Lynn and son are seriously funny

Teddy Lynn (left) and Jonathan Lynn

Teddy Lynn (left) and Jonathan Lynn

After addressing a packed auditorium in Tuesday’s Comedy Rules presentation, Teddy Lynn, founder and CCO of Episode Four, and his father, the writer and director Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny, Yes Minister, The Whole Nine Yards) spoke to the Lions Daily about what makes great comedy and what makes it so powerful.

“Humour in advertising is a way to be really memorable,”said Teddy Lynn. “And at Episode Four, we see ourselves as being hitmakers. At the same time, it’s important to realise that comedy for a brand is different to comedy for its own sake, because you cannot offend or alienate groups of people who are potential customers. We’re currently working with a company in the financial sector who want to make funny adverts, but who also recognise the risks, and part of our job is to guide them through the various ways that being funny can be achieved.”

Being funny is, according Jonathan Lynn, almost entirely about timing: “The way you cut a scene is critical, and it can be down to as little as one or two frames that make the difference, so at that point we are down to nanoseconds. Equally, a seemingly very similar take of a scene can be much funnier than the others simply due to the reactions that it triggers. A lot of comedy is based on people’s reactions to criticism through ridicule, and to be able to come up with something like that is very much down to having a sophisticated view of the world. So ultimately, the brighter you are, the more likely you are to be funny. Plus you need to be self-critical. If you have too much dignity you are very probably not going to be a comedian.”

Harriet Palmer