Acting

Comedic Timing–The Power of 3

Minolta DSCIt is common in theater to say it is easier to die than do comedy, meaning, of course that drama is easier than comedy. This is because there is a fine line between funny and too far.

Here are Aly’s Rules of Comedy:

1 – Mean it! People who are so serious about what they mean, what they are doing, and who they are strike a funny bone in us. But if you are worried about getting the laugh, it won’t be funny.  Just do what you need to do with all of your being and MEAN IT.  Don’t ask for the laugh, ask for the butter.

2 – Everyone’s humor is different. If they aren’t laughing, just move on. Don’t take is so damn personally.  There are some things, however, that no one finds funny:  Sighing – not funny, don’t waste your breath.  Rolling your eyes – not funny.  Pretending not to (blank).  Not funny.  Doing is funny.  Not doing is not funny.

3 – 3. That’s 3. 3 is number 3. The power of 3s. First, there is something fascinating to us as people with the number 3. We find it funny, we enjoy it. It is chaotic. If you can put a three count pause of a waltz in before the punch line, it is funnier, than if you put in 2 or 4 or 5.

Try this experiment. Tell a joke but it has to be the kind that isn’t a call and response. It has to be a “button” or story joke. I like the Koala and Grapes joke. Once you’ve found your joke, try two different timings on two different audiences. When you get to the “Got Any Grapes?” the last time, wait three beats (seconds are too long, think a waltz, umpapa,umpapa, umpapa) then say it. On the other group, just say it. Notice the laughter difference.

Also, notice that the best written jokes have 3s! A priest, a rabbi, and a monkey walk into a theater (1,2,3). The Koala comes back 2 more times after the initial visit, totaling 3 times. And it is always the 3rd where something different happens. In slapstick, you drop something 3 times, but instead of picking it up on the third time, you kick it and trip or prate-fall.

When on stage, if you want the good laugh, do something a third time, with full belief, and wait that umpapa, umpapa, umpapa before you do it the third time.

Good Luck with the Laughs

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3 thoughts on “Comedic Timing–The Power of 3

    1. A koala walks into a bar, sits down on the bar stool and asks the bartender in his raspy, quick clipped voice, “Got any grapes?”
      The bartender turns around to respond to the voice and learns that it is nothing other than a Koala. “Get out of here!” He says. “We don’t have any grapes. This is a bar! Get! Shooo!” And the koala gets up and scampers out of the bar.
      The next day the Koala comes back into the bar, sits down right in front of the bartender and asks, “Got any grapes?”
      “No,” says the bartender, “And if you come in here, again, I’m going to nail your paws to the bar.” And before the bartender could say ‘get out’ the koala was on his way.
      The next day, the koala piers in the bar doors and sees the same bartender. He walks in, bravely, sits down and asks, “Got any nails?”
      The bartender, puzzled at the odd questions, replies, “No…”
      (umpapa, umpapa, umpapa) “Got any grapes?”

  1. A koala walks into a bar, sits down on the bar stool and asks the bartender in his raspy, quick clipped voice, “Got any grapes?”
    The bartender turns around to respond to the voice and learns that it is nothing other than a Koala. “Get out of here!” He says. “We don’t have any grapes. This is a bar! Get! Shooo!” And the koala gets up and scampers out of the bar.
    The next day the Koala comes back into the bar, sits down right in front of the bartender and asks, “Got any grapes?”
    “No,” says the bartender, “And if you come in here, again, I’m going to nail your paws to the bar.” And before the bartender could say ‘get out’ the koala was on his way.
    The next day, the koala piers in the bar doors and sees the same bartender. He walks in, bravely, sits down and asks, “Got any nails?”
    The bartender, puzzled at the odd questions, replies, “No…”
    (umpapa, umpapa, umpapa) “Got any grapes?”

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