If you want to write a comedy church skit, you should create funny characters.
And with an all amateur cast you can create funny characters and humorous drama that is entertaining, but still delivers a powerful message.
Here are some skit writing techniques to create funny characters and humorous church dramas.
To Create Funny Characters Form Skit Characters Around Your Actors
A Hollywood script creates a character and then the director finds an actor to play that part. But that’s Hollywood. And those actors are professionals. They dedicate themselves to learning how to play a variety of characters.
Using amateurs doesn’t mean your actors lack of talent. But they won’t be as versatile as a professional. So instead of making them adapt to a part in your skit, fit the part to them. In other words, create a character that complements their natural personality and talents.
Is your actor naturally gregarious? Make their skit character gregarious. Or in real life, thoughtful and analytical? Do the same with their character. And if they can talk with a French accent or impersonate Elvis, incorporate it into the skit.
By forming the characters of your drama around the actual personalities and talents of your actors, you create a part that is easier for them to naturally play and a character the church audience will enjoy.
Use Stereotypes To Create Funny Characters
A 3-5 minute skit does not allow enough time for much character development. So using common stereotypes makes it easy for your actors to assume a part and your church audience to understand the essence of the character.
The dumb blonde
The computer geek
The insensitive jock
The power hungry executive
These are all familiar characters that are easy for actors to play and easy to form into a humorous skit. When you think about the funny characters of movies and sitcoms you’ve watched, they are often built around a stereotype. I’m sure as you engage in your skit writing, you’ll think of many others.
Use Exaggeration To Create Funny Characters
Don’t just make the blonde in your church skit a little dumb. Make her really dumb. Your insensitive jock, completely oblivious to any life outside of sports. The computer geek unable to hold a conversation with an actual human being. Someone not just afraid of heights, but paralyzed in fear on the second step of a ladder. The more you exaggerate, the funnier it is and the less likely the actor in the skit will resemble an actual person in the church.
Use Contrast To Form Characters
Even a person in your church with minimal acting ability will have your church audience laughing by simply putting them into a skit character that is the opposite of who they are in real life. And you may be surprised by that person’s willingness, not only to accept the part, but to ham it up on stage.
Is there a solemn usher who always wears a suit to church? Put him in a long wig and a rock band outfit. Let your children’s pastor portray a spoiled, bratty kid. Your most talented vocalist play an American Idol contestant that sings way off key.
By using familiar people in your church with known traits and talents and putting them into a role that is the complete opposite of who they are in real life, you create instant humor for any skit.
Use these techniques to create funny characters and comedy skits. Your church audience will laugh while you also present a spiritual message.
There’s a dangerous, beautiful and life-giving capacity of laughter. It depends on circumstances. And how laughter is managed.
But I think we all agree that laughter itself is good.
Throughout history some people have attempted to subvert this life-giving capacity. The 1800s offered prescriptive dictionaries, alongside the descriptive dictionaries we have today. Prescriptive dictionaries attempted to tell you exactly what each word meant. Ambiguity was dead and vagueness was eliminated. All was clear; each meaning precise. Thankfully those dictionaries failed. Had they succeeded, art, literature, and humor would each have succumbed. Humans need the creative possibilities within language to foster life-giving laughter.
“Oh boy, where’s he going with this one?”
The Beautiful And Life-Giving Capacity Of Laughter Is Intentional
As leaders of teams and managers of individuals, you are fostering culture within your organization. That culture can be healthy or toxic, motivating or life-sucking, rewarding or exploitative, and so on. There should be a place for humor and laughter within your culture. But recognize that humor itself can be healthy or toxic, motivating or life-sucking, rewarding or exploitative.
Consider the intentionality of humor. Do you explicitly encourage humor and laughter or is it a nervous byproduct of team interactions? Is it considered a desirable part of your culture or something to be avoided?
Consider the subject of humor.
Are you able to laugh at yourself or do you prefer to laugh at others? What topics will you suggest or allow?
Consider the risk vs. benefit of humor. What does your culture gain from laughter? What might it lose?
Increasingly, leaders seek to foster organizations comprised of diverse people. As we diversify, we increase the likelihood that senses of humor will diverge and that what one person finds laughable, another finds cringeworthy.
What are you to do? Encourage laughter focusing on the natural limitations of people (remembering to laugh at yourself). Take advantage of the ambiguity and vagueness of language without elevating the pun to a status to which it should never aspire. Topics should be general ones that most will find amusing (“all” is a bar that is set too high).
Humor Can Be Dangerous And Destructive
Avoid humor focusing on people’s values, physical appearance, intellect, politics, or religion. Of course, if your intellect fails you at some point and you are able to laugh at yourself, then do so.
Recognize that a team member’s level of professional and personal security will impact her ability to laugh at herself and to appreciate being the subject of others’ laughter.
Recognize that sarcasm may be witty, but it is too confusing to be productive in the workplace. Were you speaking seriously or making a joke? We can’t tell.
Recognize that people aren’t always going to let you know when they’ve been hurt or are uncomfortable, so don’t assume that someone laughing along with you means they are comfortable with the joke. If you are in a position of power or authority, remember you can laugh more easily and freely than others who must read the wind to know whether to join in.
The Beautiful And Life-Giving Capacity Of Laughter Is Culturally Fostered
With all of this in mind, however, do not avoid humor. Foster a culture that risks the beautiful danger of laughter. Just because it can be cruel, divisive, and harmful doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace its life-giving qualities. You’re not going to quit using a knife to prepare food just because you could cut off your finger. It’s quite likely you will continue to use knives even if you have cut off one finger.
If you risk a culture of humor you will offend. That offense needn’t be intentional and it can provide opportunity for another life-affirming practice – apology and forgiveness. Please don’t neglect the beautiful danger of laughter. It’s an essential part of your humanity. Just tailor it to the setting, making sure it is reflective of the culture you seek to foster.
About Julian Consulting
Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.
Writing a church comedy drama can be fun and rewarding. They may be amateur productions, but don’t have to be amateurish. You have many talented church members to call on. Maybe not professional comedians, but they can still be funny. Other professionals in your church can also provide needed resources.
In one of our church productions, a church member who was a commercial, graphic designer created a set design that far surpassed what a local professional scene designer accomplished. He also produced all the visual marketing material. And another church member who owned a local manufacturing company made a fake display of elevators that supported the event.
They were so real looking that during the night of the production, guests that didn’t attend the church tried to use them. Now that was funny!
Use these tips to guide your efforts for church productions that make a spiritual impact.
Decide on a Theme for Your Church Comedy Drama
Whether it’s a 4-5 minute skit or a full play, start with the theme. Write it down in one or two sentences. If you start writing your script without nailing down the theme, you may write funny jokes just to get a laugh. It’s a common trap for those who enjoy writing comedy.
Humor is extremely effective when writing church comedy skits and drama. But in a church context, it should always focus on making a spiritual point. So be clear at the start what that spiritual point is and keep that target always before you.
For example, in my one-act, church comedy drama, What’s In a Promise? the theme is… God made a promise to us that He kept, so we should keep the promises we make. The entire church comedy script is written to support that theme and the resolution supports it too.
Create Characters For Your Church Comedy Drama
Professional actors are skilled at changing their persona to match a variety of different funny characters. Their professional career depends on the ability to be versatile. You give them a funny character and that’s who they become.
In church comedy, you’re mostly working with amateur actors. Although, there are many people in your congregation with natural comedy acting abilities too. It’s just not what they do all the time, so they’re not as versatile in portraying humorous characters as a professional actor. They tend to have a few, funny personas where they excel, but as they move away from characters that are natural for them, they become more stilted.
So rather than create funny characters and then ask your actors to portray them, create humor that is tailored to the natural strengths of your actors. In other words, think of the natural abilities and personalities of the people you want to use as actors, and then create comedy characters and humor that feature their strengths.
Does someone have a funny, foreign accent? Can they impersonate someone famous? Do they have a natural tendency you can exaggerate to create humor? The more you capitalize on their natural, humorous abilities, the more natural and funnier they will be.
Use Popular People in Your Congregation For Your Church Comedy Drama
Is there a favorite church usher that everyone adores? And he has a funny habit you can exploit? A church youth pastor with a well-known quirk? Impersonate these people and exaggerate their particular traits and quirks to make your church comedy skit funny. Of course, be sure they possess a sense of humor and don’t mind getting picked on a little. People can be a little funny about laughing when the joke is on them.
Things that might not be that funny generally, will be hilarious to your congregation. And can be used effectively to make a spiritual point in a church comedy skit used to enhance a sermon.
What about the time someone slipped in the church baptistery and splashed water into the choir loft? Something funny that happened on a church retreat or mission trip that everyone knows about? They make great material for church comedy skits and your congregation will laugh harder because they’re all in the joke.
Keep these three tips in mind as you write your scripts and you’ll produce church comedy skits and dramas that are both funny and spiritually effective.
Looking for a quick, humorous book to read? I think you’ll find that my Christian detective novel, Soul Pursuitis fast-paced, entertaining and inspirational. Here’s a funny scene from one of the chapters to grab your interest. Check out the five-star reviews on amazon then buy a copy of Soul Pursuit and enjoy reading it yourself.
An Excerpt From Chapter 22 in the Detective Novel Soul Pursuit
Warren looked at Terrence and Jeff with an admonishing frown.
“If you two are finished with your teasing and home spun philosophizing, can we get back to our discussion on the deity of Christ? How can Jesus be fully God and fully man at the same time?”
“Don’t think we’re supposed to understand
it,” said Terrance. “It’s what you call a…uh…a…”
“Paradox,” finished Jeff.
“Yeah. I mean, Jesus was a real person. He
experienced everything we do. What do you think, Jack?” asked Terrence.
I knew he was trying to pull me in, to engage me in a spiritual discussion. But I wasn’t going there. I gave a non-committal shrug.
“But you have an opinion. A worldview. We all do.”
“This is a safe place to explore scripture and ask questions,” said Warren. “We’re all on a spiritual journey and none of us have it all figured out.”
“Okay, since you’re talking about real
people, I do have one question weighing on my mind,” I said.
Warren smiled encouragingly, the paternal,
spiritual father encouraging a toddler to take his first spiritual, baby step.
“Did Jesus fart?”
Warren’s smile crumpled into a look of
shock at such sacrilege. Terrance was in mid-drink of coffee and blew it
through his nose as he laughed. Jeff smiled, uncertain where the conversation
was headed, but ready to go with the flow.
It caught Warren completely off guard and
the spiritual confidence that had marked his face dissolved into one of holy terror.
It was nice watching someone else squirm for a change so I pressed forward.
“Did Jesus fart?
You know, pass gas, cut the cheese, play the posterior trumpet.”
Warren’s face grew a deep red.
“I…I…don’t see the relevance in that
“Terrence just said Jesus was fully God
and man. And he shared all our experiences. If so, shouldn’t he break wind like
everyone else? And by the way, if Jesus was perfect, what would a perfect fart
sound like? Or smell like? Don’t give me a churchy, idealized version of God. You
say he’s real. I want to know how real.”
“Jesus was real in every sense of the
word. But this level of vulgarity is not germane to our spiritual discussion.”
Warren was visibly struggling and
reverting to obfuscation to cover his discomfort.
I smiled innocently and shrugged.
“Wait a minute,” said Terrance.
He was trying to control his laughter and
wiping snot globs of coffee from the table.
“I think Jack has a legitimate point. I
mean, we do talk about the humanity of Jesus, don’t we?”
Warren’s look of discomfort turned to
horror. His friend was turning against him.
“Well, if he’s the God who created smell
in the first place, I’d think he could go either way,” said Jeff.
“Meaning?” asked Terrence.
“Raunchy or sweet.”
“A loud blast or silent but deadly?” I
Crass conversation was in my wheelhouse. Maybe I could get into this accountability thing after all. Terrance had another thought and almost spit out a mouthful of donuts in his haste to share it.
I was warming up to the exchange.
“Hey, maybe that’s part of the story we
missed in the Bible. You know, when Jesus cleared the temple?”
“A holy of holy farts,” said Jeff. “Awesome
in power and mighty to scatter away.”
Jeff and Terrence were both now laughing
so hard they were slapping the table and wiping tears from their eyes. I joined
them along with people in nearby booths who had no idea what was funny, but laughed
because the laughter was infectious.
Warren, however was appalled at such blasphemous
“This conversation shows an incredible lack of reverence for God. It’s…it’s undignified.”
“Maybe,” said Terrance. “But if Jesus could
control the smell, what does that say about election and free will?”
“And the trinity?” added Jeff. “An
Omnipotent fart to the power of three might evaporate the universe.”
Warren was self-righteously indignant. He closed
his Bible and gathered his notes.
“This Bible Study has downgraded to obnoxious
and is effectively concluded.”
“Okay,” said Terrance. “Then I have a parting
We waited expectantly as he stood and
“Oh, man. SBD bomb!”
With no further discussion we all left.
Click here to purchase a copy of Soul Pursuit or check out other books by Chip Tudor.
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