Drama in Disguise
Intro: One of my heroes, Albert Einstein, once said that if you can’t explain it to a seven-year-old, then you do not understand it yourself. So, I thought to myself, what is my very first memory of comedy? I believe that you will have the same answer that popped into my mind: a man wearing a dress. This simple farce is so effective because it applies the most basic yet essential rule of comedy: a unity of opposites. What works for a seven-year-old is no different than what works for a thirty-year-old. It isn’t even a matter of elevation, just variety.
Top 5 Easiest Ways to Bust Comedy Clichés
- Gender swaps.
- Age swaps.
- Unhappy endings.
- Unlikeable protagonists.
- Likeable antagonists.
- Even though the glass ceiling is breaking and LGBT equality is becoming more prevalent, there are still many scenarios in which a swap like this can be both funny and acceptable.
- A kid acting more rationally than an adult and an adult being immature does not require a body swap a la Freaky Friday.
- In the UK version of The Office, many of the episodes ended on an awkward/unhappy note thanks to the man dubbed “the king of uncomfortable,” co-creator Ricky Gervais. Yet, we laughed so much at the beginning and middle that we kept coming back for more.
- Legendary screenwriter John Truby once said in an interview that he thought the hit show Seinfeld flipped television on its head. Why? Because it starred four very unlikeable people. The principal cast did despicable things on a weekly basis, yet we rooted for them because their flaws were not only entertaining, but allowed more of an emotional connection compared with many other shows because we, as real human beings, are closer to them in terms of having flaws than the heroes on many other shows at the time.
- In Disney’s Hercules, Hades may be the lord of the dead, but he has a surprising lust for life. He likes to schmooze, scheme, and swindle, but he does it with a smile on his face.