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The Dinky Grey Dismantler
He is adorable. D’awwww! I can’t even! But be warned: if you get too close, maybe to pat his lovable head, or to poke your finger into his canny sideways little mouth-slot, lined as it is with loads of wubbly ickle teeth, he will shred you like you’re a crispy aromatic duck and he is a pair of forks. And even as you lie there in pieces, looking like a grisly, wet jigsaw of yourself, part of you will still be thinking “OMG so CUTE!”. (In case you’re wondering which part of you will be thinking that, it’s that part over there, lying on the floor in a puddle its own juices BECAUSE YOU GOT TOO CLOSE!)

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The Big Hairy Hassle
Occasionally you will wake up and find a Big Hairy Hassle has come and sat himself down in your house, maybe in the front room, or the kitchen. He’s sitting there, emitting low-pitched grumbly-moaning noises, and taking up valuable space. You can get rid of a Big Hairy Hassle, but it’s a bit of a pain. You have to get various ingredients, boil them in the right kind of pot, recite a particular spell at a certain time, etc etc. You know, it’s doable but it’s a bit of a bother, frankly. By the time they die most people have got three or four Big Hairy Hassles living in their house that they’ve just kind of got used to.

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The Therewolf
The main problem with werewolves is that you’re never sure where to find them. They are brilliant at hiding, which is why nobody’s ever actually seen one. Therewolves are really easy to find. They are just there. No, not there. There. No, you’re looking in the wrong direction. There it is. There.

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Big Spider
Normal spiders are horrifying enough but just look at this one. IT’S GOT A FACE! AND TOES! Imagine how icky a spider’s toes might be, then realise that this one has got 8 x 6 toes! How icky is that? YOU DO THE MATHS! (Because I literally can’t. 8 x 6 – what, is that… 30-something? A lot of toes anyhow.)
Also, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but this spider is definitely not more scared of you than you are of him.

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Frankenstein’s Leftovers
You know how it is: on Sunday you have all the ingredients for something really special, but on Monday you’ve got to make do with whatever didn’t get used the day before: one torso and five evil/insane/evil and insane legs. He painted a face on it so it would look friendlier. It is quite good at football, and has no brain, just like a footballer.

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Satan’s Cheerleader
If you ever find yourself trying, really trying, to do something, you may hear the flapping of leather wings above you. If you look up, you might catch a glimpse of Satan’s Cheerleader, cheerily letting you know that you’re rubbish at whatever it is you’re attempting. I heard those wings just now, and a cry of “my face isn’t that wonky, you cack-handed imbecile”. I just smiled and kept on drawing.

How to Write a Comedy Sketch

“…the room is full of milkmen, some of whom are very… old.”

A few handy hints and tips for the aspiring sketch writer, from an aspiring sketch writer.

The best sketches are generally those with a clear and simple purpose or idea behind them:

    Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch: Cleese wants to return a parrot, Palin doesn’t want to let him.

    Armstrong and Miller Fighter Pilots: Contrasting the stiff-upper-lip attitude of WW2 with the perceived lazy and entitled youth of the noughties.

    Two Ronnies Fork Handles – Customer persistently asks for goods which sound like other good. Hilarity ensues. (For about the first two minutes of what is an eight minute sketch)

These sketches set out their controlling idea and stick to it, exploring the ramifications and never deviating. This is good.

Work out what your sketch is ABOUT, and if there’s bits of your sketch that aren’t about that, then maybe you’ve written two sketches which need surgically separating.

Unless you want your sketch to be a meandering bit of banter between two characters, you’re going to have to give those characters wants and/or needs. That’s what will drive your sketch, and how you’ll know you’ve got to the end, because your characters will either:

a) have what they want
or, more likely
b) have failed utterly.

With hilarious consequences, of course.

By which I mean, if the joke in your sketch does not arise from the character or the situation, and can stand alone, it probably doesn’t belong in there. Set it free.

That last one is important. Comedy is too potent a weapon to be aimed at the powerless, no matter how annoying you might find them. Punch upwards! Fight the power! Don’t kick a social group when they’re down. If your sketch is about how stupid, evil and lazy chavs are, and look, they eat Greggs pasties and shop at Primark the idiots then well done. You just gave David Cameron an erection, and you know what he does when he has one of those. Your sketch just fucked a pig.

Keep your characterisations and references up to date. Shop workers don’t call customers “sir” any more. The police don’t say “ello ello ello”. Doctors don’t say “and what seems to be the problem?” any more. The great sketches reflect their times; yours should reflect our time.

I don’t care how camp they are. This isn’t 1975. Gayness should no more be a defining character trait than straightness.

The punchline is in there, and it’s probably not a pun. Also avoid the following endings “I’ve heard of… but this is ridiculous”, “Get out!”, and “You’re fired!”. I’ve done two out of those three ad I still feel dirty.

Some of us have seen what happens when you stick a reference to a recent tragedy/atrocity into a sketch for shits and giggles, and it’s not pretty. Alienating an audience is easy. Getting them back onside is not, and if they feel you’re just pushing their buttons with no good reason they are going to hate you.

This is really important. If you have an idea for a sketch, get it written. And then, and this is important, get it rewritten. This takes the pressure off the first draft. The first draft will most likely not be as funny as you thought it would be. And that’s fine! That’s normal. If you really want to take the pressure off, try to write the shittest version of your idea. Anything to get it down on paper. This will also allow the next few ideas to come bubbling to the surface of your mind. Then you can get them written too. And then rewritten. And so on…