Things are busy so my blogging has become lax. This one is just a quick post to prove that - once again - real life is much funnier and more exaggerated than most cartoons. Just to repeat myself for the thousandth time, always look to real life and real people for inspiration, not other animated characters or things gleaned from comic books. The audience always wants to see something new and unexpected, something sincere and true-to-life.
Anyway, here's a video that proves the point. It's less than a minute, and it's so perfectly made that it almost seems fake. Check it out.
As Mark Twain said, analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog in that it will make both of them die. Necertheless, I will try to put into words what I think makes it funny to me.
1. The fact that she's talking about a serious subject is such a great contrast to how silly that guy is acting. Also the fact that the wind is blowing her hair everywhere and that she's having to talk loudly over the passing traffic makes her seem so agitated before that guy even shows up.
2. Grown men acting like five-year-olds are always comedy gold. Not only do all three appearances seem perfectly timed - the time between each visit becomes increasingly small - but the staging is awesome. Watching him creep out from behind her is perfect - the locked down setup of a television news "stand-up" is so static and formal that it makes him seem goofier by contrast. The way you see him creeping into frame over her left shoulder before he starts to interrupt her is great too - you get a couple seconds of anticipation before he appears in the big empty space over her right shoulder. And those dance steps! The robot??? If this was animated I would roll my eyes at that choice because it's so obvious, but the fact that a real guy did it makes it hilarious. And the way he does it is so great: he's just barely doing the robot - he's more looking over to see what the camera guys will think and when she will get annoyed. And he's so uncommitted to doing the robot that he breaks into a different step halfway into it. And the fact that on his last appearance he just comes in and flips her hair up and runs out....amazing. I guess "chutzpah" is always funny. Idiotic characters that do things we would never do always amuse us. Even just seeing his totally excited reaction to stumbling upon a news crew on the street is funny. With his extra tall appearance, shaved head and his funny loose limbed walk make him look just like the sort of goofball who would do this kind of inane thing.
3. Her reactions seem so perfectly scripted. She gets so increasingly annoyed with him and she shows it so plainly. Then, as she throws down the mic, she actually FINISHES her sentence, but with an angry timbre on the last word! How funny is that? Characters in cartoons do that all the time but to see a real person do it is really strange and really funny. I swear if this was animated it would seem cheesy and obvious. When it's real it's sublime.
4. The timing is unbelievable. It's actually like a little three-act story. Each encounter with the guy becomes quicker and more intense and her reactions build perfectly, from polite dismissal to rage. Every time she starts up her report again, she gets just far enough into it before being interrupted that it's perfect. We (the audience) don't have to sit through enough of it to get bored, but there's just enough of it each time before the doofus interrupts her to feel her frustration at being distracted by him. And that sound guy who runs through frame at the end with the horrified expression...what a great touch. By the look on his face and the way you're hearing sounds offscreen it totally makes you imagine her smacking the hell out of the dude (or worse). Whatever you picture, it's so much better because you can't actually see what she's doing.
Anyway, the point is (as always): draw your inspiration from real life and actual people instead of TV or movie characters that somebody else already created. A character based on a real person will always be better, more authentic and more interesting than a cheesy clichè we've all seen before. The only way to really get into a character's mind and personality and know how they will react to and deal with situations is to know them as well as you can, so study the people around you, analyze what makes them tick and bring that to animation. There are already way, way too many lame, uninteresting and flat characters in animation today, let's stop that trend as soon as possible.