24 – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams pt. 2 – How to Write Funny

In the second part of my analysis of Hitchhikers I extract micro and macro techniques for creating comedy. (You don’t need to have listened to the 1st part for this to make sense).

Micro comedy techniques include:

  1. Garden Path – lead readers to expect a certain outcome, then deliver another.
  2. Emphasis on what comes last
    • Not so much a humour technique, but generally the last word in a paragraph has the most impact. (like we saw in that last quote)
  3. Literal Mis-interpretation: take a term normally used just to convey an idea, then actually follow through with the meaning:
  4. Fun with Homophones
  5. Reframe – how can you make readers see a common thing or a common concept in a different, more humourous, absurdist, satirical way?
  6. Oxymoron – the linking of two ideas which really don’t make sense together

Macro techniques include:

  1. Genre awareness
  2. Escalation
  3. Absurdism
  4. Surprise! (aka Subverting Expectations)
  5. Synthesis with the theme:

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