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May 18

Secret Comedy Writing Technique – Freudian Slip

Here’s another installment in my mini series, Secret Comedy Writing Techniques. In this one I’m going to cover Freudian slips. And no I don’t mean the Austrian psychiatrist’s female undergarment. Cheap these laughs are, what can I tell ya?

So on to business! The Freudian Slip is an error, often in speech, that is believed to be made by the unconscious mind. For instance, a man might accidentally call his wife by the name of another woman. And woe betide him if he does.

There’s also the classic Freudian slip line, which also serves as a definition:

“saying one thing when you meant your mother, I mean another.”

Chevy Chase put this technique to good effect in the movie Fletch and it’s sequel Fletch Lives. There’s a scene where he’s in a department store gazing at a beautiful woman’s breasts. She asks him if he needs any help and he says: “just blouse (quickly corrects himself) browsing”.

Can you use this technique at all in any of your comedic writings? Like I always say you don’t have to use any of these techniques in order to be funny. But they may add a little something different to one of your speeches.

I like to be able to broaden your comedic palette. Bearing in mind that, in a business environment, while you cannot go overboard with offensive humour, you might be able to include something a little suggestive.

However, I would say that if you’re unsure of a line then go ahead and check with the person in charge.