Visual comedy

To make a visual comedy the shots will have to be well placed and show both cause and reaction.

These both show how the shots timing is important and that lingering close shots of the face seem to have greater effect as it both shows the reaction of  the character and because  we inherently find faces make us laugh. The reason that people laugh when they look at faces (like in the playground game were they see who can go longest without laughing) is because it is a defense mechanism to hide your emotions from another person as showing other people all your emotions makes you feel vulnerable and so we laugh to prevent people reading us. At the same time we hide our emotions we are also trying to read others and so when people look at each other they end up laughing. Effectively we find characters prolonged close ups funny because we feel vulnerable and don’t want them to read our emotions.

There is also a tendency for people to laugh at other peoples slight misfortune (i.e. falling over.) This may be because people are so uptight about there jobs and social image that when something out of the ordinary happens it makes us react in humor – as suggested by Russell Kane on live at the apollo or it could just be the fact that it wasn’t meant to happen or that there is just something in the movement of accidents that stimulates laughter for instance an uncertainty of how to react. I did a very short survey within my class  with three questions:

  • generally when a friend has a minor fall do you laugh?   10/10 said yes
  • generally when a friend gets splashed by a passing car?   7/10 said yes
  • Test: can you stare a someones face without laughing for longer than 30 seconds? 8/10 laughed

These results back this idea that people find faces and minor incidents funny and so I feel that I would be right in using these instances for comedic sections of my final film.

About kitjaytaylor

Film student
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2 Responses to Visual comedy

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    This is fascinating contextual work, Kit—though I don’t see a huge amount of comedy in your proposed piece…? You make some good points about the two video essays, though you could go into more depth about the points raised—and how to use them. I very much like your personal observations of people and comedy—you’re absolutely right that most comedy is about vulnerability. Bruce Robinson, in directing the cult comedy Withnail & I, repeatedly instructed his actors to play it straight—he derived comedy from tragedy.


  2. Pingback: Evaluation | Kit Taylor

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