you can do it, it’s a home run
right there. Keep it short. Three to five minutes, no longer than that. And it better
be funny. If you’re writing for YouTube, remember you can keep it short, like thirty, twenty,
forty seconds and it’s a quick bit. Alright? Don’t forget, you can also get it on the web,
put a funny bit on YouTube. Good luck in your writing for a sketch humor. I’m Joe Pauly,
have fun.

24 thoughts on “Starting in Entertainment : How to Write a Comedy Sketch

  1. Good info! … Once you have a finished product and you post it on youtube how would you regulate people stealing your material? Is there a poor mans copyright solution on sketch comedy ideas like in the music industry?

  2. I do impressions. My only problem is trying to find out what people think is funny. And certain flaws of the person I'm doing impressions of.

  3. You can't learn to write comedy, you're either funny or not, you can't learn it because it comes across you're trying too hard and you'll end up lame like Adam Sandler; but I guess he is a millionaire 

  4. The Parrot Sketch didn't end with a button or punchline. . . it kept going. .  . and going and going. . . Until Graham Chapman came in to announce that the sketch had gotten too silly. . . But aside from that, probably a good tip.

  5. This explanation in itself is hilarious. I get how it's a tutorial, but the way he explained it somehow to me was funny. Right near the end after explaining "the punch": "Good luck, and it better be funny." Killed me.

  6. The Blues Brothers, the Spartan Cheerleaders, The Churchlady <– just lost all credibility in my opinion. Those are horrible sketches lacking any real jokes and relying on a silly character to attempt to carry the sketch. They're time fillers when the writers couldn't think of anything funny.

  7. I wrote 3 short sketches with two characters in each. I think they are funny. I am looking for a duo or group who would consider using them.

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