The world we live in isn’t perfect and to be honest, although every day we all strive for perfection in one way or another, our lives would probably be pretty boring if Utopia did exist for us. The simple truth is, bad things happen all the time and as human beings we are designed to deal with these events in different ways. We all process information differently depending on our personality and the experiences that have shaped us and as such, not everybody is going to react to bad news in the same way. Ultimately we are pretty tough creatures and it is our instinct to survive and we’ll do whatever we need to, with some exceptions, to live another day.
An example would be when a close family member or friend dies. We cry, often uncontrollably. We mourn. We remember the good times. We go through all the stages of grief, but hopefully, at some point in time, we are able to move on. We finally wake up one day without that horrible experience being the first thing on our mind. We put one foot in front of the other and get on with our life.
Humor is one of those great wonders we are blessed with that can help. Even in the darkest of places a witty line can suddenly put things into perspective and help to get us through a tough day. It doesn’t have to be a joke, maybe just a comical observation or random, surreal thought. Whatever it is, that moment of comedy works like a band aid and helps lift the tension. This principle is also true when it comes to screenwriting.
Audiences love to laugh. Now sometimes it may not be appropriate but that could be the best time to insert a subtle gag or some light-hearted comic relief into your script. Okay, this may not be the greatest of ideas for certain sensitive subjects and scenes but why not give it a try and lighten the mood with a quip. Sarcasm is human nature and wit might lift an otherwise flat moment in your screenplay. Sometimes people laugh uncontrollably simply out of nervousness and not being able to digest the dark information that has just been fed to them. And this can also create great comedy, especially if someone laughs at an inappropriate moment because this causes conflict and as we all know, conflict is crucial to creating an engaging story and three-dimensional characters.