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Can't Do Comedy? Missing Chances? Learn Easily Here

Comedy in Bollywood film Grand-Masti
Comedy in Bollywood film Grand-Masti
Tell me, who doesn't want to laugh? Especially, even more so in these depressing times! Comedic acting is tough, but if you get it right and then there are plenty of opportunities not only in Indian cinema and in serials but internationally as well for you.

The key factor to do comedy: Learn Improvisation! 

What is comedy?

Comedy is a genre of film that uses humor as a driving force. The aim of a comedy film is to provoke laughter from the audience through entertaining stories and characters.


Absurd Comedy
The humor in these films tends to be nonsensical with exaggerated characters and situations. This type of sub genre often uses slapstick tendencies
It combines action with humor. Action-Comedy relies on the characters to bring out the humor, while the action scenes tend to be less intense than in the traditional action movie.
It attempts to catch the viewer’s heart with the combination of love and humor. This sub-genre is light-hearted and usually places the two protagonists (main male and/or female characters) in humorous situation. Romantic-Comedy film revolves around a romantic ideal, such as true love. In the end, the ideal triumphs over the situation or obstacle, thus creating a happy conclusion.
Horror-Comedy combines comedy with traditional horror movie themes and characters. Horror-Comedy films aim to scare the audience, but also provide comical outlets that let the audience laugh at their fear.
These films impersonate, ridicule, or scoff at serious situations and people. These films rely heavily on satire. For example tomfoolery, to deceive, to play a hoax, to play a trick or to satirize gently
Slapstick comedy is a sub-genre of film that incorporates physical comedy into the story. Slapstick uses visual action, such as harmless violence and horseplay (rough, boisterous play), to depict humor. Slapstick film often relies on comedic timing and a controlled psychical performance of a single actor.

In Bollywood films and TV serials there are only few productions based totally on the above mentioned sub-genres. Indian comedy films/serials may incorporate all of the above or some of the above genre in a single film/serial. Therefore, an actor must learn and practice all the above-mentioned types of comedy

How to be a successful comedy actor

1/ What exactly comedy is. What makes us laugh so hard?
Comedy is about suffering. That’s right – pain, sadness, tragedy, and injustices are all the perfect foundations for a funny story. The old saying, “you’ll either laugh or cry,” couldn’t be truer when it comes to comedy. The more a character is in trouble, the funnier it is to watch – hence the term “comedy of errors.” Desperation, unpredictability and deep situational entanglements force actors to solve improbable (and often crazy) situations with exaggerated (and hilarious) solutions.
2/ Stick to the script.
Comedy is all about rhythm, timing, and pace, and it's your job as a comedic actor to identify those things in each and every piece of scripted comedy you perform.
Comedy, when done right, is like a good song. Just as a musician plays the melody as composed, a comedic actor must stick to the script. That means following the words exactly as written. Don't add or drop words or attach handles to the beginnings of sentences, like "Look," "I mean," "Well," and "So." And don't change the punctuation e.g. exclamation signs, question marks, pauses etc!
3/ Improvisation
Learning the technique and excellence in Improvisation is mandatory. Note that auditions for a comedic may character require improvisation.

Mistakes committed

Unscripted movements
One of the biggest mistakes that can kill a comedic scene is unscripted movement (which are NOT in the script. This includes adjusting your clothes, scratching your nose, stretching your neck, waving your arms, tapping your thigh, rolling your eyes, and so on. Unless movement is specified in the script or by the director, you should stay still, as any extra movement will distract from the comedic rhythm.
Do your absolute best not to over-act. Don’t try to be funny. Don’t fake it. Don’t get embarrassed. Don’t expect laughs by over-exaggerating your facial expressions. If the script is well written and funny, then the laughs will come – do not force them! One of the worst errors a comedic actor can make is to anticipate laughter.
Not understanding timing
A very important aspect of comedic timing is pausing for the audience to laugh (that is, if they are laughing). Young or novice actors often get nervous and continue with dialog without a pause, forcing the viewers to either stop laughing or left wondering what they just missed in the dialogue. The amount of time that you should pause for laughter comes with practice and experience.

Develop your own funny style

Think about the all of the successful comedians you know like Mahmood, Johny Walker, Johny Lever. Asrani and many others. They all have a distinctive personality, But how do you do this?

Watch these great comedians and ask the following questions to yourself and seek answers

  1. "What makes them funny?"
  2. "What does their voice do while speaking major comedic points?"
  3. "How is their body language?"
  4. "Are they realistically funny, or do they playing the role as a 'character' ?"
  5. After watching actors perform their craft, you can then begin to study your own style and then plan to develop as a comedic actor.

My simple formula to prepare for a comedic character

Just imagine and practice-
  • If I am an idiot, how will I behave?
  • If I am a fool, how will I perform a role?
  • If I am a fool but behave as if I am the most intelligent person on the earth
  • I grasp things very slowly. People have to explain and repeat things repeatedly. Therefore, my reactions are absurd. I either make a poker face or drop my jaw or just smile or become serious. I am always unconnected 
  • I am always in hurry. Many a times though I do not understand, I react as if I knew in responding or replying
  • My physical responses are either too slow or abnormally fast
  • I am always in incongruity which means out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming

Bollywood comedy films to be watched repeatedly for learning comedic acting

Golmaal 3 (2010), Singh is King (2008), Golmaal Return (2008), Dhamaal (2007), Welcome (2007), Kya Kool HaI Hum (2005), No Entry (2005), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (2003), Hungama (2003), Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001), Hera Pheri (2000), Chachi 420 (1997), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), Gol Maal (1979), Bombay To Goa (1972), **** Padosan (1968)

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