Light humor, like adding a funny icon to your PowerPoint presentation,usually is a welcome addition to any lecture. A humorous light comment can help bring your audience to your side and help gain sympathy for your cause. But when you write, it’s a different story. First of all, humor often has a very short expiration date. A topical comment within a report or an email can be effective, if the report or posting is not meant to last. A topical reference in an annual report won’t work in your favor. It will rapidly age out and look not only silly but irrelevant. You do not want to write papers or reports or articles that quickly become irrelevant — that would be a waste of time.
Mark Twain wrote: “The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story is strictly a work of art — high and delicate art — and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it.”
That’s us, the witty or the comic story, no experience or talent required. Go in that direction, stay within your own personality and limits. Do not work at being amusing. And if it is NOT your nature to write wittily or humorously, you may want to just pass on the whole humor thing in your correspondence. Be sincere, be clever, be yourself, but don’t work to be funny, the odds that the whole endeavor will backﬁre are very, very high. Save yourself. If you really want to be funny, then just quote other people.
“So once again, we ﬁnd that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.”
~ The Tick
For more information read Don’t Write Like You Talk by me, Catharine