David Zucker's list of things NOT to do in comedy

David Zucker, one of the creators of Airplane and The Naked Gun, offers up a list of things NOT to do in comedy.

5. That didn't happen.
Completely defying logic is bad, but something that is on and off the screen so fast that we can get away with it is OK. Example: Robert Stack in ``Airplane!`` yells to Lloyd Bridges, ``He can`t land; they`re on instruments!`` And of course we cut to the cockpit and four of the actors are playing musical instruments. Seconds later, in the next scene, the saxophone and clarinets have disappeared. If it`s done right, no one in the audience will ask where the instruments went...

10. Straw Dummy.
A hollow set-up for a joke or when the target is fabricated. Even if the joke hits the target who cares? We had an elaborate sequence written for "Naked Gun 2 and a half" involving Leslie being trapped in an oil barrel processing plant but the jokes all depended on machines we made up ourselves in an elaborate and expensive set. Fortunately, Paramount insisted on deleting the scene, saying they needed the money to pay the lawyers.


Related: Bill Hicks’s Principles of Comedy

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