1. Mr_Morrissey
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    Mr_Morrissey New Member

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    Funny Situation, Unfunny subject.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mr_Morrissey, Oct 6, 2010.

    Hello,

    I've had a female friend who I discussed this idea with and now she's not speaking to me!

    This is for a sitcom.

    In a scene, a group of "students" were expecting to see a career advisor but instead a "cancer advisor" was accidently hired who comes in talking about lumps.


    My take on it was that it was humorous because of the situation and not the subject matter. The humour doesn't stem from cancer it stems from the embarrassment and comedic element of the character realising he’s hired the wrong person and trying to get rid of them/cover it up.

    Or is it in bad taste?

    I've asked four friends. One female friend says it shouldn't be done, another female friend is now refusing to speak to me and two male friends find it amusing and a great idea.

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Regardless of whether it's bad taste or not, I have to say it doesn't actually sound very funny.
     
  3. Mr_Morrissey
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    Mr_Morrissey New Member

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    It depends on the context of the situation and the show.

    On a paper a lot of the stuff from The Office (the UK version) doesn't sound very funny when you describe the original idea.

    Its how the humour derives from it.

    But when I wake up tomorrow, I might completley ditch it depending on my mood.
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Humor is a way for our society to communicate over hard subjects. Sex, faitfullness, money, death, intelligence, nationallity....

    I think the scene is fantastic. And funny. No matter what sort of humor you use you cant please everybody. Someone will find it boring, to smart, offensive, confusing, vulgar, no matter how you handle it.

    Go fot it. I think its an exellent idea
     
  5. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    I say if the humor is done well it can be Funny. The fact that your two female friends don't think the scene is funny is a sign it needs revision or maybe the situation needs to be reworked a bit.
    But I think anything can be funny you make it. My brother can make dead babies funny if he wants to. Just don't come off as trying to hard and you'll pull out some great stuff.
     
  6. Mr_Morrissey
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    Mr_Morrissey New Member

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    "Humour is a way for our society to communicate over hard subjects. Sex, faithfulness, money, death, intelligence, nationality...." is now going above my desk!

    Thanks to both of you for your advice, I really do appreciate it!
     
  7. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Classic case of a writer who wants to be convinced they're right. Wowee.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with Banzai about it plain being unfunny.

    I completely agree that humour is great for tackling difficult situations but quite frankly career advisor to cancer advisor just seems a bit weird - I mean presumably they would be a specialist and not called an advisor. Not to mention not all cancer produces lumps many don't. Great humour like this is based in real life and has a believeable angle to it.

    But then some people found Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson funny
     
  9. MissPomegranate
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    MissPomegranate Member

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    I agree with Elgaisma that getting career adviser and cancer adviser mixed up is a bit far-fetched, just because the term "adviser" would probably not be used in the latter occupation.

    I'm not saying it can't be funny - I find The Office hilarious, and some of Steve Carell's character's jokes can be pretty crude. I think if you tweak the situation to be more realistic, it could turn out well.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Count me in with the "not funny" crowd. I think Elgaisma pegged it - the whole thing sounds forced.

    BTW, Woody Allen made cancer - or, rather, the fear of it - extremely funny in "Hannah and Her Sisters". Also a few other items on w176's list.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?

    Told as you did above, 'taint funny. But maybe, just maybe, you'll make it funny when you actually write it. Maybe it will be in just bad enough taste that it will be twice as funny. It worked for the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.
     
  12. Blips
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    Blips Member

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    I honestly can't tell if this would be funny or not - I would have to see its implementation. Like one of the above posters mentioned, things on paper can often sound boring until presented properly.

    ps: I think you need new (female) friends. Refusing to speak with you over something so trivial is ridiculous, assuming they haven't just lost a friend or loved one to cancer.
     
  13. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    I think it could potentially be quite funny, but agree with the people who have said that actually it doesn't quite work as you don't get 'cancer advisors', plus how would this mistake actually happen? I think there are funnier things the person could be, particularly if this is a group of young students.

    Incidentally, Nighty Night deals with the topic of cancer and it is one of the funniest sitcoms I've ever seen.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it sounds very funny as it is. Not for its controversy -- it's just a bit "meh". They're getting advice on how to live with cancer, but what's the big deal in that? Most healthy people could find some benefit in hearing such a lecture.

    I could see more potential in a scene where the main character is a career advisor and walks into the wrong room in the lecture hall, and starts giving career advise to a group of terminally ill.
     
  15. Mr_Morrissey
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    Mr_Morrissey New Member

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    Fortunatley that's not the context of the scene.:cool:

    I like your 2nd idea.

    I'll run with it and see how it works out.
     
  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    What you have is an idea, nothing more nothing less. Untill you write it, that is all it is.

    Speaking personally, Having lost an a favourite aunt to cancer, whom died ounce by ounce, piece by piece that by the time she died she was nothing but a skeleton covered by translucent skin. A slow and painful death. It will take a brilliant writer to make me see the funny side of it.

    That aside, some people may find it funny.

    I don't think it is a cancer adviser but cancer management.
     
  17. Mr_Morrissey
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    Mr_Morrissey New Member

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    As I said, it's not about cancer. It's about a guy hiring the wrong talker/advisor and him trying to expand on the comments with his own career related advice. Before it dawns on him that he's hired the wrong talker and he tries to cover it up and get rid of him.

    I've lost 3 (almost 4) of my immediate family to cancer, only just a fortnight ago and that’s not including my non immediate family and 2 aunts and my best friend’s mum died of cancer and my other best friend’s brother had cancer. So to try and teach me the effects of cancer is not needed.

    So I need to strongly reiterate that I’m not satirising cancer. The humour is stemming from the situation.

    As I’m writing this, I don’t think there’s been a joke about cancer. There’s not been one joke about the effects about cancer nor has there been one about getting cancer. The fact that the talker is a cancer awareness talker does not become apparent until mid way through the scene when he says the word “cancer” and even then the lead character tries to cover it up by saying “being unemployed is like a cancer on society” (it’s a very rough draft) and that’s probably the most risqué humour in it. I’d say 95% of the humour stems from the situation.

    Half the people on the thread have seenword “cancer” and they immediately think that I’m mocking cancer, which is simply not the case. The reason I felt the need to ask the question is because two people made the assumption (without reading the script) that I was about to satire cancer and I was worried that if people saw the word cancer I would upset my audience.

    I’m not defending my work because I don’t need to but I do feel the need to defend the assumption that I’m mocking cancer because that’s not what I’m about.

    I made up my mind last night after reading w176's comment that I was going to go ahead with it and see how good I can make it.
     
  18. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see, I have put too much emphasis on the above line.

    Basically your sitcom is not a black comedy, but about a misunderstanding.

    Best of luck
     
  19. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm sorry but even the way you said this annoys me. Of course there is no inherent humour in cancer. I'm pretty sure it's a given that people here understand that. We know the humour has to come from another angle but that still doesn't make the situation funny.

    I don't think it's a great idea, that's all.
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me what is making it unfunny is the lack of believable situation. All good sit coms start with basis in the truth. I don't particularly like the Office but have met people like Brent my husband works with them. I probably don't find it funny because i never worked in an office.

    It is the situation that I think is wrong not the humour that is a problem.
     
  21. MissPomegranate
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    MissPomegranate Member

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    It's not the cancer part that makes it unfunny (South Park has made a couple episodes with cancer as the subject, so it can be done) it's simply that the situation has such a slight chance of actually happening.
    Unless you are dead-set that you want to have the subject of cancer in the scene, perhaps you could change it to something more believable?
     

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