Andy pulls together a little of what makes Rich Teasers tick on the comedy front. And tock. And chime on the hour…
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We write a lot of comedy here at Rich Teasers. In fact, the only time we’re not squaring off chunky layers of laugh cement with the funny trowel is when we’re writing about people breathing their last to scratchy old Erik Satie records or hideous acts of butchery and cannibalism in the bad-dream backwoods of mid-18th Century America (tease, tease…).
As committed as we are to diverse storylines and styles, funny is never too far from the front of the class with a hand in the air and an apple for Teacher whenever we sit for an earnest, brow-furrowed script brainstorm. Just turning the briefest of thoughts to any of the following comic staples is enough for us to spray hot, milky tea over thousands of pounds of sensitive and irreplaceable computer equipment:
- man looking over shoulder tripping on kerb;
- man falling into canal after being hit on head by plank;
- jogger ricocheting off lamppost into canal;
- semi-naked cyclist riding through fence panel into canal;
- anyone slipping on poo and skidding into canal [funnier if Prince Philip or Bono];
- woman suffering from dementia in care home.
Hang on… dementia? How’s that funny? Any combination of poo, plank, canal and Bono is a guaranteed, cast-iron giggle winner so why chuck in an inglorious poke at a terrifying, dignity-sapping condition like dementia…?
We recently wrote a comic short called Home For The Bewildered [see LOGLINES] which was inspired by an observation of middle-stage Alzheimer’s during a Sunday lunch with friends. One of the dining fraternity brought along his elderly mother, fully in the grip of the ‘forgetfuls’. She forgot where she was. She forgot why there was food in front of her. She forgot my name. Repeatedly. My mate’s poor old mum. My poor old mate who’s had to sit back and watch the slow draining away of all that awareness and self-possession without the slightest power to stop it. No great glut of tummy chuckles there then.
DOCTOR: It appears the tumour is inoperable, Mr. Jones. I’m so very sorry.
[still on the phone, MR. JONES jogs into a lamppost and ricochets into an adjacent canal]
Except we all laughed over roast and pudding that Sunday. Quite a lot as it happened. Not at the condition. Not at the loss of dignity or the frightening appreciation of how it all ends in the long run. We laughed at those moments in isolation when circular conversations, repeated questions and baffling non-sequiturs are just plain funny, regardless of how or why they come about. They make us all a little forgetful with their sudden and inexplicable interjections. A little less self-possessed, caught in the dazzling headlight of the moment. Trying desperately not to express the slightest amusement at the many tail-chasing breaks in proceedings, it took me a while to realise my mate was chuckling through every meandering, yes-but-no-but interaction with his mum. He just didn’t seem like a man at the most sharp, most painful end of this deeply unfunny affliction.
It would’ve been easy to part company with a few mumbled fibs about early Monday morning starts then spend the remainder of the weekend hoping to God our own marbles wouldn’t one day file for divorce, but it didn’t end thus. We left instead after a great catch-up, a few good laughs and some wonderful, funny memories of a lovely lady who couldn’t quite put her finger on her lunch.
And that’s where we often find ‘funny’ at Rich Teasers: stuck somewhere in the middle of the not-so-funny barrel of awkward, collar-tugging titters. Not because it’s deliberately provocative. Not because it’s more worthy than the poo-and-plank stuff or because “nobody’s done it for laughs yet“. Home For The Bewildered came about because a confused old lady in a care home can be as funny as a semi-naked cyclist riding through a fence panel into a canal. And sometimes she might not be as confused as she appears – just have a squizz at the script…
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As always, if you want to know more about our scripts or wish to explore the possibility of filming one, have a browse through our LOGLINES section or strike up a conversation via our contacts in, er… CONTACTS.