“People should look at comedies as dramas when they’re writing [them]. They should be a story that would work just as well without any jokes.” — Judd Apatow in just-popped (3.1.18) Masterclass trailer.
I’ve been saying this all along. A good comedy is just as story-savvy, character-rich and well-motivated as a good drama. Good comedies and dramas both need strong third-act payoffs. Take away the jokes, the broad business and the giggly schtick, and a successful comedy will still hold water in dramatic terms. But most comedic writers, it seems, start with an amusing premise, then add the laugh material, and then, almost as an afterthought, weave in a semblance of a story along with some motivation and a third-act crescendo that feels a little half-assed.
Remember Amy Schumer‘s eulogy at her dad’s funeral in Trainwreck? Exactly.