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    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Atratus: how can I answer that without...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 1/4/1996 7:44:00 PM  

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Atratus: how can I answer that without giving away major story points
from the next 2 years?

Re: Ivanvoa showing up at someone's home in lingerie...darn, just ran
outta pixie dust...imagine that....

Scott: yes, go the Raleigh article; sorry, meant to mention this
before...terminal brain-fart on my part.

Doug: regarding making people laugh until their sides hurt...this is
something I always go for. It's easy to go for the "well, that's amusing"
stuff, but to make someone laugh out loud, or even until it hurts, is tough.
In most (but not all) cases, I try to get one solid laugh per episode, one
moving scene per episode, and one "head-conk" per episode. The first
obligation of a writer is to make you *feel* something, and if I can do that
in an episode, then I've done my job.

It helps in that I'm not generally a big laugher; when I go to plays or
movies with other people, and they're comedies, afterwards I'll always get
"Why didn't you like it?" "I did." "You didn't laugh." "I was just thinking
about how funny it was." Usually I can see a punchline coming, and part of my
brain is racing ahead to what it might be. (And half the time at least I'm
right.) So I've adopted the philosophy that if I find something extremely
funny, other people will laugh at it; if I'm so tickled that I absolutely
laugh out loud, I know it'll probably kill several people. As a result, if
I'm going for a funny scene, I don't leave it alone until I laugh at it.

When I thought about Londo passing out face first on the banquet table
uttering "...but in purple, I'm *stunning*," I just about fell off my chair
laughing. Sometimes I'm a little broad in my comedy, other times I go for
something a little more literate or (one hopes) witty (most of these go to
Ivanova, whereas the broad stuff tends to go to Londo in most cases). But I
try to keep it varied.

Strangely enough, the comics that *do* manage to break me up are all the
more assaultive ones...Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, Buddy Hackett (who can
reduce me to tears), and a few others.


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