Monday, 18 February 2013

Setting a moral line - the easy choices

At the moment I am writing some topical sketches and sending them to a topical news radio comedy show on the BBC called Newsjack.   Basically I'm hail mary sending them and hoping I the find the beat they are looking for.    I am also writing some non-topical sketches too.  The more I write the better I get and hopefully one day I will get one on air.

I guess the thing about writing topical sketches is that you need to find a topic to set a sketch about.   In other blog postings I'll talk about the type of sketches I'll write about but what i am finding that even though i have only been doing this for 2 weeks, there are topics I won't talk about.

To do that, let's look at the headlines today and over the weekend.  I'm gonna pick some obvious stories that I wouldn't touch in a million years.

Voices directed beheading suspect
You know what, do I need to spell this out.  I don't think there is a way you can ask an audience to find beheading this funny.   Where do you go with this.   What I would say is that if you really feel the need to write a sketch based on beheading.   Maybe set in the 18th century or something.   Do a non-topical sketch and don't be graphic.
For topical comedy. no ways.  it's in bad-taste, it affects a single person directly.   basically it's a no-no for me.  I'm not saying you can't do a sketch on it.  I'm just saying, I won't.

Oscar Pistorius faces murder charge
There is just no way to make this funny.   Either this was murder or a very tragic accident.   At the end of the day a famous sportsman killed another famous model.   It's just not funny.   The tragic death of a girl isn't funny.   I just won't write it.
Strangely enough at the weekend when I read the news, a sketch idea popped into my head.   I felt ashamed but I really wasn't look for a sketch.   Did I write it, no!  Because it could never be funny.   I didn't find the news item funny but sometimes you can't help where ideas come from.   BTW, the main premise of the sketch was Columbo (peter falk not oscar pistorius).
However, I have moved the topic to a non-topical sketch.  changed the characters, the premise and rewriting it to something that is tasteful and funny but nothing to do with this news article.   I guess my point is, sometimes an idea will come.   I guess the trick is to repurpose it.

Jury fails to reach verdict in Rachel Manning murder
Same point as above.   Its a murder.  It's not funny.    I have no idea who Rachel Manning is to be honest.   Again you are asking people to laugh at something very uncomfortable.   So, if an idea pops in to your head, perhaps some sketch about a hung jury or something.   Well, change the characters, make it non-topical, do it another time and write a funny unsick sketch.

Woman killed as Rally Car hits crowd
Same point as above.    A real person died.   If you need to write a funny rally car sketch.   Make it non-topical and do it at another time.  It doesn't need to be this week.

I think you get the point:

Murder Stories
Death Stories
Sexual Offence Type Stories

Not funny!  And I ain't gonna write about it.   I hope I'm better than that and I hope that my one day potential audience will be too.   I guess if you find that sort of stuff funny, there are plenty of shows and comedians who will satisfy you there.    I don't wanna be one of them.

These stories are easy to keep a moral line though.   Unfortunately sometimes you get carried away and the line isn't so clear.   I'm sure I will cross the line (you have to push boundaries) but hopefully never that far over the line.  

Maybe in one of my next posts, I'll look at where the line becomes less clear

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