Typology of comic and humorous devices

Analysis of french humor and comedy skits
PDF, 140 PAGES, in french


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There are thousands of comedy sketches, jokes, funny stories, but the comedy devices themselves are in short supply.

All comedy writers need to know their range of comedy lines inside and out!

To help you write comedic and humorous sketches, here is a simplified list of the genres and writing techniques you can use, based on the study of 14 comedians.


Satire, caricature

Satire and caricature consist in making fun of a character, a trait of character, a defect, a vice, a lack, by isolating it, highlighting it and magnifying it.

  • The 4 lost teeth of Aelia at Martial

You had four teeth left, still not very whole;
A first cough made you blow two of them;
Yesterday another attack took away the last ones
Aelia now, at your ease you can
Cough with impunity day and night if you want.

He eats, he drinks, he tells stories, he jokes, he interrupts all at once. He has no discernment of people, neither of the master, nor of the guests; he abuses the crazy deference that one has for him.

The stupid and cowardly racism in Coluche

Huh? That I said : the Arabs ? Euh… that surprises me!
Because if there’s one guy who doesn’t make a difference, it’s me!
So, I’ll tell you, I’m not racist for that.
I’ll tell you about me, the whites, the French, the blacks, the Arabs, the Jews…
No. Not the Jews, you’re right!
I didn’t say Jews and Arabs in the same basket, but apart from the Jews, everyone else is equal, yeah.
Right? Arabs, more!
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, Arabs are more equal than others!
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, she knocks on my door.
Well, I haven’t had any luck so far, have I?
Because right now, obviously, it’s me she wants to bite.
She chose me in the building, she doesn’t want to bite anyone else: it’s me!

  • The smallness or the inhumanity of the Big Ones at Les Guignols

Anyway, I got ready for a date. Every time I get ready for an appointment, I take a shower, twice, to be clean, then I take care of my hair, to look like I didn’t take care of my hair.

  • The naivety of François Grollande in Groland

Voiceover: “On CPG la Chaîne Parlementaire Grolandaise, he showed live his middle-class car with a street value of 8,000 euros (image of François Grollande in front of his car), his bourgeois house with a purchase value of 200,000 euros (we enter his house), 2 paintings by Greenlandic painters worth 10,000 euros (François Grollande shows them to us, ugly, hanging on the wall) a home-cinema worth 5,000 euros (we see a large TV), jewelry offered to his wife worth 60 euros (some necklaces and bracelets in pink toc), a CODEVI booklet with 2,000 euros of investment “father of the family” (François Grollande shows us a document), and to make people, 2,000 euros of banknotes under his mattress (we see the banknotes under the mattress), that is to say a total of 227,060 euros. “

For the clothing, Thomas asked me earlier … yes number 5, never first name, shut up do not talk, you too you piss me off!
2 cotton briefs embroidered with your name, guys. It was marked on the form, put one on top of the other of course.
You’re not going to walk around with underwear on your head, think about it. To protect all the gear, the genitals, in case of an explosion. I’m not hiding the fact that there is a small risk
of explosion. Where we plan to land, it will be tight anyway.

  • The hyper-timidity of the flirt at Pérusse

– You’re all red and your veins are out of your head.
– No, but not at all, I… (sound of a cork being uncorked, then sound of liquid spreading on a surface)
– You see, you have a vein that has just burst. (Sound of liquid flowing)
– Really? Oh well, it’s nothing, I’ll just take a little cup and… (Sound of cup filling) And how are you doing? (Sound of cup getting fuller and fuller)

  • The self-satisfaction of the narrator and the audience in Gaspard Proust

Is there any good news this year? Yes, yes there is ONE good news: the sinking of the Costa Concordia.
For once, it’s not illegal immigrants who are drowning off an Italian island. (Laughter, applause.)



Parody consists in using a model known to the public – a work, an author, a celebrity – to imitate its characteristics, themes, characters, procedures, etc., and to apply them to a new work or to another character, generally with the intention of mocking one by the other.

  • Parody of a fitness show with the Gym Kilos of the Robins des Bois
  • Parody of the series Bref and Sexion d’Assaut’s song in Les Guignols
  • Parody of prevention ads and beauty products ads in Groland
  • Parody of the movie Rocky in Rémi Gaillard


Irony and antiphrase

Irony is the act of saying or implying things that one does not really mean – and the discrepancy between the deep meaning and the literal meaning of the comment is what makes it so good.

Antiphrasis, a form of irony, consists in asserting something else or even the exact opposite of what one believes:

For example, when one exclaims “Oh well done! You’ve won everything”, meaning “What a disaster you’ve made!

Everything can work in antiphrase or irony: affirming racist remarks to better denounce them (and be careful, sometimes it’s dangerous and ambiguous), letting a lousy flirt express himself to show what not to do in love, forcing cynicism to arouse tenderness, exhibiting vulgarity to claim nobility…

Irony, often verbal, can also be situational irony – when a character finds himself in a situation contrary to the one he thought he was putting in place. We also speak of dramatic irony, even tragic irony – the Greek example, matrix, is the story of Oedipus: the fact that he seeks to escape a prophecy that predicts he will kill his father and murder his mother, leads him to murder his father and marry his mother without knowing it and believing he has acted well.

This is the case in :

  • The Roger de Pérusse who, wanting to be loved by Caroline, is systematically despised by her
  • Coluche’s racists who, wanting to justify themselves or to be respected, get confused or submit
  • President Grollande who, wanting to be perfectly honest, is perfectly robbed


Absurdity comes from the inappropriate, dissonant, impossible character of an element in a context.

  • Thus the puns of Desproges in logical series

The owl perches, the bat hangs, the snake loves, the ham lands.

The permanent contradictions of Coluche’s characters who think they are clever

No! I’m saying you’re lucky I’m not nervous.
Yes! I’m lucky too, but that’s not the point.
I’m glad I’m not nervous, if you like!

  • The far-fetched hypotheses of Bigard’s paranoid and rational self

Besides, I live on the fifth floor without an elevator, I’ll tell you, I have a code on the door downstairs and an intercom. Ha, ha! So, I’ll tell you what, the bat, it can always show up, you know!

  • The irruption of fiction and the imaginary into the real (giant snail, astronaut on a golf course, Super Mario in Montpellier) at Rémi Gaillard, etc.



  • Coluche’s oui euh mais non euh in C’est l’histoire d’un mec
  • The Sans blaague ! Meeerde ! in Le CRS arabe
  • The Let’s say… of Bigard in La chauve-souris

Let’s say the guy is very friendly with a bunch of rabid bats. He has known them for a long time, he has already helped them out when they were in trouble and all…
She still has to “push” the door… It’s big like that, a bat… Well, but, let’s say, let’s say, she pushes the door.

The love fiascoes of the Roger de Pérusse in the Roger and Caroline series

Well, “Hello Caroline, this is Roger. Since I’ve been saying hello to you in the hallway, I said to myself, I don’t hate her, if she doesn’t mind, I’ll call her. (Ringing of the call in progress) No. Uh… “This is Roger. Since I’ve been saying hello to you in the hallway I thought, I don’t hate you, if you don’t mind I’m calling you. (Ringing of the call in progress)
No. “Uh Caroline, this is the hallway. No. (Ringing tone of the call in progress) Uh…
– Hello?
– (Heart beating at 200 miles an hour) “Hello, since I’ve been hating you in the corridor, I thought I’d say hello and if you don’t mind I’ll call you Roger. Damn it!
Sound of the phone being hung up. Sound of ironic applause by Roger for himself.

Word games and puns

  • Word games and puns are part of the basic comedic processes of Desproges, Les Inconnus and Les Robins des bois, among others

Les Inconnus, Les téléphones :

Ah well, I just wanted to know if tonight you wanted to eat Japanese, it’s nippon, nor bad … (he laughs) Yeah it’s good huh?

  • But rare for the one-man show actor Gaspard Proust

Accents and pronunciation tics

  • Rachid’s North African accent and the lisp of a flirt in Les téléphones des Inconnus

Hello Aziza?… Hello Youssef, sorry to bother you, can you put your little sister Aziza on the phone?… Yeah, no, it’s to take her to the cinema at 8 o’clock… OK, thanks, I’ll wait…

  • The Parisian gouaille of the racist coward in Coluche’s Le CRS arabe
  • The fake Norwegian in the Robins des bois and their stupid ways of speaking

Göten prüden!


Falls, cream pies, slaps and other forms of violence, accidents, etc., make up the gestural, physical, very primary, very animal comedy (gestural laughter often results from a sudden confrontation with pain or fear), typical of popular forms of comedy.

  • The “sick” blue pen that vomits in Pef’s face in L’instant norvégien

Did you know that… the word television…” He stops and looks fixedly at the blue pen that he holds at eye level: “Ohlala it does not look good my pen, it is all blue!” On this the pen squirts a large quantity of yellowish ink on his face and on his horrible brown fur vest. Pef : ” Oh no, he threw up on me… “

  • The gesticulations of Marina who finds her head in the couscous while doing push-ups in Gym Kilos
  • The catastrophic leaks of the comedian Rémi Gaillard as Super Mario or as an astronaut


Situational comedy is characterized by the incongruity, the impossibility of a situation, or by communication failures, misunderstandings and misunderstandings

  • Roger’s vein exploding and his blood spilling into a cup at Pérusse’s
  • The behavior of a bat with very human abilities in Bigard, etc.
  • The boxing match between Rémi-Rocky and a stuffed kangaroo at the Montpellier zoo
  • The presence of Rémi the astronaut on a golf course

There you go, with all that, you have enough to write great comedies and make trillions of spectators laugh before you strut your stuff in the limelight. Good work.

Check out 14 comedic works analyses in the Humor & Comedy Sketches PDF ????

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