The Power of Funny

My name is Elliot Grove, the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. I was kindly invited to write for Collab Writers to explain what opportunities exist for creatives as a result of the COVID-19 crises.

In these troubled times of COVID, filmmakers are wondering what story trope to focus on. Choosing the wrong story type could ruin a career. Choosing the right one, and your storytelling career will soar. I, for one, am putting my money on the power of funny.

Laughter can help us deal with the stress and difficulty of living. Here’s something I’ve noticed: We don’t laugh at anything unless they cause us dismay or discomfort at a later stage in our life. The history of comedy is filled with a litany of incidents. The stand batch of jokes ranging from relationships to bowel movements, for instance. And jokes about money, sex, family and work.

A thing that makes us laugh usually has it’s root in deep anxiety and pain.  Which is why these dark times will, in my opinion, respond to the power of funny.

Four uses of the power of funny

The beauty of a comic character is that no matter how nasty and horrible they are, if they are funny they are engaging and entertaining. We allow them their rudeness, falsehood and antagonistic behavious. It is seeing these qualities on stage and amplified that makes us laugh.

Here are some ways great writers use comedy

1.Mocking the powerful

There can be little more entertaining than seeing a powerful person mocked. We love to see someone powerful become the victim of a practical joke. When this happens, we the audience, see the comedy as a leveller of social class. For a brief moment we are on the same level as the powerful person.

Barack Obama forced to laugh at himself by Conan O’Brien

In this TV interview with Barack Obama, TV host and comedian Conan O’Brien skillfully gets Obama to laugh at himself.

Monty Python chose another angle for their hilarious send-up of greek philosophy.

Their Philosophers’ Football Match pokes fun at the great names in intellectual history. This works on two levels: Firstly, it allows us to laugh at intellectual bullies who make us feel intellectually inferior because we don’t know the teachings of Wittgenstein and Schopenhauer. And these giants of academia are proved to be totally hopeless at football.

2.Therapy for despair

Traditional art has viewed despair with great seriousness. Painting of Christ on the Crucifix adorn coutless churches and cathedrals. The goal of artists like Valaquez was to draw the observer into the despair of the execution of Christ, and emote feelings of servitude.The Power of F

Crucified Christ – Diego Velázquez

A comic scene doesn’t deny misery, but has a different relationship. Monty Python’s Life of Brian, for example, demonstrates the power of funny especially when uses as dark and black humour.

The Power of Money

In this case, Monty Python didn’t expect you to take this scene as true. In the case of this time setting, the enemy was strong and ever powerful. The point of this was simple: keep being defiant, no matter how ridiculously out-manned you are.

This kind of humour works well in our current pandemic. The success of this Monty Python scene is that the characters mock a deeply and horrible situation.

3.Therapy for humiliation

There is nothing more damaging than humiliation. Last week I was accused of being cringeworthy. And wow! Did that ever sting. It seemed like my entire life’s work was for naught.

What did I do? I fell apart!

I sought the advice of friends and family who all consoled me. I even had a zoom-pat-on-the-back from my lawyer! But was I worked up! And I was glad to get the sympathy of my colleagues, no matter how flawed I am.

Let’s consider Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers. In this show we see a deeply flawed man. He’s arrogant, selfish, thick-headed and horribly opinionated. And no matter how outrageous he is, we, the audience, do not withdraw our sympathy. This shows the great skill of the comedy writing team. And once again, the power of funny.

John Cleese Power of money

4.The power of funny and mocking social class

The examples of Basil Fawlty and Monty Python are really examples of what Christianity was teaching us over the centuries. Namely, that it is ok to be a worthless beggar and still be seen as a worthy person in the eyes of authority – in this case, moral authority. And to be lowly and worthy of love and attention to the same degree as the most powerful ruler.

What a powerful message. And to be able to deliver this and make people smile and laugh? If you can do that in your stories, I call that ‘talent’.

Fade Out

This is my first attempt to look at comedy. Those who surround me tell me that I can be funny. Although I often suffer the humiliation of proclaiming yet another Dad joke.

I defer my knowledge of comedy to David Misch – a comedy writer of great skill. He is available to you, for free, on Aprils Fools Day, 2021 7pm GMT at

David is also presenting his award-winning class: The Art and Craft of Comedy on Zoom on Saturday and Sunday 24th / 25th April 2021, 16:00 – 19:30 UK time

David Misch is a former comedian, screenwriter (“Mork and Mindy,” “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “Saturday Night Live”), author (“Funny: The Book”) and teacher (comedy courses at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles). His teaches a two-day class for Raindance, “The Art & Craft of Comedy,” on 24,25 April. He’s also taught the class at Sony Pictures, Disney Studios, Lucasfilm, Oxford, the Actors Studio and Second City.

Why not join the Collab Writers Youtube channel and watch the replay of our past events.

The Birth Of Collab Writers

On 8th November 2018 Collab Writers, a new start up launched their collaborative creative community at The Century Club, Soho, London, England.

The launch saw creatives of all kinds networking and writing stories together. We played the old parlour game ‘Consequences’ by writing stories across a number of genres.

Where did the idea come from?

Co-founders Jennie Griffiths and Anjali Alford wrote a crime noir book together on their commutes.

I had the idea to reinvent the old Victorian parlour game, ‘Consequences’. Fortunately Jennie loves a challenge, and trusted my idea of us taking on two murderous protagonists. We decided to take one each and write from their perspective. We collaborated on our commutes and a year later we finished the first draft.
– Anjali Alford, Co-founder
[Anjali and Jennie’s collaborative work is currently with an editor in the States.]

After finishing their work, Jennie had the idea to build a community to encourage collaboration and disruption in the arts. They’ve also collaborated with Pippa Kay, a London photographer who’s photos of ‘The 7 Deadly Sins’ will feature in the book.

The idea of Collab Writers came to me in shavasana on a yoga retreat. When the class finished I ran to my room, grabbed a notebook and mind mapped the vision. At first it was a dream but the idea kept bugging me until we did something about it. Last week,  we launched to a room of 100 writers and other creatives.”
– Jennie Griffiths, Co-founder.

Who are Collab Writers?

We are writers by night with day jobs. We’re disrupting the traditional world of solo writing, editing and publishing by collaborating and doing it for ourselves and others. We’re also screenwriters. Our next collaborative mission, once our book is published is to turn our book into a film. Our Founder Partner who taught us the craft is Elliot Grove, London’s king of indie film and the Raindance Film Festival.

When Anj and Jen pitched the idea of Collab Writers to me, I got on board right away. Their passion and vision reminded me of when I started Raindance. I love the way they want to disrupt and help others do the same. Collaboration is the future!”
– Elliot Grove, Founder Partner.

As well as Elliot, we’re also filling a virtual ark of Founder Collaborators to help establish the community. Ali Mashayekhi of Landed Entertainment, a Canadian producer and director has already confirmed his collaboration on Collab Writers’ projects. Ali is bringing fellow actors along with him. We’ve also got poets, bloggers, photographers, musicians and illustrators. And, a PR representative!

On top of Founder Collaborators, we’re also open to Founder Members who can join via our Kickstarter campaign until 17 December 2018. There are also opportunities for Founder Patrons.

What’s Collab Writers all about?

It’s pretty simple – we collaborated in writing ‘Consequences’ together. We’re planning on publishing our work off one of Collab Writers’ publishing arms, Dark Art Books and we want you to collaborate to create so that we can get your work out there too!


“It’s our tagline. It’s an extremely simple concept of bringing people together to collaborate to create.”
– Jennie Griffiths, Co-Founder

Every stage of the creative process can present stumbling blocks and hurdles to overcome for writers, illustrators and other artists.

  1. First you have to get over writers block and actually finish something.
    This is where collaboration helps because it shares the pain.
  2. We plan to hold regular networking events to hook creatives up and by the middle of 2019 we want to design an app to help artists to collaborate to create on the go. (Commute2Create).
  3. As you can never have too much education, we will be holding training and pop-ups to help hone your skills and work on your craft.
  4. Once you’ve written your work, you have to find an editor. When there’s two of you collaborating, you can take it in turns to edit one another’s work. Professional editors will be part of the community to help you edit.
  5. As for publishing, this is where many writers give up. We will have two publishing arms – Dark Art Books and Light Work Books.
    One of our founder Collaborators, Shiva Sawyer, a former publisher will be guiding us through our debut publication of ‘Consequences.’

Last but not least, this is a community and we need your help to build it.

Our first goal is to get our collaborative work of fiction out there. Please pledge your support by pre-ordering a copy of our book and bringing our baby to life.

Whilst you’re there please do have a look at our other rewards, from limited edition Collab Writers notebooks to being the brains behind our future stories.

They say everyone’s got a book in them. What’s yours? 

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