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About writing humor

June 17, 2013

Cat pictures? What was I thinking?

I’ve always wanted to write a post about writing humor. I’ve sat down to start one probably a couple dozen times, but I’ve never been able to complete it.

I can write humor–there are, I hope, dozens of posts on the very blog that have drawn a chuckle from at least someone who’s read it. Hopefully, there’s been a few that have caused an actual out-loud laugh–different than the cliched LOL that Al Gore had in mind when he took the initiative to create the internet. (That’s the actual quote, by the way. It was either that, or adorable cat pictures.)

But I haven’t been able to write a post about writing humor. Mostly it’s because I can’t tell you how I do it. I just do. I know the humor I write tends to be of a specific tone and type. It’s usually a little edgy, kind of cranky. Snarky, they call it in the blogosphere.

It’s a little cynical–probably based on being a Jets fan for as long as I can remember. That builds a lifetime of cynicism.

So the humor I write is in my voice. It’s the only way I can write humor, really. Edgy observation and banter. It’s usually observational in nature, punctuated with a righteous and well-deserved humorous rant.

It probably blossomed in my formative years at my job at Galway Market, then was honed by the writings of Robert B. Parker and great movie and television characters like David Addison, Carla Tortelli, Chandler Bing, Toby Ziegler, and Mary Shannon–all layered on top of a gift given by God to enjoy a wry inward smile when confronted by life’s vagaries.

Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec

And if you’re looking to write humor, all of this is of absolutely zero help to you.

So I’ll leave it to you. How do you write humor?

 

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7 Comments
  1. June 17, 2013 6:13 am

    Great article! I have a naturally twisted sense of humor, so ANYTHING is fodder for this writer! Every experience, I document in essay form and someday, I hope to compile the pieces into a book! Life is good when you can find humor in everyday foibles!

  2. Peggy Lambert permalink
    June 17, 2013 10:04 am

    Humor is subjective in that not all people can laugh at all things. For example, I watched America’s Funniest Home Videos – once- for about ten minutes. I wanted to cry. I find nothing funny about awkward falls or being caught unaware when something private is being taped. Obviously, many do find it hilarious because I still see it in the listings.
    What is more impressive to me is wit, an unexpected answer to a question, an under-the-breath comment, a new view on an old subject.
    And, just for the record, I do occasionally chuckle while reading your blog.

  3. June 18, 2013 12:26 pm

    Humor can be a difficult thing. It’s a serious matter.

  4. June 18, 2013 11:40 pm

    I blogged about this once. http://rebeccaklempner.com/2013/03/07/for-writers-5-ways-to-be-funny/

    Most of my colleagues/readers tell me I’m the most funny when what I say has more than a grain of truth in it. Like the thing that nobody says, but everyone thinks–except the character acts/blurts it out. Or the a scene that is reality, just exaggerated.

  5. June 19, 2013 9:46 am

    This is a test. For some reason, still figuring it out, I get stumped with log in.

  6. June 19, 2013 9:48 am

    Well, of course, today it works! That’s the humor of the gods, I think. Perhaps WordPress has finally straightened out my account.

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