Thoughts You Shouldn't Think

I caught myself doing something alarming today.

See, I’m working on this comedy. I drafted it once. Now I’m rewriting it.

It’s kind of biting me on the ass at the moment. In a slow, deliberate, cud-chewing sort of way.

I don’t generally think of myself as a very funny person. Some people laugh at me. That may not always be by my choice. But often it is. Still, if anything, I’m more of a one-liner type of guy. Exploiting a situation to its limit isn’t really my bag, baby.

Of course, when writing a comedy, that is exactly what one is called upon to do.

To me, comedy is made up a two elements. I may have said this before. What you do is you get 1) some great quirky and outlandish characters, and then you think of 2) some crazy situations to happen to them. You throw 1 and 2 together, and that’s how you create comedy.

I think that comedy is so much harder than drama, which is why I’m always angry when the Oscars are over.

Anyway, I was thinking about how unlikely it is that I’ll be writing the next 40-Year-Old Virgin (which I think is the most recent truly original comedy). And even the odds of writing another movie like Wedding Crashers, which I didn’t think was very original but was definitely hilarious, are pretty low for me.

Then this sentence formed itself if my head:

“I really just need to write something that’s funny enough to get sold, and lots of extremely not-funny comedies are made every year, so selling one shouldn’t be that hard.”

Do you see the trap in that? The seductive but fatal lure? No?

It’s the Siren call of mediocrity, my friends. The belief attempting to take over in my mind that all I need to do is just be a tiny bit better than all the other trash out there.

Now, even if this was technically true (which is debatable), this is not at all the kind of artistic philosophy with which I am anything close to on board. This is anathema.

So even though I’m not very strong in the world of comedy, this script is going to have to be worked on and worked on and worked on and worked on until either I can’t possibly make it any funnier, or it really has reached the heights of excellence at which one wishes to aim.

But if someone offered to buy it from me tomorrow for a reasonable price, I wouldn’t say no.

Now that’s some good philosophy.

Ryan Elainska