Friday Exercise: Creating a Comedy Character 1/5

Posted on 09 May 2009

I am the queen of storytelling skills, well doctor at least. I’m bucking for goddess. For the next several weeks I thought I would focus on character building skills. So to start things off I thought we’d try generating some comedy names, then link those names with a few beginning characteristics.

Many comedians and sketch performers have developed memorable characters with memorable names such as Edna Everage or Otis Lee Crenshaw. The names often provide a clue as to what we should expect from these characters, or alternatively are wildly at odds with expectations.

So, put your sorting hat on and let’s start naming.

1) The name of a pet and the name of a street you’ve lived on (I’m sure you’ve done this one before).

Example: Apollo Laurel (Yes, I once had a German shepherd named Apollo and lived on Laurel Grove)

2) Middle name and a rhyming word.

Example: Jean Bean

3) Favourite food and favourite colour.

Example: Apple Rainbow

4) Sound effect and last name of a favourite actor or popstar.

Example: Zap Henson

5) A biblical first name and the name on your car plus either O’, Mac, Mc or son appended to it.

Example: Sheba McMagna or Daniel O’Mitsubishi

It doesn’t matter if you’re truthful or if you even use the results. We just need people generating a whole bunch of names from which to choose. Names with multiple syllables can be funny. I have an arch-villain character I’ve used more than once who’s named Sir Convivius Throckmorton. Alternatively very short names can also be funny, like “Bip”.  Names with “k” and “g” sounds also tend to seem funnier.

Now select three of those names. Describe each character with one to two adjectives and an occupation. One of the adjectives must be a character trait.

Examples: grumpy sales-clerk or chirpy janitor.

So one result might be: Jean Bean a chirpy janitor.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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