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Comic Character Traits

Page history last edited by amrodrig@jeffco.k12.co.us 12 years, 5 months ago



1.     Self-ignorance: the character is comic in direct proportion to his ignorance to himself. Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great example.


2.     Funny faces: A comic face is rigid, a set expression, and acts as a mask “encrusting” the living. The “straight face” or “deadpan” is rigid as well.


3.     Social ineptitude: Someone callous to social life, or unaware of the social world, will appear comic.


4.     Physical gestures: If the person focuses on a physical gesture rather than on an objective, or the gesture is not intentional but rather unaware, comedy results. Dr. Evil in Austin Powers


5.     Automatism: Things done automatically without self-awareness become comic


6.     Vice: Vice can be comic when it is developed completely as if it is a character itself, and it becomes the puppeteer pulling the strings of the character. The classic vice: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.


7.     Innocence: A classic comic character trait, innocence or naiveté allows the character to get involved into all kinds of trouble. Think Borat or The Pink Panther


8.     Obsession: The greater distance between the depth of a character’s obsession and the shallowness of its object, the funnier.


9.     Vanity: By definition-excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments-vanity invites ridicule.


10.  Professional solemnity: Over-seriousness is a form of rigidity of the emotions.


11.  Absentmindedness: Being absentminded is a sign of a fossilized intellect. 


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