Observing life with comedy and creating comedy with life

  A few days ago, the first comedy variety show "Twisted Twist" jointly created by Youku and Happy Twist in 2022 was launched.

Prior to this, comedy variety shows such as "Annual Comedy Contest" and "Ivory Mountain Love Dou Group" were already on the air.

These comedy reality shows focusing on "interpersonal relationships" seem to indicate that comedy variety shows have hatched a new look.

  For a period of time, there have been two main types of comedy variety shows: one is TV comedy variety represented by family entertainment variety shows; the other is network comedy variety represented by genre variety shows.

  Traditional family fun variety shows mainly concoct "happiness" through jokes, burdens, and sensory stimulation that are universal and do not require specific knowledge reserves. The threshold for appreciation is very low, and it is suitable for all ages.

In 2016, the family carnival variety show reached its climax, with the audience rating and the highest market share of the second season of the representative show "Happy Comedian" reaching 2.79% and 3.67% respectively.

However, due to the over-exploitation of resources and the aesthetic fatigue of the audience, since 2017, the number of family carnival variety shows has gradually decreased. Although the old-fashioned family carnival variety comedy shows have been trying to introduce new ones, they have always been difficult to achieve.

  With the rise of Internet audio-visual platforms, audiences have begun to call for a more "internet-like" comedy variety show, and online comedy variety shows represented by genre variety shows have begun to compete with TV comedy variety shows represented by family fun variety shows, and the former has even begun to develop momentum. over the latter.

  The newly emerging online comedy variety show is deeply rooted in vertical segments, focusing on specific performance types, such as debates, talk shows, sketches, sitcoms, etc. The language style is clear, the rhythm is clear and brisk, the topic content is down-to-earth, easy to resonate, and the expression is novel and lively. It is in line with the network environment of the whole people's participation under the barbaric growth of the early Internet. At the same time, some burdens and jokes are no longer for all age groups, but personalized customization and accurate push.

Online comedy variety shows with more concentrated categories and clearer target audiences quickly gained a group of fans among their respective target audiences, such as "Wonderful Flowers" and "Tucao Conference", which even broke through the circle and caused phenomenal discussions.

  Even so, there has never been a show in the field of comedy variety show that can gain a considerable degree of spread, attention, discussion and recognition in all circles.

This has nothing to do with the variety show model, it only has to do with whether the show can accurately grasp the needs of the audience and innovate in expression.

Looking closely at the popular comedy variety shows in recent years, it is not difficult to find that they have two distinct characteristics: one is to observe life in comedy works, and to feed back into creation in life, such as using lively situations to satirize video sites for unreasonable fees, or to use Smart language reproduces the embarrassment and embarrassment brought to oneself and others by difficult choices and social fears in life; the second is to have a certain depth of excavation of "people", and can show the relationship between people and people in interactions and jokes. For example, in the "Tucao Conference", the verbal confrontation between the complainer and the complainer will produce a "chemical reaction", which makes up for a major shortcoming of traditional comedy creation - the audience's happiness is unsustainable, Especially because the physiological pleasure triggered by structural design or sensory stimulation is difficult to obtain repeatedly in the same joke - giving the joke richer connotation, the audience can chew it repeatedly, and even gain something after laughing.

  In other words, the underlying logic of successful comedy creation is not to separate creation from life, and to take "people" as the core of comedy creation rather than the point of laughter.

It may not be difficult for genre variety shows and family fun variety shows to achieve the former, but they are still plagued by the drawbacks of unit drama-style narratives—emphasizing "skills" over "dao", focusing on laughter, and it is difficult to deal with "people" There have been breakthroughs in the excavation of "people", especially the relationship between people, which is the most subtle "itch" in the hearts of comedy audiences today.

  In the Internet era, although the media is developed, the communication between people, especially the emotional communication, is less, which makes people's demand for warm emotions doubled.

High-quality comedy programs can make up for the lack of interpersonal communication, meet people's emotional needs, and hold up hope for the society.

In this case, starting from 2020, comedy variety shows have gradually opened up new content tracks and produced new types of programs.

Happy Twist's comedy troupe "Twist Special Happy" is the representative of this new type of comedy variety show.

  As the name suggests, Comedy Troupe Variety is a comedy variety show co-created by comedy groups (teams).

It focuses more on showing the relationship between people and showing a natural sense of humor in a state close to real life.

Of course, to achieve these goals, it is usually necessary for the actors involved to have a certain degree of recognition and audience base, as well as smooth interaction between the guests.

  In the past few years, the Happy Twist Team has created many popular works and accumulated a certain audience base.

When Shen Teng, Ma Li, Chang Yuan and other comedians from the Happy Twist Team stepped off the stage, they experienced stories adapted from life in a reality show, and used their unique comedy talents to create comedies with real feelings In variety shows, they not only bring "happiness" to the audience, but also open the audience's "heart" with empathy.

  New comedy variety shows such as "Happy Twist" rely not only on the team's own traffic and the jokes of the show to win the audience, but also on the concept of "making every ordinary person happier".

Under the guidance of this concept, comedians walked off the stage, walked into life, approached the audience, focused on real topics such as parent-child relationship, returning home to start a business, non-genetic inheritance, etc., and also attracted ordinary people to participate in program creation, which broke the drama of drama The "fourth wall" that has been difficult to break on the stage for a long time makes the audience resonate in laughter, even with tears in laughter, and grow up in laughter.

Perhaps this is the true value of "joy" or the "power" of comedy.

  In short, the background of comedy creation is life.

Comedy depends on the stage and can also break through the stage.

A good comedy can let the audience see from different sides the life they have experienced, the life they have ignored, the life they have never thought of, the life they long for and yearn for.

In the new era environment, how to adapt to the audience's aesthetic orientation and lead the audience's aesthetic taste, and how to make the works resonate with life are the practical problems faced by comedy creation.

Comedy creators should step out of the comfort zone of creation, into the deep water zone of life, and use comedy to describe the colorful and complicated life of contemporary Chinese people in a new context.

(Author: Zhou Kui, Associate Professor of Communication University of China)