Jump to content
Donpom

Comedy in RP: How???

Recommended Posts

Hey friends, if you're like me, then when you rp, you're always thinking of how you can make your audience/partners enjoy your story and characters more. What better way to do that than to make them laugh or smile with a little comedy, right? But if you're like me, then you also have no idea how to do comedy in rp. I don't want to get written off as a mr. serious mctragedypants type of one-trick pony, but I'm lacking any good examples to follow.

 

The only relevant advice I've ever received on the topic of writing comedy was from an old acting teacher, who hated comedy for the sake of comedy. She always insisted that jokes and farces appeal to a certain specific part of the audience, but alienate the rest. She believed that if there's humor in a scene or situation, it will come out by itself without the help of jokes. If you sat her down and made her watch a comedy production, she was always going to be very critical of it. I know that rp and theater are two different things.... but they are pretty similar. RP is basically a form of improv storytelling, and that's why I'm considering her advice. 

 

I'm trying to make a character that acts like a jokester or a comedian, but I myself am bad at wit and jokes, and the struggle to write dialogue for him is what made me take a step back and think about it. I'm curious to know, do you personally have a preference for or against comedy in your rps? And if you or your friends use comedy in your rps, how do you make it work without disrupting a story? And also? How do you be funny? Help?? Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post

Honestly, timing and presentation have a lot to do with what makes any particular comedy bit funny.  Just read a transcript of a stand up comedian’s act and I doubt much of it will have the same effect as listening to and seeing it performed.  That presents a problem with our mostly text based RP.

 

It is a swell idea, of course, but would be difficult to pull off even for someone with a degree of skill at such things.  That said, I would encourage you to try and if it doesn’t work out, you can always go the route of your character being a struggling or not-very-good comedian.

 

The sorts of situations that might get you in would be worth quite a few OOC laughs at least.

Share this post


Link to post

One of my personal pet peeves is when people start RPing in such a way to obviously garner reactions from people behind the keyboards. In this particular scenario, much like real life comedy, you can't really force it. It just happens. When people speak of "The character got placed in a hilarious scenario" it generally implies a degree of unpredictability and unexpectedness to the scene that added to the humor. Basically don't try too hard. People will notice and you will alienate them.

That being said it's entirely possible to make NPCs and things like this that are running jokes. A mission giver, a mentor with a bad attitude, and my personal favorite low hanging fruit: cultural differences! Though the latter does require RP partners who aren't too sensitive to that sort of thing and can discern fiction and RP from reality. To be honest, I find the 'comic relief' tag translates very badly to PC's and tends to make them one trick ponies that lack character development so you want to be careful with how hard you lodge them into that mold. Unless you want the sort of 'sad clown' fellow. There's an angle you can go for.

If you find you're bad at quippy one liners and jokes are not your forte than i would caution with selecting and designing a character that is so far out of your writing comfort zone. I've seen people do this and it just leads to them feeling really unfulfilled with the character and like they are "failing" at it until they reroll.

Share this post


Link to post

I will agree with most of what Teadrinker said. Someone who's just trying to get a laugh out of me OOC rather than write a compelling story and play a three-dimensional character, or a character who exists just to be "funny" will not always hold my attention. They can be fun for a while, but eventually I'll want to RP something serious and I'll probably opt to find someone else for that because comedic characters often just feel like one-trick ponies to me.
 

Writing comedy doesn't have to mean writing a comedian. In fact, I'd say that's most difficult and risky way to go about it, especially if you're not great with jokes as you've said. As Adler said, a lot of stand-up type comedy is about the timing and delivery, which don't translate as well through text. You're also kind of railroading your character into the role "comedic relief" and nothing else. I think that when it comes to RP, the best comedy is situational. For example, my character's not really very "funny," but that doesn't mean my RP is. Comedy can come from nothing more than having your character play the straight man in a bizarre scenario.

RP is also a written medium, so I think an important part of comedy in RP is utilizing the medium effectively. Whether it's in your character's dialogue or just your description and narration, you can make puns, use overstatement/understatement, point out the obvious, use irony and contradictions, etc.

Share this post


Link to post

Adler- It didn't even occur to me that the format of rp was contributing to my struggles! Of course when the reader sets the pace, comedic timing doesn't exist, and a whole dimension of comedy is lost...

 

Teadrinker- I once had an rp partner who would consistently sacrifice good plot threads just for the sake of a well-placed one-liner, and it got on my nerves so much. It wasn't until I read your post just now that I realize they were just doing it for the reaction. I'll tell you what, that style of rp is definitely not my favorite.

 

In this instance, for the particular character I have in mind, I wanted to marry his jokester trait to the character flaw of not being able to cope with serious/adult situations. He uses jokes to break tension or distract- except he's actually good at it and funny and not pathetic. I think that this allows for plenty of room for character growth and development. Having specific times and places to be a jokester like he does may help, but there's still the challenge of the format....

 

And Faye - that's some great advice! It seems like there's a consensus that the best way to do comedy is to pay attention to the format! Using literary techniques to create humor would take a lot of experience, but what is an rper if not a writer? And since it's less about the reaction of the rper and more about how it contributes to the story, that will probably be more effective than just straight dialogue jokes... 

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that there are many similarities to theater and RP. I disagree with your teacher's attitude towards comedy. She waits to see if comedy happens 'naturally'? There's nothing natural about it in a theater - if it's a scripted production someone had to write the script! If improv, the people up there already have the intent of producing comedy. There is no one definition to what makes good comedy, and different people find different things funny. Your teacher knew what she likes, which is fine, but it's not what everyone likes.

 

Like you said, RP is in essence improv theater. We may have a role and some general outlines, but there is no script - we're making it up as we go along. To make comedy work in RP means being able to find humor on the fly. And that doesn't mean always sitting passively, waiting for a situation to 'naturally' be funny, sometimes you have to give it a nudge, or even outright make a joke.

 

Of course, there are different kinds of humor - slapstick, sarcasm, wordplay, dark, puns... the list goes on. Some people have a particular talent for certain kinds of humor. Some things tend to work better in written form than others - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try! You may be amazed at what can elicit a laugh.

 

Certain things like timing and delivery can be tricky in RP, but not impossible. Delivery can be accomplished with emotes. Instead of looking to how comedians act on a stage or screen, try looking at what books/authors have been able to make you laugh. Examine what they wrote, how they wrote it. Think about what made those lines funny, and how you could use it to inspire your RP.

 

Some things may seem like a cheep laugh, but even an old fashioned pie to the face CAN be funny in the right place and time. Likewise, a serious character may not seem funny immediately, but think about how many jokes rely on the 'straight man' for them to work. Sometimes the serious person can be the funniest thing around.

 

Personally, I don't think it's inherently wrong to try and get someone to laugh OOCly, some of the best laughs I've ever had was because of something I found funny that my character did not. After all, isn't' that kind of what humor in RP is really about? It's all in how you go about it. In the end, we're here to have fun! Sure, there's times to be a critic, but there's also times to kick the critic to the side and just let go. You're not going to have fun if you're constantly analyzing everything you and others are saying. You probably have a stronger sense of humor than you realize, you just need to tap into it. If you think of something you find funny, then chances are there are others who will find it funny, so why not go for it? Sure, it might bomb, but it might be a hit, you won't know either way if you keep it to yourself.

 

HAVE FUN!

Edited by Tregarde

Share this post


Link to post

Make the players laugh. Rely on third-party narration to highlight a contrast between what the character is doing and the events at hand. This goes against RP orthodoxy, which suggests that third-party narration is unacceptable, but you'll need it in order to keep people from thinking your character is just really weird and inappropriate.

Share this post


Link to post

@Tregarde I'm glad to see someone shares my views on theater and rp! And i'm glad you also appreciate having fun in rp! To me that's the most important thing! :D

 

@Verad I'm not sure I understand... are you referring to third person omniscient narration? Like writing out their dialogue and then also revealing the character's internal feelings as well? I didn't realize that went against orthodoxy.... but then again I suppose my relatively limited experiences have always been very casual...

Share this post


Link to post

If a character is well rounded you shouldn't need to decide whether it's funny or not- you shouldn't have to sit there and be like "I want to play a character that can be a jokester-- is he funny guys??? Tell me he's funny ahahahah."

 

Well built characters have both; well-developed characters can play both sides without breaking who they are and what they do. Characters can be silly and entertaining around people, but have a quieter or more serious side out of the public eye- just take any introvert as an example. I know I'm a lot more vocal and 'out there' when I'm around people than the near silence I relax in whenever I take a break. Just the same you can have a relatively serious character that can have comical sides which don't even need to become across actively, but instead by situations they find themselves in that for them is perfectly serious but those oocly may find it the funniest thing all night. Characters can have bonds that bring out different sides of characters depending on who it is, where they are, what they're doing, etc. Again, like real people. If you know the player(s) of the character(s) oocly then even better, you can know what kind of thing they enjoy also and how you can play around where you'll both have a lot of fun with it. OOC communication is just as important in many ways when exploring your character; you can learn things about them and about how you want to play them without realising it.

 

Attempting to actively deliberately make a specifically 'jokester' character for that specific intent is doomed to fall on its face, honestly. Those comedians who's jokes fall flat, and those youtubers that try too hard and create something that is either too niche to appeal to those around or end up running a joke into the ground. The characters that last the longest and are the most fulfilling are the ones that flow naturally, that you take from aspects of yourself and expand upon. This isn't to say make your character the very picture of you, but say if you're very extrovert or introvert, take it from that. If you have bad habits like staying away too long until you're a zombie walking, that's something you can play with. Artist or writer? Get creative. Have an interest in mechanics or biology or even something specifically in the world that you like to learn the lore around like aether? YOU GOT IT, that's a hook. Make them a being with dreams and flaws and things they're passionate about, and let it build around that. Let the character flow and build themselves as you play and before long they'll have fleshed themselves out without you even realising it.

 

Let them be people, and you will be rewarded.

Edited by Parakeet
minor

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Donpom said:

 

@Verad I'm not sure I understand... are you referring to third person omniscient narration? Like writing out their dialogue and then also revealing the character's internal feelings as well? I didn't realize that went against orthodoxy.... but then again I suppose my relatively limited experiences have always been very casual...


Not sure if it's exactly what Verad was meaning, but a lot of role-players in MMO's are of the idea your RP should be limited to your character's perspective and what someone observing your character would see, and shouldn't include much extra narration, extensive description, or inner monologuing/any explanation of your character's thoughts, feelings, or intents. I very much disagree with that perspective, though, and lots of comedic RP can come from disregarding it. (I.E.: "I'm very calm!" She was not.)

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, Faye said:


Not sure if it's exactly what Verad was meaning, but a lot of role-players in MMO's are of the idea your RP should be limited to your character's perspective and what someone observing your character would see, and shouldn't include much extra narration, extensive description, or inner monologuing/any explanation of your character's thoughts, feelings, or intents. I very much disagree with that perspective, though, and lots of comedic RP can come from disregarding it. (I.E.: "I'm very calm!" She was not.)

 

 

It depends, really. By all means narrate things that others could actually pick up: body language, how they speak (tone, pitch, is it booming or shaky?) or if they're fiddling with their clothes or other objects. As in the above example:

 

Quote

(I.E.: "I'm very calm!" She was not.)

 

 

I love doing this, it can be funny and adds something to the RP- and others around them would likely be able to see this with again, things like the sound of their voice or their body language. The problem comes with things like this:

 

Quote

He looked at the woman across the room, it was the one he had seen before that time when he was drunk with his friends over at the bazaar celebration. Would they notice him? He wasn't sure but he knew that if there was any chance of getting out alive he would have to get ready to move. He thought to himself if his chocobo was ready outside... it must have been, he had sent it to the stable that morning for grooming.

1

 

Sure this could be interesting, but it's not anything that anybody can actually use without godmodding or being able to otherwise read the character's mind. Personally, I'm not going to get on somebody I RP with if they're having fun with a little monologuing, however I do tend to caution too much because there will be those who will jump on you because you mentioned in it that you were from a certain place or a certain group (like Ala Mhigans or Garleans) that their character doesn't like or that you gave away that you were actually a wanted criminal in the area that was disguised so nobody would recognise you. Sure, you can just call them out on it, but it's generally easier to prevent it happening in the first place- especially if you come onto the game to RP and relax at the end of a difficult day.

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Parakeet said:

Sure this could be interesting, but it's not anything that anybody can actually use without godmodding or being able to otherwise read the character's mind. Personally, I'm not going to get on somebody I RP with if they're having fun with a little monologuing, however I do tend to caution too much because there will be those who will jump on you because you mentioned in it that you were from a certain place or a certain group (like Ala Mhigans or Garleans) that their character doesn't like or that you gave away that you were actually a wanted criminal in the area that was disguised so nobody would recognise you. Sure, you can just call them out on it, but it's generally easier to prevent it happening in the first place- especially if you come onto the game to RP and relax at the end of a difficult day.

 

I'm aware of the various opinions on that matter and that people feel this way. Again, as I said, I don't agree, and it's no rule of RP nor is it any real part of RP etiquette. I like to focus more on the "writing" aspect of RP at times. The things I write are fist and foremost for the OOC enjoyment of myself and my RP partner(s) before they are meant to be just a factual play-by-play of events for another person to take in IC. Obviously, anytime you allude to any information others might metagame, but that's just a personal risk someone has to choose or not choose to take. None of this is really on topic, though.

Edited by Faye

Share this post


Link to post

@AegirOh yikes! I'm sorry! I didnt mean to start a thread that caused anyone distress :(

 

@Parakeet (1st post) Hey, I appreciate your input! I think you're right- a character that's written to be funny just for the sake of being funny is just like what my acting teacher said about a comedy being written for the sake of comedy- it will only appeal to a certain audience, and ultimately seem two-dimensional. That being said, there is value in two-dimensional characters, they just aren't going to go very far for very long. Often times, once the desired reaction is achieved, a joke character has served their purpose and interest is quickly lost. 

 

However, I don't think there's anything wrong with making a character that you intend to be a jokester with funny jokes. I think part of the issue I presented originally was kind of along the same vein as someone trying to write a very smart character when the rper themself is dumb as hell. Being smart or being funny is a desired trait that can have value and help make a toon very well fleshed, but then there's the limitations of the person behind the mask as well. Like i mentioned, in this particular case, I want the typically positive trait of being a funnyman to be more like an unhealthy coping mechanism, but you can't exactly blame me for wanting him to be good at what he does regardless!

 

The particular character himself is still in the early brainstorming phase though, and I wanted to field the question about comedy in general to sate some curiosity and maybe get some good advice. And so far it HAS been good advice! Wow!

 

@FayeI can certainly see how third person narration can help make things more humorous! I actually prefer third-person narration that grants insight into a character's feelings, and I find it handy, but then again, I do most of my rp in paragraph form outside of the game. I'm not aware of what's a faux pas or not in a dialogue-driven in-game rp! You and @Parakeet (2nd post) are doing a good job illustrating effective ways to do it well and make smart exceptions! Parakeet, your third quote here looks like telling a good story was pretty high on op's priority list, perhaps just as high as getting a good interaction, and I have to admit, I often tend to be that way too!

Share this post


Link to post

@Donpom It's okay, I was joking \0/

 

Your teacher sounds like... you know how ever cartoon series has that episode where one of the side characters decide to go to CLOWN SCHOOL and the teacher is this super serious sad clown that wants to dissect the concept of humor into like a math equation? They always end up brainwashing the students into rejecting their own notion of humor and then train them in some boring as shit avant-garde French style of humor? I don't know if I'd pay attention to your teacher. French people aren't funny.

 

One thing that bothers me about this thread is there's this insinuation that a character or plot that employs humor is one-note, or two-dimensional, and that the writer is going to actively work against the other RPers to stifle the plot for the sake of a 'one liner.' Everyone misreads the room once in awhile, or maybe they shoot out a post at the exact same second someone else posts something and the tones totally clash, but we're all trying to cooperate with each other to have fun and engaging RPs. Being dismissive of one type of character - whatever their style is - can seriously limit your interactions and you might lose out on some awesome RP.

 

My FC has three types of plots: pure comedy, dark and serious, and in-between. In-between is the majority of the stuff we do. And I think most people are like that. They're somewhere in-between. If I had to be serious all the time, I'd be so bored. I'd be even more bored if I had to be funny all the time. I've made some great RP partners who had had attitudes about 'comedy,' and after RPing with me they'll be like: 'oh, cool, you CAN write a serious scene!' And I'm like: tee-hee, you're a dick <3 

Share this post


Link to post
11 minutes ago, Aegir said:

One thing that bothers me about this thread is there's this insinuation that a character or plot that employs humor is one-note, or two-dimensional, and that the writer is going to actively work against the other RPers to stifle the plot for the sake of a 'one liner.' Everyone misreads the room once in awhile, or maybe they shoot out a post at the exact same second someone else posts something and the tones totally clash, but we're all trying to cooperate with each other to have fun and engaging RPs. Being dismissive of one type of character - whatever their style is - can seriously limit your interactions and you might lose out on some awesome RP.


I don't think anyone was insinuating that per se, at least I wasn't. However, trying to build your character around eliciting a single, specific OOC reaction from the people you role-play with whether it's "make them laugh" or "make them sad" often creates characters who lack in depth as well as miss their intended mark. That's why no one's advice was "don't write comedy" but rather to add more to the character, to draw humor from more in the RP than just the character telling jokes, and not try too hard to make the RP funny above all else.

Share this post


Link to post

@DonpomOh by all means, two-dimensional characters have their place and I have used many, many of them as NPCs for the RP plots that I run- but the thing is as you said, that is the limit. It seems like a waste to spend the time to make a PC you know will not last and that may be excellent in certain scenarios but will otherwise limit you to where you can reasonably RP and what you can reasonably do.

 

When it comes to things you don't know, the internet is your friend-- though as is imagination and a touch of improvisation. One of the characters I play is a character that is a respectably high ranking Garlean doctor, essentially that focuses largely on magitek prosthesis and augmentation. Before I started playing I had a little bit of an idea from medical training, though most of it? Google. Researching and learning more so I could not only figure out ways to do certain things but use it as inspiration to play with ideas and concepts that simply do not exist in the real world. Have fun with it! There were so many times in RP I ended up either looking something up in the middle of a post I was writing or just going "Screw it, we'll do it live!" It's created aspects of my character that I never thought of before. Plus, you can learn some really interesting things in general.

 

When it comes to the 'jokester' characters they can be fun but I'm not sure if that should be your main focus for it. Don't make it the base, but figure out a way for it to mesh onto the side of what you already have. How old is he? What does he do? Why does he struggle to cope otherwise/what brought him to find that comedy was an effective way to play it off? I'll use my character above, Adlai, as an example as he can sometimes deal with things similarly:

 

How old is he? He's 30.
Why is it relevant? Because while he's seen a lot of things there is a whole lot more and he hasn't had the years behind him to help give him a wiser view and help him deal with such things.

What does he do? He's the head of the medical side of a castrum.
Why is this relevant? Because he has a stressful job looking after and developing new things while having to ensure the wellbeing of himself, his staff and his patients.

Why does he struggle to cope otherwise? His nerves were shot from previous events and are overall an incredible anxious creature.
Why is this relevant? When he doesn't have to be professional and serious it is easier to use comedy to write off something, distract from it or otherwise dissipate the tension.

 

This is of course only the most basic of things to begin with for example's sake. It's all just a very tiny part of him. It's like a bonus feature that makes things more interesting but wouldn't destroy what my character what without it. I guess that's really what I'm going for here. If that is the only thing going for a character and it would fall apart without it? It's best to place it aside and then add it later when it has something to truly mix with.

 

In regards to my second post, I feel that while they may have been wanting to tell a good story, it excludes those who are interacting with them at the time. If they wanted to tell those around them ICly what they did then by all means do so and give the characters a chance to listen and respond. Storytelling is a wonderful thing and it's something that we all do simply by RPing, but make it with the characters that yours is interacting with rather than despite them.

Finally, what @Aegir said is pretty much spot on-- and having that variance and balance in plots types is incredibly important. Not having that flexibility can easily kill a plot or a group idea.

Edited by Parakeet

Share this post


Link to post

@Aegiroh no, don't say that! What if a french person is reading this! Sacre bleu! O.o Haha, the point of this thread was hopefully to find out how to create humor and comedy in rp without it becoming flat or empty, or disruptive. Folks like Faye and myself, and plenty of others, have had that experience, where our partners used comedy for a quick laugh, but rather than enrich the experience, it detracted from it in the long run. I agree that every type of character can have value, but there are better ways of going about things, and worse ways. If I'm going to do it, I want to make sure to do it well, so that everyone involved can have a good time. ^_^

 

@Parakeetit's one thing to ask the internet about smart doctor stuff, but it's a whole other thing to ask the internet how to be funny......... if it were that easy, I wouldn't have this problem! But humor is nuance! And, the speed you're going when it comes to making up characters, I'm right there with you. I'm right there buddy, I love going deeper and deeper and fully in-depth while creating characters. If you're interested in hearing the details of my toon, perhaps I could regale you with them in a PM, or maybe a new forum thread. But I'm afraid this thread itself may be a bit misleading; the topic of the forum thread is comedy, but the main theme of the character I'm writing isn't comedy! Being jokey is just a facet of him- albeit an important one since dialogue is pretty central to rp usually- but it's just one piece that I was struggling with. 

Share this post


Link to post

Comedy really is something that is inherently there and a part of people, even if for some it can take a little thought to tap into properly. It's inside you all along! There are those that naturally are really good with it and can write things off the bat in general or into characters without a second thought. I like to think that when I write things like that it's pretty good? Admittedly I've made a ridiculous amount of characters over the years and some just did not work no matter how I tried to play them or what I tried to do. Really though it's up to those who I'm with whether it gels well with the situation, though having a knack for understanding and reading the RP, the plot and the inclinations of those that you're interacting with makes all the difference.

 

By all means hit me up and throw me what you have and I'd be happy to see how I can help if you're up for it.

Share this post


Link to post

Comedy is timing, but it's also character demeanor, state of mind, reactions. My players like to dip into the lolrandumb type of humor for their toons, which I generally allow. Whereas my character plays the straight man more often, usually going along with their shenanigans, but also deriving comedy from him gradually getting worn down. His patience slowly eroding into disbelief and his resignation with how current RP event is his life now.

 

So basically, Charlie the Unicorn. Good comedy is improv, like all RP, and hinges on your ability to riff off of each other and provide contrasts to each other. It's also vital to have players who accept consequences - stupid actions should lead to fitting punishments.  Which I've also inflicted on them, often. 

Edited by Kieron Lohengrin

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, Aegir said:

@Donpom Your teacher sounds like... [she] wants to dissect the concept of humor into like a math equation?

 

Yes! That's basically what I was thinking, but just couldn't think of how to phrase it.

 

I think this thread has shown that there are many perspectives on comedy, and what can make for good comedy in RP (and in some cases what makes for good or bad RP in general). In the end, you've got to be willing to take some risks. You also have to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, and visa-versa. Don't get discouraged if something bombs, even the best comedians have had bombs - and any successful comedian will tell you that they've had to work through it to get where they are now.

 

There is some skill to comedy, and you can only hone a skill with practice and experience. We can't all be like the cast on 'Who's Line is it Anyway?' (though it is a fantastic example of improv at its best), or write like Terry Pratchett (my he rest in peace), but we don't have to be. Find your voice, what works for you.

 

As for a character who does 'comedy for the sake of comedy'... well, there really are people like that! It may sound like a character without depth, but think about it - why is this person trying so hard to make people laugh? What does the character do when the jokes are successful, what about when they fail? Maybe the character needs to learn when to ease up on the silliness, it could be part of the character's development. We don't always need to start a character as well-rounded, it can happen over time as the character learns and matures. Sometimes growth is half the fun in RP.

 

Sure, a character may be a little annoying, but sometimes an annoying character can be part of good RP. Our characters don't have to like each other - I've known players that I adored OOC, but our characters haaated each other! Sometimes you may need a little OOC communication so people understand what your intentions are.

Edited by Tregarde

Share this post


Link to post

While I am a hard core RPer, it is very serious for me, I am also a fool, a joker and a clown. So, my RP tends to be laced by comedy in a number of ways..

 

1. Breaking the 4th Wall - While within the context of the RP all is sensible I am likely to lace it with things that seen from outside of that are funny. An easy example is references to other things, very easy are quotes from star wars.. hey.. it's a thing!

 

2. Making my character the butt of the joke is often the case, such as spells backfiring, loosing a fight (or maybe winning) in a humerus way. Which reminds me that things like combat, the best RP is is loosing.. winning is no fun! This can be subtle or slapstick.. as mood and situation allows.

 

3. Irony is also a good vein of humour, and putting your characters in situations that accentuate this. (the black mage doing an eye test, the summoner with a wilful fairy, th red mage who hates the sight of blood).. okay maybe some of those play with stereotypes.

 

Having now thought about this I suppose my RP humour is largely from an  OOC audience perspective. Which in most cases is dark as it involved IC misfortune.

 

 

Also, writing in a style like Pratchett .. emotes as narration, which some may frown at but.. For the Humour! 

 

If you don't know who Pratchett is.. you are in the wrong topic.

Edited by Nebbs

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, Donpom said:

 

@Verad I'm not sure I understand... are you referring to third person omniscient narration? Like writing out their dialogue and then also revealing the character's internal feelings as well? I didn't realize that went against orthodoxy.... but then again I suppose my relatively limited experiences have always been very casual...

 

In the interest of giving an example, I shall take one of my jokes and slaughter it at the altar of over-explanation.

 

When I am not running a storyline, I put Verad in the Quicksand and have him sell junk to strangers. These are obvious pieces of garbage or amusingly weird curios which he passes off as "dubious goods." 

Most of these pitches are scripted in advance in some way on my part - I can get away with a lot of repetition because the population of the Quicksand is pretty fluid, especially given the high number of ERP alts. I will use one of my most common pitches as an example: Imitation Fool's Gold.

 

The first hook is in the name itself. It's a concept that sounds immediately and automatically absurd if you're in any way familiar with what fool's gold is. It's already "fake gold," so why would I need a fake version of that? Is he selling actual gold in reverse or something else? So the first part of the joke is to create a hook that prompts the other person in the conversation to keep asking.

When the customer/victim does ask what I mean by imitation fool's gold, I provide an example. I don't have this exact phrase written out in advance, but the following usually occurs: 

"Verad reaches into the space around his belt, rummaging around a disturbingly roomy set of pouches. He produces what is obviously a rock that has been painted gold. Some of the paint has chipped off."

 

When i say "omniscient" narration in this case, I'm using a mild form of it in the adverbs. To suggest that the pouches are "disturbingly roomy" indicates that there's something unsettling about how much space he has available despite not carrying a large sack or having a stall for his wares. There might be other crimes against retail lurking in there. "Obviously" indicates that the "imitation fool's gold" is so badly put together that even an idiot would notice it.

 

Some players do not like this, even in mild form, because I am telling them what their character thinks. I think these are very necessary to help highlight that the entire situation is absurd. If Verad rummages around a "roomy set of pouches," it's just an action. If it's "disturbingly roomy" it becomes weird.

From there, if the customer has not threatened Verad's life or asked him if he has any other products available, he continues to explain the possible uses of imitation fool's gold, e.g. "It's just the thing for when you need real fool's gold, but haven't any to spare." Because of course there are many uses for regular fool's gold; Verad likes to give the concrete example that "What if you have a ransom situation, and they only need gold in payment, but of course you don't want to give them gold so you use fool's gold as a decoy, but you don't have any fool's gold! Well, then you'll be very glad you bought several ponze of imitation fool's gold at only five gil to the onze, won't you?"

By this point the customer's will has broken and they either pay Verad to go away or give him money for "selling the junk so well" and ask him if he has anything else. The routine then proceeds with another member of the Quicksand, often with a different product since other people are listening and to avoid repetition.

 

Most of the actual joke is in the difference between what Verad says the product is and what it actually does (nothing) or in how it's a very bad version of what he says it is. In order to make that clear, I have to rely on the inclusion of third-party omniscient narration in small-to-medium doses depending on the complexity of the item. That highlights the difference between his words and the reality of the situation.

 

The interesting thing about this to me, and why I keep writing this stuff years after introducing him, is that in real life he'd be a very goofy prop comic, but because I'm working through a written medium I can use a style that, coupled with his own overwrought speech mannerisms, pulls the material into the realm of dry prose comedy in the style of Pratchett and Adams (both major inspirations and it still hurts). I think you'll find that written comedy often has to rely on highlighting the absurdity of the situation in the narration of the text, and often does in a very dry manner. It's a style that works well in roleplay, because the narration often seems as annoyed or embarrassed or confused in describing the material as the customer is in listening to it.

 

This, at least, is my style, and it works. The number of tells I get from players saying they enjoyed it confirms that much. Your own may vary.

As for @Faye mentioning that comedic characters are one note, I half-agree. Verad is currently in a storyline in which he has realized exactly how one-note he is and is having a crisis of identity because of it.

On the other hand, it's a very pleasing note to my ears, so he's probably not going to give it up.

 

Edited by Verad

Share this post


Link to post

@Tregarde I can't really blame my teacher for being the way she was, since she was a producer for theatrical plays, and her livelihood did depend on productions appealing to the most amount of people and bringing in larger audiences. That's just life! Comedy is a gamble! :P And now that you've pointed it out, I have had characters that started out as two-dimensional gag characters or simple plot device characters, that grew to become some of my favorite pcs after their unexpected development. Once you name them, there's no going back.....

 

@Nebbs I think that making 4th wall references can be very fun and funny too! Keeping things lighthearted in the meta definitely contributes to a fun experience! I wonder if that's enough of a smokescreen for me to get away with not writing funny dialogue.... haha! But based on what you've shared, I'm already thinking of ways that putting a jokester character in an ironic or situationally comedic scenario would highlight their humor in different ways than it would a Serious Steve or a Debbie Downer! This is a good perspective!

 

@Verad Thank you for your sacrifice! It perfectly illustrates your point, and I like this insight into your character! Although I still struggle to understand why people would get upset at you for using flavor text to help define a situation. If anything, it only enhances the experience! Your character is communicating to the world- probably unintentionally- that he's a bit shady because of his choice of big big pouches, and your descriptions ought to carry as much weight as your dialogue! It seems like those types of people are just getting upset that you're not giving them complete control of the scenario, even though you're the one who instigated rp in the first place with a WTS call out!

Share this post


Link to post

The comedy I see in most scenes typically comes from characters just being themselves to a fun degree. Like my original persona was someone who was lore-wise "handsome" and attractive without him ever knowing it. The stereotypical "senpai" of an anime so to speak. However I couldn't just tell everyone in my scenes to obsess over my char or do any of that, it would be a bit manipulative or controlling. So instead as part of his schtick, on occasion I would type out scenes in more lewd detail than they really were. For example, I have a scene where my char was invited to eat in that lil area of Ul'dah next to the airship port. Upon drinking his orange juice and shepard's pie, I started also adding in excessive detail to the gravy, his tongue, how he would penetrate his steak a certain way with his fork and etc... Albeit becoming obvious after the first time I elaborated in detail, it was enjoyable to type out and the audience found it humorous enough too. However it wasn't anything too abnormal, I stuck to my character's personality and etc too, it was just the descriptions and scene detail that painted a humorous atmosphere. Sometimes it's between just being your character's self as much as possible and separating that from the setting for a moment. Or at least, exaggerating it so the scene looks more bizarre than it probably is to the audience.

 

 

The only other example I can think of are cases where my new characters are overly blunt. A group will be talking rationally about something, nodding heads, a casual conversation, and I'll wait for a moment that sounds fitting for my character to speak and just apply something he would say to a whole new level. Not so far as to going into "lol random" humor, but enough to make your character's presence/personality shine out in the moment. Like an example would be a group of sketchy civilians planning a plot to assassinate someone and using lingo around it to hint they're going to kill someone. And then a moment later after everyone seems clear, one of my chars would go ".... So wait, we're gonna decapitate 'em right?" only to cause the rest of the group to facepalm for all the effort that was put in to convey the idea already. Being blunt works for a lot of characters, maybe not the more intelligent ones but the intelligent ones pave the road nicely to set up a scene perfectly for you.

 

The most recent example of humor I came across was my current main RP'ing during that Dragon's Quest event. He was on top of a waterfall gazing down and two strangers appeared near him going crazy. A cowboy and a ninja, were fighting each other and chasing each other all over and my character was just silent as can be, staring at them both like they're crazy. They were both RP'ing recklessly with the cowboy throwing bombs to and fro, the ninja throwing knives everywhere, and my character just stood in his place not moving a muscle, occasionally shielding himself whenever something would affect him in the scene. It was less of a punchline or joke that made the scene humorous but more-so the exaggeration taking place that made my main look like he was the most normal of the bunch there. I remember it being a hilarious instance though because it's not every day you see a cowboy and a ninja trying to kill each other over a hat and you're just trying to get some damn peace and quiet LOL.

 

 

Overall I'd say just let your character(s) be themselves and take the opportunities to shine when they come about in the scene(s). At the same time, do so without it affecting someone else negatively, controlling them, or anything that would be negative to you as an RP'er. I know one thing that people often complain about is hen a hero comes into a situation between a villain and a civilian, because often times 50 people have been waiting for that moment and want to jump in but it ends up being rude to intrude instead. The same could probably apply if you're doing a group session and multiple people are trying to pull comedy out of it. In the end, you shouldn't try to force comedy, just be your char and let the opportunity present itself.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...