• Longtime San Marino Resident Gene Perret to Give Seminar on Principles of Writing Comedy


    New Gene Perretby Winston Chua

    Good comedy writing doesn’t break rules — good comedy is funny because it follows strict principles, says Emmy Award-winning comedy writer Gene Perret. Perret, a longtime San Marino resident whose four children graduated from San Marino High School, will teach a seminar on the principles of comedy based on his new book, “The Ten Commandments of Comedy,” at The Writers Store in Burbank on Saturday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m.

    “Anything that works does so because it follows those rules that make it work,” said Perret, who wrote for nearly 30 years for legends Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller. “An airplane flies because it is built according to the principles of flight. Comedy, too, has basic rules that determine whether it works or not.”

    Perret calls his principles “Commandments” to emphasize that they should never be broken. “There’s a Biblical tone to it, a sort of threat from above that might be ignored only at one’s peril,” said Perret. “If your jokes aren’t working, it’s because you’re breaking or bending these commandments. ‘The Ten Commandments of Comedy’ is a checklist that can show you why your material needs improvement and where the changes should be made.”

    Designed for screenwriters, TV writers and directors, the Writers Store seminar will cover Perret’s 10 commandments of comedy writing, from “Thou shalt surprise” to “Thou shalt create a vivid image” to “Thou shalt be clever.” Perret will also present examples of how each commandment can be used to create successful comedy, how gags that fail to follow the commandments don’t work, and how to use the commandments to fix material that isn’t working.

    The 90-minute Writers Store seminar will cost $79 and will include a Q&A session with Perret. Attendees can register for the seminar on the Writers Store website at writersstore.com. Check back next week and online for more insights from Perret’s long and successful career.

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