What kids think is funny

On the topic of creating comedy “for kids” I want to offer up this. Children have their own culture and they do find some things funny that adults just might not “get.” Maybe adults forgot what they liked as kids, and may have, in a way, unlearned it.

I saw this years ago when it was on TV. Below I explain what I found so special in Martin’s act.

What I find so funny is Martin’s dives are all the stuff we did as kids. And when I was a lifeguard years later, I saw new kids still doing the same gags. Martin probably did them too and built an act around his memories. It’s an unusual bit of comedy, with a simple source of inspiration; memories. Children have a world of their own that gets passed down on the playground and is ultimately left behind. Staying in touch with our childlike nature is not encouraged. It gets pushed aside for “grown-up” concerns.

At its heart, Martin’s act is just plain silliness. When creating stories there often isn’t room for the digression into silliness. There are some fantastic silly characters though, such as Pixar’s Dory, and Forky. They each have a specific kind of childlike foolishness. Also, like children, they require the attention of others. They have the potential to go off course and get in trouble. They need some guidance. It’s not an adult relationship. Modern schools of storytelling assume everyone is an adult. So there is the lesson, a funny character might just be immature in some way that allows him or her to behave differently.

And it’s true, kids laugh at fart jokes. And crotch shots.

Comedy for Animators on Amazon

2 thoughts on “What kids think is funny”

  1. It’s a fascinating title – and I think you are spot on. Maybe a bit of relatability in there, but mainly that simple sense of humour. I think “copy-ability” is a big feature – I remember instantly knowing hugely swathes of UK’s Blackadder, The Young Ones and Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I am sure memes operate the same way. Easy to copy and share jokes with friends.

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