The Rule of Three in Comedy

Have you ever seen a comic, or comedy troupe, repeat a bit over, and over, and over, till the blatant unfunniness was painful to observe? Lately, that is change into nearly the norm, particularly on reveals like “Saturday Evening Reside.” If the comedy writers had identified concerning the Rule of Three, and higher but had adopted it, they may have prevented the issue and truly had the humorous skit that that they had meant.

Briefly, the Rule of Three is: do not repeat a little bit of comedy greater than 3 times. When carried out proper, the primary time will be humorous, the second time funnier, and the third time can construct as much as a crescendo of comedy. A fourth time, nevertheless, and it is the comedy equal of beating a useless horse — the horse does not react, and neither does the viewers — not less than not in a great way.

Consider the nice comedians of the previous — whether or not you consider people like Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Purple Skelton, W. C. Fields and Jimmy Durante, or comedy groups just like the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy — are you able to consider them “beating a horse” in that manner? No; it was one thing that they realized the arduous manner, performing in entrance of dwell audiences and adjusting their humor based mostly on the viewers’s reactions.

This doesn’t suggest {that a} comic, humorist, speaker or clown cannot repeat a mannerism greater than 3 times — apparent examples are Jack Benny’s gradual, elongated, “Effectively!” or Baron Munchausen’s “Was you there, Charlie?” which they repeated lots of of occasions throughout their careers — however not often greater than three occasions in a given efficiency, if that many.

Selection is the spice of life, however the previous saying that “brevity is the soul of wit” nonetheless rings true. It does not matter if it is performing in entrance of youngsters or adults, in entrance of a Rotary Membership or nationwide tv, the Rule of Three nonetheless holds true.

It also needs to be talked about that the Rule of Three is not restricted to verbal humor. If you happen to’re doing slapstick comedy — something from throwing or receiving a pie within the face, or a kick within the posterior like Charlie Chaplin, and even the Three Stooges’ patented eye-poke routine — the Rule of Three nonetheless applies. How lengthy would a Three Stooges quick movie be humorous if Moe started poking Curly within the eye, then Larry, then Curly once more, then Larry once more… on and on for fifteen minutes?

In abstract, everybody wants to use the Rule of Three to maintain their humor quick, humorous, and memorable!

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