Famous Ladies' Men 2: Woody Allen

In this second installment of my light review of famous ladies’ men, we turn our attention to Woody Allen. With professional success ranging from screenwriting, directing, acting, music and many other areas it’s a wonder Allen (born Allen Stewart Koningsberg) had any time at all for the ladies! But time he had - marrying several times and enjoying relationships with a number of beautiful, intelligent women.

Whether it was his humour, intelligence, understanding of women or his life success, Allen certainly had ‘something’. In this article we’ll analyse interview footage of the man and extract key lessons from his communication style and humour.

Allen’s humour has a very distinct style and is not for everyone. I, for one, love it and enjoy using elements of it in my interactions with women.

Clip 1

YouTube - Dick & Woody on psychoanalysis

Allen’s humour in this clip is very interesting. Note a couple of key points:

- Allen gives off a faux sincerity, appearing to answer seriously and honestly to draw in the listener. He goes with the listener’s expectations and then, at the last, defies them and delivers his punchline. See 00:25 for the first example of this - he goes on to amplify the joke at 00:57.

-He constantly skirts the line between humorous and serious. At 02:25 he discusses his thoughts on women psychoanalysts and MD’s, giving a serious answer capped with a silly punchline. When teasing a woman, this is an interesting ‘mode’ of humour to experiment with - it’s interesting and intriguing for a woman to be with a man who skirts this line with skill.

Clip 2

YouTube - Dick & Woody talk about food & health

This whole clip has some classic examples of ‘heightening’. This is when you take a concept, joke or discussion topic and raise the humour to new levels...and then some more...and then some more. Specific examples include 2:38 and 5:40. For a full explanation of heightening, click here to read Big Business’ article on humour.

Clip 3

YouTube - Dick & Woody discuss particle physics

The first 5 minutes of this clip see Allen discussing women, marriage and his ideal girl. This is an excellent example of his humour and the kind of material, with perhaps a more sexual edge, that works well in stage 1 of Da Hunter’s ideas on sexual hoops.

Clip 4 (below)
Like any mode of communication or social technique, to be constantly humorous in this manner would eventually lose its effectiveness. In the following clip Allen intelligently discusses his passions, creative pursuits and film as art. Having such things in his life, and being willing and able to discuss them in an interesting way, is an important counter-balance to his comedic leanings. Love Systems instructor Future is especially good at this.

YouTube - Dick & Woody get semi-metaphysical

General Thoughts
Allen is not the constant clown and resists the temptation to bite at every piece of comedy bait. From time to time he will either respond seriously or simply ignore Dick’s set-up and instead instigates his own thread. A willingness to occasionally cut and ignore threads, as well as a steadfastness in imposing one’s own, is a recurring theme in successful social communication.

It might be a little challenging to see how some of Allen’s communication skills might be used in set. Let me give you an example of an Allen-style humour theme that I regularly use in set. I first heard the basis of this humour theme from Calabrese in Vegas, although I've subsequently heard that it's Braddock's invention. However, knowing the viewing habits of our LS instructor team (me included) it's probably a ripoff of Family Guy!! Before we talk about that, here's a hilarious (and entirely unrelated) Family Guy clip: Family Guy

Okay, back to the material. Note, this material can be delivered as one routine or sprinkled throughout an interaction as callback humour.

- I’m actually here tonight for two reasons: to lose my virginity and get married. I’m not sure which I should do first, what do you think?

- Yeh, my mum said ‘Keychain, it’s time to get out of the basement, stop playing World of Warcraft and start meeting some girls.’So she bought my shirt/ticket/hotel room and told me come talk to people.

- Actually, it’s a good thing we met - are you married? Oh cool, because I’m actually recruiting a wives...but all my wives need to have a special skill, what’s your special skill?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at. If comedy, humour and wit is your thing, you’ve got to check out the new seminar that we’re launching. Big Business is hilarious and, even better, he knows how to teach it - he’s been teaching improv in New York for years. Click here to find out more about Big Business’ new Humour and Improv seminar!