With the Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize coming up (deadline early December), I've been thinking about comedy feature writing.
I'm a huge fan of the Farrelly sensibility comedies (for want of a better and less pretentious term). Everyone can do slapstick, crude sexual gags and gross-out humour but what distinguishes the Farrellys and those of their ilk is ensuring a spine of rock solid story and an emotional heart. It's that which makes the comedy richer and funnier.
For instance the zipper and hair gel scenes in Mary are hilarious in the context of story and character but out of context they're just mildly amusing.
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Anchorman was the funniest comedy of last year for me and featured Steve Carell who stole the show. Steve Carell is also involved in the funniest comedy of this year, The 40 year old Virgin, as a co-writer with Anchorman producer Judd Apatow. I've watched them for fun, now I'm going to analyse them to see if there's any secrets I can learn to make up for my lack of talent. Also on my list to see again are Dodgeball (runner up to last years funniest comedy) and Wedding Crashers (runner up to this years).
I will restrain my comedy geek tendancies and refuse to point out all the different connections and links from TV favourites Freaks and Geeks and The Daily Show (coming soon to More4) to movies featuring actor-writers like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson and writer-directors like Wes Anderson because that would be sad.
Judd Apatow on the origin of Virgin: "[Steve Carell] mentioned that while doing Anchorman, there’s a character he liked and I liked the idea that he was surrounded by younger people giving terrible advice. So we just started sitting down and outlining together and trying to figure out what the story would be. And we very quickly agreed that we wanted to have it be, hopefully, be really funny, but ultimately be a sweet story about a guy growing up. Like a middle-aged coming of age story.
"So we started outlining before we started writing. And then we had this idea that he dates this woman who is actually a grandmother, so he goes from not having any responsibility with a woman to being in the most committed relationship on Earth with Catherine Keener." Taken from: About.com
Judd's Suicide Girls interview:
Judd's IGN interview:
Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize