Serious Business of Humor (It’s Humour to us Aussies… the real spelling)
Newbie Writer’s Pod Cast
“Well I thought it was funny”
~ Stephen Corbert
Comedians practice constantly, and bomb consistently as they hone what is
a very serious skill: humor.
When you try to be funny — when you work at being funny — you will not
You all ready know how fraught with danger the average joke is. The inability
to tell a joke is a cliché in of itself. Did you hear the one about? It brings to mind
the stereotype sales person, over dressed, over excited, and ﬁlled with exclamation points, trying too hard. Just stop trying too hard.
My mother, for instance, cannot tell a joke. And I have painful examples.
I was the ﬁrst woman to burn my bra —
it took the ﬁre department four days to put it out
~ Dolly Parton
If you are funny, it will just come out. If you work at it, you will turn off the
very people you wish to impress. The best approach to humor in the spoken
language is to tell a funny story, something amusing that happened to you or a
close personal friend. But writing something humorous is actually something we
are not often called to do. And that is a relief, since in writing you do not have
facial expressions, gestures and the encouragement of the audience to help you
with your story.
That’s why it’s difﬁcult to write something funny.
Now, here’s what you can do.
Light humor, like adding a funny icon to your PowerPoint presentation, is
just ﬁne. Or you can make a cute, off-hand remark to liven up a presentation.
Make a comment speciﬁcally focused on your audience to open a talk. Humor
is best used to diffuse tensions; a light comment is often best; however, when
you write, you don’t know the tensions you are diffusing, right? Working to be
funny on paper can be a much trickier project. And if you are working too hard
to make the humor work, stop.
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 age out and look not only silly but irreverent. You do not
want to write papers or reports or articles that quickly become irrelevant — that
would be a waste of time.
“Humor is just another defense against the universe.”
~ Mel Brooks
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.
Americans are skilled at the witty or the comic story, which is good because no experience or talent required. For American writers just go in that direction.
What about Australians? or your own country and background? Is there a humor tradition? Are you experts in dark humor like the Irish? Rowdy humor? Just plain funny? If you can identify that propensity and then capitalize on it. Your humorous attempts will go much more smoothly.
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.
Write out your favorite joke. Now write it as if it went horribly wrong. Wrong set up, wrong punch like, just wrong. If that too funny? Or just horrible? Write a story about someone telling a joke badly. Or someone telling a bad joke.
Bring Out Your Dead:
Damiens crap from:
It was once said that the universe was only as large as your imagination will let it be. Even still, imagination is one thing, practicality another. John was a practical man in his early thirties who although classed as a human, referred to himself as a ‘spaceman.’ To him, a human is someone from Earth. Truth is, John had never been to Earth, to him it was a distant planet that shone brightly once every third quarter turn of the solar calendar.
That star called Earth shone brightly like an ancestral beacon that hinted of another time, a broader imagination. John sighed and looked up from his space suit as he sent another cart loaded full Quantonium X-110 up to the main cargo ship floating a mile above him. It was actually morning according to his body clock, however the infinitesimal blackness around him ‘during the day’ played eternal havoc with his sleep patterns. “Soon, soon I’ll be able to take a nice trip away, meet a girl and get a real job.” John muttered as he stifled a yawn.
Word of the Week:
Coxcomb was once spelled cockscomb. The cock’s comb in question was the traditional jester’s cap, which which had a serrated red crest rather like the one on a rooster. A cockscomb was therefore a jester or fool, in the professional sense of that last word.
Amber Norrgard, http://www.laaki.blogspot.com/
Justin Bogdanovitch (http://justinbogdanovitch.com/),
Susan May http://anadventureinfilm.blogspot.com/
Emma and her review on Itunes. Fleamailman Mr Goblin
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