Let’s be honest, sometimes projects can get a little stale. When this happens, perhaps you try to brainstorm possible solutions. But even that only turns up the kind of “been-there-done-that” ideas that no one is excited about.
THIS is where the power of humor comes in.
Humor has the ability to remove the guardrails from our thinking. For example, isn’t it a lot more interesting to allow brainstorming that says – what is the most ridiculous thing that could happen now?
Sometimes, what you come up with is not that ridiculous after all. In fact, it actually makes the whole thing work!
This commercial spot that One Floor Up created for Sunwest Credit Union is a great example of this kind of thinking outside the box. It’s absurd, yes. But that’s what makes it so comical and endearing.
WHY IT WORKS
Throughout this series, I’ve referred to the work of renowned comedy expert and teacher, Steve Kaplan. Here’s his explanation of comedy as a “world view”:
Your characters see things in specific, unique ways. Acting on the way they see things creates comic behavior.
Lisa Kudrow on the NPR show Fresh Air said that her approach to the character of Phoebe on Friends was that she (Phoebe) was “unreasonably optimistic and cheerful about absolutely everything.” She saw things in the best light, even when there was little reason or evidence to do so.
The “seeing” created comic behavior, rather than simply playing the label of “kooky” or “ditsy”. And it’s not only interacting with the other characters in the script, but interacting in specific ways with everything in the character’s environment.
In the Sunwest video, (similar to Phoebe on Friends) the employee is unreasonably optimistic and cheerful, and is WAY more invested in his client than business norms would dictate.
When we smile and laugh, it creates a comfortable and receptive atmosphere. This goes a long way towards forging an authentic connection with our audience.
It’s been fun to take a closer look at using humor in video. Thanks for coming along for the ride! Do you have any favorite examples? When I reached out to the One Floor Up team with this question, Cody shared this gem from Doritos. We’d love to hear from you too!
I leave you with one of my favorite interactions from the classically clever duo, Dr. Watson & Sherlock Holmes:
Holmes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. “Watson” he says, “look up in the sky and tell me what you see.”
“I see millions of stars, Holmes,” says Watson.
“And what do you conclude from that, Watson?”
Watson thinks for a moment. “Well,” he says, “astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignificant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?”
“Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”