What’s the Role of a Director in Constructing Comedy? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #100

What makes for a good com­e­dy film or show? Fun­ny peo­ple read­ing (or impro­vis­ing) fun­ny lines is not enough; an good direc­tor needs to cap­ture (or recre­ate in the edit­ing room) com­ic tim­ing, con­struct shots so that the humor comes through and coach the actors to make sure that the tone of the work is con­sis­tent.

Your Pret­ty Much Pop hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by Heather Fink to dis­cuss the role of the direc­tor in mak­ing a com­e­dy (or any­thing else) actu­al­ly good. Heather has direct­ed for TV, film, and com­mer­cials and spent a lot of time doing sound (a boom oper­a­tor or sound util­i­ty) for pro­duc­tions like Sat­ur­day Night Live, Get Out, The Morn­ing Show, and Mar­vel’s Dare­dev­il.

We talk about main­tain­ing com­e­dy through the tedious process of film­ing, putting actors through sex scenes and oth­er hard­ships, not telling them how to say their lines, come­di­ans in dra­mas, direct­ing improv/prank shows, and more. We touch on include Bad Trip, Bar­ry, and Ted Las­so, and more.

Watch some of Heather’s work:

  • Alleged, a short about dra­ma­tiz­ing accu­sa­tions against Steven Segal
  • Inside You, a film she wrote, direct­ed, and (reluc­tant­ly) starred in
  • The Focus Group, a short Heather direct­ed writ­ten by and star­ring Sara Ben­in­casa

We used some arti­cles to bring var­i­ous direc­tors and tech­niques to mind:

Hear more of this pod­cast at prettymuchpop.com. This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.