Character Trait Entry: Funny

Definition: comical, causing amusement or laughter

Causes: Growing up in a family where one was expected to entertain younger siblings, being a fan of jokes and comedy; a desire to entertain, make people laugh or be in the spotlight; having a quirky & humorous outlook on life; exposure to comedians and entertainers

Characters in Literature: Fred & George Weasley (Harry Potter); Mia (Princess Diaries); Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Positives:

Funny people always lighten the mood or bring a positive spin to events, no matter how bad things seem. They can pluck the humor from any type of situation and make the people around them laugh. Having a joker for a friend means most experiences will be more enjoyable because they exude a sense of fun that feels good to be around. (Note: this entry excludes 'witty/sarcastic' humor as this will be addressed in a separate entry)

Negatives:

A comedic person doesn't always take certain situations seriously and may do or say something that, due to timing or circumstance, is inappropriate. Funny people can't always make a distinction of when enough is enough, and sometimes their sense of 'haha' goes too far and makes the people around them either embarrassed or uncomfortable. Some people also get lost within this trait, and feel that they need to always be funny or risk disappointing others. This can lead to losing a sense of who one really is, or repressing other traits and emotions that interfere with the ability to be funny.

Common Portrayals: 

Comedians, class clowns, nighttime talk show hosts, sitcom actors

Cliches to Avoid:

Pairing the funny trait with clumsiness; toilet humor; school/college pranksters; the single class clown, friends who have no endearing qualities or attributes other than to be the group's comic relief

Twists on the Traditional Funny:
  • Most characters KNOW they are funny--they work on it, live for it. Show us a character who is funny to everyone else, but doesn't find himself funny in the least.
  • Hilarious moments often occur when a character says or does something at an inappropriate time. Pick the most inappropriate situation you can think of, and create stakes where there are grave consequences if your funny character doesn't get the laughs.
  • Often a funny character shines because he's the joker of the group. Give him some competition and see if he rises to the challenge--you might end up with double the laughs!

Conflicting Characteristics to make your Funny Character unique or more interesting: somber, moral, analytical, proper, bossy

9 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing the tips. I'm not a funny person in general so I can really use them if I ever decide to try to create someone funny.

angelaquarles said...

Great entry! Another thing that could go under the negative aspect: I know I've found that when a guy is always "on", cracking jokes left and right (and good ones, he's truly funny), I've actually been wary of dating someone like that for several reasons. 1) I wonder if they can ever turn it off and if not, that would be exhausting and 2) it can be a little intimidating to be around someone like that all the time. Sometimes the funny ones can end up being very lonely.

Angela Ackerman said...

Hi Nat--glad this helps!

Angela--great points--I'll add that to the core entry for easy reference!

catherinemjohnson said...

This is brilliant. I will use this for my goblins.

Leslie Rose said...

Love that you brought up the pressure of staying funny once you are dubbed funny. A character that hides insecurity behind humor always attracts me.

Traci Kenworth said...

Gotta love quirky characters. They're there to enliven the show.

Traci Kenworth said...

Gotta love quirky characters. They're there to enliven the show.

Martha Ramirez said...

What an awesome post! Very helpful. For some reason I always have a "funny" character in my project. Thanks for the tips!

Kelly Polark said...

Love, love , love funny characters.
(and people)

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