Best use of sound design in a comedy?


OK, we've covered "favorite sounds" and "best sound in a thiller", but what about comedies, where the sound effects usually cower in fear of dialog and music? And what is it about those moments that sell the comedic for you?

A couple bold, in-your-face quickies for me are:

  • The diarrhea scene in "Dumb & Dumber" -- it is SO gross and over the top, but perfect in its direction and timing.
  • The games in "Dodgeball" -- what can I say, I laugh every time!

What say you, forum?

Jay Jennings

Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 15 432



My favorite is the opening scene of Bolt.

Favorite element of that is when the humongous explosion happens and it pulls out to a shot across the river to a park bench with an empty coffee cup and it tips over, so after this humongous explosion you hear this tiny tip-over of an empty paper starbucks cup. I laugh every time. This You-Tube video has it at 2:45.

The two cats who haze Bolt in his trailer...

The pigeons - my god the acting and stereotypes for the voices as well as the pigeon sound effects were great.

Then the sounds of the hampster's roller ball. The air-tight seal when he opens it, etc. etc. etc. You have to see the movie - comedic timing and sound effects are great.

But then again, there is always Up. I loved the kid's clunky boyscout attire and the bird's sound effects. I also loved the voice treatment on the big mean guard dog and Doug's voice. I love how the leader of the dog's voice gets pitched up too high when it malfunctions and he loses his intimidation.

Oh yeah - and then there's the little guy in Ice Age who's always chasing the acorn. (I don't know it's name or species - forgive me, Mr. Thom).


Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 14 155

This cup remains me a scene I´ve always liked from spanish comedy Airbag. Listen to the glasses at the very end of the video.

link text

– inigo – 2010-06-14T18:29:48.823


The Simpsons has brilliant sound design, almost every episode has some very funny sound design moments.

A common technique they use for comedy is to repeat the same sound effect several times in quick succession, the obvious lack of variation makes it funny

I think I saw a recent episode where Mr Burns was playing a WWII video game, all of the death screams were Wilhems :D

EDIT: An honourable mention should go to Monty Python & the Holy Grail, King Arthur didnt have a horse so he used coconut shells instead

Haydn Payne

Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 1 150


For me it has the Business Card duel scene from American Psycho.

All those internal sounds from Bateman expressing his surprise and rage at being so quickly beaten in designing a tasteful card.


Comic genius!


Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 3 911


I reckon for me the best use of sound in comedy would have to be in the British 50s radio comedy the Goon Show, which was surreal to say the least. Sound designers were required to create the sounds of someone driving a piano or an organ, so they managed to make it sound as if it were changing gear and everything; the inside of someone's stomach, numerous explosions and crashes where after the commotion had died down there would be the tiny tinkle of the last bit falling over and many more. They had so little to work with and made so much of it. they managed to communicate the idea of depravity through the sound of a donkey and were always speeding things up and slowing things down. They never knew what challenges they'd be faced with from week to week - from thrown batter-puddings to jet-propelled cafes.


Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 61

Great equivalent over here in the US was the great Ernie Kovacs, who also used a lot of sound (even visualizations of sound waves) in several sketches. – NoiseJockey – 2010-06-12T20:47:16.367


I recently rediscovered Ren and Stimpy on my netflix. Mixes were pretty rough, but man the sound design is genius throughout.


Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 10 706


My vote goes to IT Crowd, episode 1, hilarious use of simple white noise at 17:30 and onwards.


Posted 2010-06-11T08:05:37.367

Reputation: 5 521

That's funny, it may be an old show but I was watching that exact episode not a week ago :) – Justin Huss – 2010-06-14T19:43:27.973