How to be Funny with Soundboards

Comedy is subjective and is hard to make up on the fly. But it can be done, and in this article, I will teach you how. The three main ways are context, reference, and parody. To have a successful joke you need to use at least two of these at once.

Roleplay is the art of ‘’tricking’’ the other players into thinking you are the character you are playing. You might say that people know that they are not playing with Gordon Ramsay. Yes, deep down they know that, but the fun of parody is the audience thinking this could be real. Like the famous parody Onion News Network says, “Tu stultus es.” (You are dumb.) Just like how all story-based games make the player emersed in the world they are in, role playing a character is “tricking” the other players into thinking that it’s real. When a player is emersed in the world, that is the perfect time to make them laugh. That’s why the biggest mistake while playing a character is to speak. Which immediately shatters the other players emersion and reminds the player they are playing with an imitator, not the scientist from Half-Life. You can even take this kind of parody one step further by making fun of the concept of playing a character. Like playing as Kenny, but only talking in muffled noises, or Ben Shapiro but starting every sentence with “hypothetically”.

Reference is just using sound files people have heard before. Playing as Sgt. Hans George Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes instead of Donald Trump, while being equally cartoony, won’t get you as much of a reaction.

Context is the most important of the three comedic elements. Playing sound files inline with the situation in game can generate comedy. As an example, let say a door gets locked and you play the ‘DOORS STUCK’ clip, combining reference with context. But context on its own will not do much, however a lack of context itself can be the joke. As an example, Seymour Skinner talking about steamed hams while being chased by eldritch beings of unfathomable terror is still using context to make fun of the absurdity of the situation juxtaposed to the character.

Now let’s talk about the combinations.

Image: Yelling at Children (created in word document)

Roleplay plus reference is simple to pull off. Get a bunch of sound files together from a funny guy and blast them out randomly. You will get some laughs.

Roleplay plus context is just the failure to get all three. It can still be funny in a “laugh along even though I don’t get it” kind of way.

Context plus reference is the most common combination you will see in the wild and is the easiest to pull off. There is no need to play a character with your mic muted. You can just have fun going to intercom and playing the Egg Man twitter announcement.

However, remember that this is all relative to your audience. One person might find something as all three elements while the guy next to him doesn’t see it as being any. Not every joke will land, and comedians know this too well. Just do what you find fun as long as it’s not mic spamming a slur.

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