There's a basic theory of comedy that coupling the sacred with the profane is usually a good way to find the funny.
As Writers’ Room Guru Brent Forrester puts it: “Most jokes have at their core, a contrast between the sacred and the profane.”
The High and The Low in contrast:
Religion, old people, babies, funerals...
...combined with sex, the toilet, violence, rock and roll etc. etc. etc.
So for example, urban hip hop breakdancing (PROFANE) cute babies (SACRED) -- is funny.
(like in ‘that’ water advert).
They’re also a good way of generating moments of super nobility
(angelic choirs singing hymns on mountain tops)
or super evil...
(illuminated advertising street bins).
I’m trying to keep lists of The Sacred and The Profane, and bank them all right here.
(Tattoo of Michael Landon = Sacred and Profane)
(Golden/Model+Toxic = Sacred and Profane)
(Translation: Garbage Truck)
So a Virtual Grandparent Video Game is sacred & profane,
double sacred is a hardback poetry book, or toddlers making progress,
and sponsorship on a rubbish truck is doubly profane...
Love of humanity
One night stand
Illuminated advert dustbins
So from these wrongs... a family hug in a boardroom, a burger and chips up a mountain top, a group shared moment of torture...
Doubly profane, having a one night stand on an advert dustbin...
doubly good, backing singers on a mountain top and the bicycle made for two.
(A carpark. Profane.)
Love which endures
So... from these tiny lists, sacred and profane:
A reality show set in a nursery (which C4 are doing with "Secret Life of 4 Year Olds")
Loving a serial killer (death row dames)
Giving away free toilet paper
School projects to grow the best tobacco.
A toddler (sacred) who is a pig (profane) makes the Babe stories and films (Sacred and Profane).
Intensive Care Unit
Mobile phone masts
Open All Night
An accoustic song (Sacred) to a dad (family love = Sacred) about a JCB construction digger (Profane).
The JCB Song
Seeds and berries
Slash from Guns and Roses playing heavy metal solo on an electric guitar (profane, profane, profane) outside, in Church grounds, on a mountain top (sacred, sacred, sacred).
Out of tune
Photo of a rock (natural = Sacred) with an LED light embedded in it (technology = Profane)
Or... is it light (Sacred) coming from something hard and dark (Profane)
Interests of the group
Breaking Bad: about a chemistry teacher (Sacred) making drugs (Profane).
Or... "A terminally ill (Sacred)
with a former student (Sacred)
...to manufacture (Profane)
crystal meth (Profane)
to ensure (Profane)
his family's future. (money = Profane)
The 3 women from the Blurred Lines video
"The pie" from the Oscar winning film, The Help.
Homemade cooking (Sacred)... and its "special ingredient". (Profane)
Brain / The server
Street bins/dog poop bins
Malfunction eg backfiring or itching
(Do It On My) Twin Bed
Doing it (sex = Profane)
...in your childhood bedroom (family home = Sacred)
Sex offenders register
Police "Do Not Cross" tape
Ice Road Truckers.
Ice (nature = Sacred)
Road Truckers (Profane)
Princess/Royalty (Sacred) in a coffin/death (Profane)
Fast food packaging
The imagery of Stephen Hawking
Brilliant mind and profound Science (Sacred)
...conveyed through a robot voicebox (Profane)
Steptoe and Son playing scrabble
Funny memorable sitcom scene.
Family game (Sacred) vs. Profanities (Profane)
Language (Sacred) vs. Point scoring at all costs (Profane)
Used Car salesmen
Kitten rolling itself up like a Transformer.
...folding up into Autobot mode (profane)
Sacred and Profane.
Terms and Conditions
Dogs pooing in the back of family photos.
At first sight, it looks like
Family photos (sacred) vs. Excretion (profane)
But it could also be...
Natural behaviour (sacred) vs. Posing (profane)
Dogs (nature=sacred) vs. Photography (technology=profane)
There's a whole load of them online.
I'm finding it really difficult to get hold of any more "Sacreds"
- got loads of profanities, for some reason.
So before that well runs completely dry... behold...
Competition winners meeting a Lakers cheerleader
You know it's wrong.
You know it's really funny.
But what is it?
Family photo (sacred) vs. advertising (profane)
Pristine (sacred) vs. messy (profane)
Real life (sacred) vs. marketing image (profane)
Feminine (sacred) vs. Male (profane)
Who cares, there are bunches more here
Oh Lord, won't you buy me, a Mercedes-Benz
Oh Lord (sacred)...
... Buy me (profane),
a luxury brand car (profane, profane, profane)
Old people (sacred) as fighting soldiers (profane)
Meeting in a Church (sacred) to battle the Nazis (profane)
In a sleepy seaside town (sacred) during World War II (profane)
Poetry on estate agents boards
From this brilliant article by Ariane Sherine.
Basically, turns out there's a guy in Kentish Town (near where I grew up in London)...
and he puts his poetry up on estate agents boards outside his house.
It's lovely, and Sacred and Profane.
Poetry (sacred) plus Estate Agents (profane)
Art (sacred) plus Advertising (profane)
Sacred and Profane is a theory that art is more powerful when two ideas from the worlds of the Sacred and the Profane are combined.
So this is it.
My very last list of Sacred and Profane.
And I've ended up with loads more Profanes than Sacreds.
I can't even put them in a nice table box, so here they are as a scrappy list.
Old Spice Muscle Man Music
There's a theory that when you combine the Sacred with the Profane, you conjure up scenes which are even more powerful, compelling or funny.
Here is the Old Spice Muscle Music.
You could look at it as a combination of:
Music (Sacred) and Bodybuilding (Profane)
Music (Sacred) and Technology (Profane)
Music (Sacred) and Shouting (Profane)
And "Flame Sax!" is
Instrument (Sacred) and Flamethrower (Profane)
Fire (Sacred) and Saxophone (Profane)
Anyway, I've spent most of tonight shooting my first Sacred and Profane videos - and I noticed that I put a whole list of sacreds into a list of profanes... so here they are extracted as my final list of sacred and profanes before the first big draw of random combinations next weekend.
Heartlake City, from Lego Friends
There's a theory that you get more powerful artistic ideas when you combine the sacred with the profane.
Like the home to Olivia, Andrea, Emma, Mia and Stephanie... the Lego Friends.
Heart (sacred) lake (sacred) City (profane)
In a couple of weeks I'll start the weekly draw to combine different sacreds and profanes, but first I need the sacreds on cards to pull from the hat. (It won't be a hat. At the moment, in my head it's two Jiffy bags... but just thought I could get something better. Like a helmet for the profanes. And er, something nice for the sacreds. A sea grass basket. Or a leaf bowl.)
Anyway, here is every sacred I came up with last year.
Except my action camera cuts itself out after 25 minutes.
It's a Ricoh feature, that I only realised after 40 minutes.
Most of them are on here, so you get the jist.
My list of every sacred word for the Sacred and Profane weekly draw
Jerry Seinfeld's Pop Tarts Routine
Jerry Seinfeld talks about how he writes a routine, but the Pop Tarts one he uses as an example has lots and lots of sacred and profane combinations:
Jerry Seinfeld Interview: How to Write a Joke | The New York Times
as a kid (childhood=sacred) back of head blowing off (disfigurement=profane)
orange juice (sacred) hack at with a knife (profane)
committing a murder before you got on the school bus (sacred and profane)
wrapping your lips (sacred) around a wood-chipper (profane)
chimps (sacred) in the dirt (profane), playing (sacred) with sticks (profane)
I've now written out all my Profanes - it doesn't feel right calling them profanities, because words themselves are Sacred.
Here they are ready for the first draw week after next, I think
My list of every profane word for the Sacred and Profane weekly draw - Part One
The Good Life
On the surface it looks like...
Civilization (Sacred) disrupted by Farmyard noises and smells (Profane)
Or Being comfortable (Sacred) VS. Being miserly and struggling (Profane)
But the genius of it as an idea for a sitcom (or even drama) series is that maybe, instead, it could be seen as...
The Countryside (Sacred) VS. Surburbia (Profane)
Living off the Land (Sacred) VS. The Rat Race, and Working for The Man (Profane)
Stephen King when asked how he came up wth such imaginative ideas for his stories:
“I still have the heart of a little boy... in a jar on my desk.”
SACRED - heart, little boy
PROFANE - container, jar, desk, workplace
Anyway, here is the final list of profanities that have gone into the profane pile.
I should work out Sacred and Profane containers for these.
Maybe a food bowl for the Sacreds, and a potty for the Profanes.
I think I'm definitely going to do that. I hope I remember.
Remind me if I forget.
My list of every profane word I can think of for the Sacred and Profane weekly draw - Part 2
Ween - The HIV Song
Sudden Valley from Arrested Development
Slightly different list: ART or NOT ART
minimum service level agreement,
scope of work,
Either ways, it all works, and tees up time for my first Sacred and Profane draw.
Let's see how this is going to work out.
I'll pull out 10 words for 5 combinations,
and then wiggle them around to see if there's an even better combination of 10.