Comedy comes in several basic styles and each comedian usually concentrates on the particular style that suits them. That is not to say they can't or don't dabble in the other styles, but sometimes a particular style is so suited to a comedian - and they get so used to it, that they prefer not to change. Also, their audience expects a certain style of humor and would be disappointed if they changed.
Black comedy takes the naturally tragic or serious circumstances of life and makes jokes of them. While some people find this distasteful or upsetting, others find that it uplifts them to be able to laugh about a situation that would otherwise have them upset.
If you feel like poking fun at the establishment and ridiculing figures of authority, then satire is more your style of comedy. But satire does more than just make fun of politicians; it is usually a way of disagreeing with a political view and offering another one.
Parody works well with many writers and comedians. This is when they mimic another person, usually exaggerating them or their manner to the point of ridicule. The only trouble with this style of comedy is that the audience must know what the original was like before they can see the joke. Therefore, it's not likely to work.
Many sitcoms are based on irony, where an unplanned situation results from a carefully planned scene. Many of the older types of comedy styles are still popular today, as we see with the Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin movies or short routines that were based on slapstick humor. They mainly rely on the use of funny antics and misunderstandings for their humor.
There are also the personal styles such as stand-up or improv (short for improvisation). These are more personality styles, because a comedian who is good at one rarely enjoys doing the other. The script for a stand-up comedian is well structured and he rarely departs from it. To do so would jeopardize the punch line or the humor of the routine. He usually works alone - or at least he takes care of all the funny parts, though others may be props in the scene.
Improv is largely unstructured with the comedian not relying on prepared material. With improv you must share the limelight and each one depends on the other a great deal. A comedian who has a disorganized personality will probably enjoy improv as they don't need to be organized with their routine. The downside is that one can say or do something that is not in the script and so the other is caught at a disadvantage. While the audience might enjoy his discomfiture, he rarely does.
Writing Comedy to Make People Laugh their Heads Off
Just how funny are you? There are plenty of people out there who think they are funny, but they suck. Then there are people who really are funny - apart from their work as a comedian. They are constantly joking around and playing gags on others. Laughing and making others laugh is their normal, everyday life.
There are also people who are really funny onstage, but in their private lives they don't crack jokes and raise laughs every minute. In fact, they may be serious people - some are even shy, quiet people you would never dream of being comedians. Others are funny all the time, whether they are on the stage or off it. They realized that they had an innate ability to crack people up and they love doing it. Still others are really funny people, but they are not comedians and don't aspire to be on the stage at all.
But all successful comedians have one thing in common. On the stage, they can make people laugh. Some only have to walk onto the stage and people start to laugh before they even speak. So do you have what it takes?
Many comedians start out writing their own material, but if they just can't see the funny side of things this may not be a good idea. A comedian might be able to present material in a way that makes people laugh, but if the material he or she presents is not all that funny, then success will be elusive - or non-existent. Many successful comedians depend on good writers for their material.
So if you really want to be a comedian, yet people don't seem to be impressed, it may be that the material is not right for you, or perhaps it is not even all that funny. In this case you would be well advised to use material that someone else writes for you. If you 'steal' another comedian's material, you could get into trouble.
The best reason for being a comedian is because you love doing it. If you get into the business to make money or become famous, you're likely to be seriously disappointed. Those things may come to you if you are good - and persevere, but don't count on it. If you are fulfilling an ambition and doing what you love to do, then it won't matter if they don't come, you'll still be happy.