Writing Funny

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.
Henry Ward Beecher

I love to read funny books and blogs they can be serious too but with little elements of everyday humor they are more like life. Marion Keyes is one author who comes to mind. In the clean sweep assessment one of the questions was do you laugh hard every day. I do most days.

Writing funny however isn’t that easy and I have turned down taking free workshops on “how to write funny”. Maybe I have a different sense of humor but the people who teach these workshops usually don’t fit my definition of funny. Can you be taught to write funny? I don’t think so, you either got it or you don’t. And I think humor is family and locale based if you come from a funny family you most likely have a good sense of humor.In my experience,self deprecating humor is funny on the East coast on the West coast and in Colorado I’ve gotten blank stares. My friend who moved out to Oregon with me (a very funny guy) came home from work one day and said “they don’t think I’m funny” his shtick which worked for him for years got little more than a grin…he was used to side-splitting guffaws.

What do you find funny in writing? Have you tried to write funny? What do you think is the most important element in writing funny? Now get back to work!

Laugh often,
The Writing Nag

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5 thoughts on “Writing Funny

  1. I don’t think I can pull off funny 🙂

    I don’t think that most people can – and I’m not really sure it can be taught. I think it really does depend on where you are from too, I often find Irish blogs funnier than anyone else’s!

  2. I don’t think you can ‘learn to wrtie funny’. Whatever comes out the end of a pen is either funny or it’s not. Often times, life itself is a joke, with you as the teller (and the punchline as well!). I’m told I should be a comic because of the funny things I say — odd that I don’t realize they are funny until I’m told!

  3. To me, one of the essentials of writing humor is truth. It has so much more depth and impact when people can recognize themselves or others.
    For instance: “Seinfeld,” or to go a little more highbrow, James Thurber, especially “My Life and Hard Times.” We’ve all got weird friends (or maybe we’re the weird one) and embarrassing relatives. We’ve all done foolish things and tried to maintain our dignity.
    I think readers/viewers need to believe something could happen so they can relate to the situation.
    And in Dave Barry’s “Complete Guide to Guys,” you can see how he takes something true and pushes it to the point of ridiculousness.
    For example: “Guys devote so much of their brains to remembering such vital facts as who was named MVP of the 1978 Super Bowl that they cannot remember minor details, such as that they have left an infant on the roof of a car.”
    Kinda sick, but funny – because it starts with a kernel of truth. And yes I had a husband like that!

  4. I agree with Rhonda. There’s more humour in truth, fact being stranger than fiction.

    Is there such a thing as ‘universal’ humour? Maybe not.

    Some stand-up comedians are riotously successful in some places but fail in others. This proves that humour is a cultural thing and that the material needs to be matched to the audience – not easy to do.

    I’m just glad that I married a woman who appreciates my sense of humour, daft as it is. If she’s been faking it for over 35 years, she deserves an Oscar, or sainthood. That’s love for you!

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