Skip to content Skip to footer

How To Write A Comedy Script

How do you write a comedy script? Most writers think it’s all about writing jokes into the dialogue and creating outrageous scenes to make the audience laugh.

Whilst there may be a place for this, the magic of comedy often lies beyond these simple touches.

I’m a script consultant sharing insights on storytelling craft, and I’ve compiled some unspoken truths about what makes a great comedy script. Read on to find out more!

write a comedy script

Write A Comedy Script With A Flawed Protagonist

One of the most potent sources of comedy is a flawed protagonist whose personality traits dictate their disproportionate reactions.

Take, for instance, Shaun from “Shaun of The Dead”:

Shaun’s flaw is his laziness and disconnection from the real world.

Placed in a zombie invasion, a story world directly relevant to his flaw, Shaun’s answer to the problem he finds himself in is to head to the pub – an organic response that stems from his character.

Learning from Don’t Look Up: A Disproportionate Reaction

In the more recent “Don’t Look Up,” comedy arises from the US President’s absurd reaction to catastrophic news about the planet’s destruction.

President Orlean’s reaction is simply to “sit tight and assess.”

The humour here isn’t actually in the words “sit tight and assess” themselves; they’re not objectively funny.

Instead, the humour comes from the absurdity of the response to the situation.

When Jonah Hill’s character explains the phrase, the “joke” gets even funnier.

Once again, this isn’t because the words are inherently funny, but the notion of someone explaining what “sit tight and assess” means to NASA scientists makes the scene funny.

The Essence of Humour: Comedy Is Pain

To continue with the example of Don’t Look Up, the comedy in this film reflects our society’s stupidity towards a serious issue.

Of course, Don’t Look Up is heavily satirical, and its purpose is to hold a mirror up to society.

On a more micro scale, though, think about your pain and consider how to infuse it into your writing. Be truthful, be honest.

Comedy is the medicine we use to deal with the troubles we experience in the real world. 

Like all great storytelling, comedy prompts us to introspect, encouraging laughter at our own human follies.

write a comedy script emotional story

In conclusion, writing a comedy script is an art that transcends conventional jokes.

By making your flawed characters react disproportionately to their circumstances, you are already on the way to creating great comedy.

Think about how your characters operate within a thematically rich story world, which comments on our shortcomings as human beings.

So, as you venture into the realm of comedy scriptwriting, remember: it’s not just about the jokes; it’s about crafting characters whose comedic antics reflect the absurdities of our own existence.

Nick Fore Script Doctor / Script Consultant

Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute.

He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 

get my EXCLUSIVE video essay

'The Who & The What'

Unlock the secrets of successful screenwriting with ‘The Who & The What’, my exclusive video essay that examines the relationship between character and theme across your favourite films.


Sign up now to receive access.

Nick Fore © 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Sign up to improve your screenplay.

Improve your knowledge of the craft every week by receiving my exclusive video essay series, ‘The Who & The What’ which examines the relationship between character and theme across your favourite screenplays.

You’ll also receive regular articles offering you valuable information to help improve your craft as a screenwriter.

Sign up now to receive exclusive access.