I wonder if you guys have read great articles or have book referees about sound design for comedy (which tricks are used and how the sound helps the movie/tv show/etc to be funnier) that you could tell me about! I would really appreciate :)


There's an article in The Soundtrack from a few years ago (Volume 1, Number 1) that I think would be well worth reading. It's called "The Sound of Coen Comedy: Music, Dialogue and Sound Effects in Raising Arizona," by Randall Barnes.

That particular edition is available for free download here: http://www.atypon-link.com/INT/toc/tst/1/1?cookieSet=1

but here's a direct link to the article in .pdf format: http://www.atypon-link.com/INT/doi/pdf/10.1386/st.1.1.15_1


Holy crap, there's a girl in our midst!

Now that I got that out of the way... I haven't read anything about comedy specifically, but I have seen it mentioned in texts about sound design for animation. (I'm looking for a reference... when I find it, I'll let you know.)

In the mean time.. this is a similar question (fixed): What makes a sound funny?

  • @Dave -I'd argue that's not necessarily the same question. Many things can make a sound funny, but a serious sound can make a visual funny. The sound itself does not have to be funny, but it can provide commentary for a visual/action/scenario the creates humor. That's a different technique of sound design that shares the same goal. Aug 12 '10 at 1:22
  • Point taken, and I agree. Aug 12 '10 at 14:02

There are no rules. There are only lessons to be learned from watching the movies that made you laugh!

At the risk of repeating some of what @Ryan wrote, there is no formula for making a soundtrack "funny" -- just the idea of that doesn't make much sense since the same sound to two different people will elicit different reactions. Making it funny is partly about timing, partly about context. Some techniques I've found useful and effective:

  • Use your sound moment to make a statement, whether it be over-the-top or understated
  • Try to tell the story with a sound that is unexpected
  • Try to tell the story with a sound that is completely expected (and perhaps cliché)
  • Use timing to your advantage
  • If the film is a remake, sequel or reminiscent of another film, try using sounds from those films as an homage

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