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Comedy Gold

l draw every day. I draw to make myself laugh. While laughter is my primary goal, I also have a secondary goal—to learn what makes some drawings funnier than others.

After more than 10 years on this vital quest, I have some preliminary findings to share with you. Here, in no particular order, are 7 ways to make a drawing funny or a funny drawing funnier.

1. Add frowzy hair.

ExcessHair

A drawing of a funny character with disheveled hair will always be funnier than the same character with sheveled hair. I don't understand the science, but it's true every time.

2. Let animals wear glasses.

Dog Glasses

A drawing of a funny animal will always be funnier if the animal is wearing glasses. Adding eye glasses also increases the comic value of aliens, demons, trolls, gargoyles, and monsters. Further study is needed of the hilarity of goggles, monocles, and sun glasses. (Perhaps I could I get a grant?)

 

3. Employ a monkey.

Chef

I subscribe to the vintage notion that monkeys are inherently funny. It doesn't much matter what they are doing, I'm amused.

 

4. Upgrade the wardrobe

A demon or monster drawing is always a little funnier when the demon or monster is wearing a suit and necktie. It’s also pretty funny to put a monster in a fancy dress uniform. But for pure comedy gold, nothing seems to beat argyle. Based on my research, no creature can be taken seriously wearing an argyle-patterned sweater.

Argyle

5. Consider headgear.

Headgear

Funny hats invariably add humor. Someone wearing a fez is silly. Anyone wearing a crown is  even funnier. My preliminary findings suggest, a viking helmet with horns is probably the funniest, especially if the helmet doesn’t fit properly.

6. Add a Snidely Whiplash moustache.

whiplash

All creatures look funnier when they are sporting a thin, elegant, up-turned mustache.

7. Add a Groucho mask.

The classic Groucho mask with bushy eyebrows, bold glasses, a strong nose and an emphatic cookie-duster mustache is probably the artist's most reliable tool. Everything is funnier when you add Groucho glasses. 

MaskArray

Some people would argue that overuse of the Groucho mask diminishes its power. But, so far, I haven’t found that to be the case. Instead, when you try to overdo it, the laughs just get bigger. (But that might just be my opinion.)

 

Skull

Mask1

Mask2

MaskRobot

Even relatively un-comic vegetables are funny when they sport Groucho glasses.

Potato compare

 

This is not the end of my research. I believe there must be other methods to increase comic effect. Clearly further study is needed of falling anvils, excessively long tongues, and polka-dotted boxer shorts. Therefore, I vow to continue my daily experiments daily. I will follow the Science.

If you want to encourage research in specific areas, let me know. (But remember that I can’t reply directly to comments to this blog.) ThreeUglies

Don—July 21, 2022

22 Responses

Laurie

July 28, 2022

I once went to Shakespeare in the Park, when in order to protest the loud band starting before the play was finished, the cast put on Groucho Marx glasses, and stopped the play cold. It was pretty funny!

Clifford Young

July 25, 2022

Don, I’ve always thought mops were funny. A robot with a mop would be quite amusing. What is the robot cleaning up? Does a robot even have a concept that the floor is dirty? Does the robot perhaps feel a little guilty that he made a mess? Each question leads one deeper down the rabbit hole.

Melissa

July 24, 2022

I agree with Debby Butterworth. A robot wearing Grouch glasses t-shirt?!, I have to have it. I love everything you do.

Lewis R Schiller

July 24, 2022

Think what Alberto Vargas could have accomplished with your drawing tips .
His “nose art” would have never been the same…

RicardoH

July 24, 2022

The Before & After w/ Groucho Eyes, Nose and Stache has got to be made available as a T-shirt. Try enhancing with a grass skirt and coconut shells top.

Lois

July 24, 2022

You hit a comedy grand slam with the monkey in #6.
1 – Monkey
2 – wearing glasses
3 – sporting a Snidely Whiplash mustache
4 – wearing an argyle sweater AND and tie
Next time give him frowsy hair and it would be perfect!

Susan

July 23, 2022

Love the amoeba with Groucho glasses. And extra points for referencing Snidely Whiplash. Many of my acquaintances don’t get dry humor. Fun to read your blogs.

Kristen

July 23, 2022

If laughter is the best medicine, this is clearly groundbreaking, life-saving research! I think we should start writing that grant proposal immediately!

e white

July 23, 2022

I like the robot w/ a Mr. Potatohead look
I think you could work with that one
You are a refuge in the storm’Thanks for your good work

Musia

July 23, 2022

If only that funniest of robots would bring me my coffee.

Amy

July 23, 2022

Bras, Don! Bras are weird & inherently troublesome, and they need to get a comeuppance! A bra is especially funny when worn in ways it is not intended for; as a hat, as a backpack, as earmuffs, as a fanny pack. One can also wrap a bra around anything, such as a wine bottle, or a cat. If you combine a bra with frowsy hair plus an Eggner ( what we call Groucho Marx rigs in my family) it is even funnier!!!!

Debby Butterworth

July 23, 2022

That robot with Groucho glasses….got to make a t-shirt of that one!!

Barbara

July 23, 2022

Hi Don and team, hope you’re well :) This needs to be your next book/puzzle/poster! It’s hilarious (the robots! the argyle!) My blood pressure is probably 20 points lower after reading it. Thanks for some comic relief today.

Best,
Barbara

Linelle

July 23, 2022

Being that it’s summer, where are the (while you’re) picnicing, golfing, swimming, grilling and kissing giant BUGS?

karatemom

July 23, 2022

I think tighty whities are also inherently hilarious. You should try some on the monsters, especially if they have legs.

Mary

July 23, 2022

Thank you for your terrifying dinnerware.

Marie

July 23, 2022

Some funny suggestions"

1) A pose with fists on the hips, feet shoulder length apart and body bent slightly forward
2) Dressed in a muumuu.
3) Eyeballs positioned strangely.
4) Holding an incongruous prop – headless doll, broken cricket bat, bouquet of dried-up flowers

Brian

July 23, 2022

I love your artwork! I have one of your coffee mugs (almost too valuable to use!) and a book. I shouldn’t buy more “stuff” at my age, but it’s hard to stop!

Jan

July 23, 2022

Love your drawings.

Thank you for knowing who Snidely Whiplash is!

Becky E

July 23, 2022

Love this!

Your green monster let me envision Jabba the Hut with a Groucho Marx mask saying something to his lackeys.

Mrs Gorgon

July 23, 2022

The Groucho Glasses got me! When I was presenting my term paper about comedy, I put on my grouch glasses as I was introducing my paper but it go funnier because I couldn’t read it without my real glasses! My paper started with a caveman tripping over a bone and everyone laughing at him. The birth of comedy!

Jennifer

July 23, 2022

Big monsters with tiny feet have great potential; just consider the T-rex.

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