This video provides insights on how to inject humor into writing. It starts with the idea that humor can be found in everyday observations and moves on to discuss various techniques for comedy writing. Key points include using specific details to enhance humor, creating comedic characters by finding their flaws or playing with opposites, and the use of incongruity theory where unexpected elements create laughter. The video also suggests techniques like mind mapping with words like “pickle” for generating ideas, shifting from observation to imagination, and embracing the silliness of real-life situations. It concludes with quick tips like the rule of three, the punchline rule, and using words with a ‘k’ sound for comedic effect, emphasizing the importance of having fun in the process of writing humor.

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video “How to make your writing funnier – Cheri Steinkellner” by TED-Ed

Key insights

  • Observation as a Foundation for Humor: The video highlights that noticing ordinary, everyday things can be a rich source of humor.
  • Character Flaws and Opposites for Comedy: It suggests creating comedic characters by exaggerating their flaws or playing with opposites, as unexpected behaviors often result in humor.
  • Incongruity Theory in Humor: The incongruity theory, where humor arises from things that seem out of place, is emphasized as a key element in comedy.
  • Mind Mapping for Idea Generation: Mind mapping is recommended as a creative tool to explore connections and generate comedic content.
  • Real-Life Situations as Comedy Material: The video suggests using personal experiences, especially frustrating or embarrassing ones, as material for comedy.

Timestamped Summary

  • 0:06-0:25: Introduction to the concept of finding humor in everyday observations.
  • 0:30-1:19: Discussion on the basic elements of storytelling in comedy, focusing on character archetypes.
  • 1:21-2:11: Explanation of creating humor through character flaws and the incongruity theory.
  • 2:19-3:11: Techniques for generating comedic ideas, including mind mapping and shifting from observation to imagination.
  • 3:16-4:23: Tips for writing humor, including embracing real-life situations, and specific writing tricks like the rule of three and the punchline rule.
  • 4:30-4:48: Conclusion emphasizing the importance of having fun while writing comedy.


How can everyday observations be used to create humor?

Everyday observations can be a rich source of humor as they are relatable and often overlooked. Noticing and exaggerating these ordinary details can make them funny.

What makes a character comedic?

Comedic characters often have exaggerated flaws or behave in ways that defy expectations. These aspects create humor through surprise and incongruity.

Why is incongruity important in comedy?

Incongruity, the presence of elements that seem out of place, is important in comedy as it creates surprise and challenges our expectations, leading to laughter.

How can mind mapping help in comedy writing?

Mind mapping helps in exploring connections and generating ideas that might not be immediately apparent. It’s a tool to expand on a concept in unexpected and humorous directions.

What are some effective comedy writing techniques?

Effective comedy writing techniques include the rule of three, where a pattern is set and then unexpectedly broken, and the punchline rule, where the funniest part is placed at the end of a joke. Using words with a ‘k’ sound is also recommended for their comedic effect.


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