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And Make it Funny

- By Mark Margulies, BENMARadio

Humor is subjective. What makes my 16 year old howl with laughter leaves me wondering, W/T/H was that? I love the Marx Brothers-- my wife just shakes her head, loathing every word. So-- you learn quickly in life, funny to you, is not funny to the guy next to you. And that brings us to humor in radio spots.

So your client says, ‘and make it funny.’ Which, at first glance, you think, ‘OK, that’s not too hard. I have a good sense of humor ’ And then, after the fifth attempt which your client rejects without even breaking a smile you realize, ‘how do I make this happen and salvage this sale?’

Start with a question. When your client suggest humor, ask them, ‘who makes YOU laugh?’ Or, ‘what show /movie do you really love?’ Start by getting an idea as what will pass muster for humor with your client. I doesn’t make a bit of difference whether you’re funny/ mildly funny/ not funny. It doesn’t matter what you CONSIDER  funny. If the client doesn’t like it or get it, it’s done.  I can’t even count the number of great spots we had to can for the moment because the client looked at us and went, ‘that’s not funny. I said I want FUNNY.’

Next, don’t get too ambitious. Keep the set-up simple and deliver the pay off quickly. Remember, it’s got to be funny, but it’s also got to make an impression with the listener.

Finally, if you need help, that’s what You Tube was created for. Do some research on the people/ films they noted as liking because of their humor. You can mimic, without plagiarizing. And if you get the style down, that will go a long way to making your client accept your first attempt, instead of passing on multiple efforts.

Of course, clients should never have final say over creative, even when they’re paying the freight (another topic for another time). You can still create great funny spots the client doesn’t have to be in love with. This is just a guide for those who are not overly inspired, and need help making ‘funny’, work.

Hey, did you hear the one about the guy who goes into a psychiatrist’s office and says, “Doc, I need help. I can’t decide--- ‘I’m a teepee. No, I’m a wigwam. I’m a teepee, I’m a wigwam.’ Psychiatrist looks up and says, ‘I know what your problem is. You’re too tents.“

September scripts

  • Premier Mortgage Company (:60)
  • Pizza Pub (:60)

Mark Margulies
BENMARadio, Inc

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