1. Corgz
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    Corgz Senior Member

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    How do you write humour?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Corgz, Jan 17, 2012.

    I tried. I failed. I destroyed all evidence. Then i posted here. How can i do it?
     
  2. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Humor is a strange creature. I wonder sometimes if you either can write it or you can't. I think humor often comes out in a strong voice. Perhaps try writing a different voice or find books that do it well and see how they pull it off.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    well humour is an acquired taste but I believe that we all have it within us it is wether one is fun enough/relaxed enough to let out the 'fun energy' if you like.
    Humour ranges from amusing to silly to extreme mockery hence laughter and laughter, that is within reach at all costs with those whose only sound of ''laughter'' is at the expense of others. That is not humour but depreciation of self.
    Another way of understanding and releasing humour and hopefully expressing it is the ability to laugh at yourself to release the funny side fo you, only then you get closer to being funny.
    That is my interpretation of humour and laughter.
     
  4. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    what kind of humour? There are all kinds, and it's hard to advise if we don't know what you're shooting for. Sometimes a situation is funny in itself, and sometimes its simply the tone it is written in that makes people laugh. So, what are you trying to write humorously?
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that writing humour is really difficult, unless you are a comedian-type person. But have a look at what do you say of do, in real life, that makes people laugh. Some people make funny faces, some are very clever and sarcastic (dead-pan) others use physical comedy, some people tell bad jokes, other joke about themseves to deliver a wider social critique etc etc. See what kind of "funny" you normally are and then try to incorporate that kind of humour in your writing. Maybe that will make it easier.
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Humor is also something that I've been desperately trying to understand, and this is what I've learned. (And for the heck of it I'm going to organize my reply with numerical ordering.)

    1) The hardest type of humor for me (thought still not very easy) is situational humor. I can see it in real life, and I can laugh at it, but I can't for the life of me create a humorous situation. So, I can't offer much advice here:
    a) I think this is type is more ironic humor. Say you have a vegetarian who is starving because he is at work and but forgot his wallet and his lunch. But all he can find is some leftover fried chicken in the fridge. And he is staring it down. The humor here would be him contemplating eating chicken despite all his morals and values against it, not really him actually eating it. The irony is that you would expect him to go hungry instead of contemplate the chicken.

    2) The easiest type of humor for me is character humor:
    a) Have your character have a silly quirk that keeps coming up. The funny part here, is that it is almost expected, and then when they meet our expectations for being quirky, we laugh. "Hilarious! Typical Bob."
    b) You can have a "foil" for your main character that pokes fun at him or her, teasing them and whatnot
    c) "Friends" is a great example of character humor. "Seinfeld," too. Nothing really develops episode to episode with these shows, it's the characters that we find hilarious. Joey loves his friends, but if it was between Chandler and a sandwich, he would choose the sandwich without thinking. And everyone makes fun of Ross for his many failed marriages. "I can't get a divorce. I'm not you!"

    3) Physical humor is another one that I don't really understand too well. What's the difference between gruesome and hilarious? I think it's innocence, though. Innocent injuries will probably be funnier than ones with malevolent intent.

    4) Misinterpretation humor. I'm not sure what it's really called, but when you have a dialogue between two people, and they are on totally different pages, but have NO IDEA because somehow the conversation goes both ways. If the reader understands how each person is interpreting the conversation, they will find the whole thing really funny.
     
  7. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    And just to add, physical (slapstick) humour does NOT work in literature. Why? Because most physical humour involves sight gags - you have to see it to laugh at it. Reading about someone falling over is just not funny, because all the humour is in the physicality of it.
     
  8. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I find the best kind of humor in literature is subtle. One might make a witty observation, or a character might say something that is not intended directly to be funny but that makes us laugh nonetheless. I'd say instead of trying to write humorously, try to write honestly, and you'll see that humor comes through every once in a while. I can paraphrase a few instances I've seen in short stories that I found funny. Can't remember the titles/authors at the moment.

    A character calls a prosecutor to curse her out for upsetting his wife in court. The husband takes the phone, and the man is shouting, "Don't you know what kind of pain my wife is in?" The husband says, "What kind?"

    A girl is describing a camp counselor's misery over her recent divorce. Anything that reminds the counselor of her husband makes her deeply upset and begin to weep: the smell of a cologne that reminds her of her husband, a surfacing memory of camping with her husband, seeing a cloud in the shape of her husband. The only way she can be cheered up is when the children sing the camp songs about Jesus.
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I wrote a story for my writing class in undergrad that used only slapstick humor. Actually, most of the class found it really funny.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you have to ask how to write humor, you probably can't... it's one of those things that only a very rare few can do successfully and it comes as naturally to those as breathing...

    being funny can't really be learned... you either are, or you aren't... sure, timing and delivery can be 'learned' by actors and stand-up comics, but to come up with stuff that will make others laugh is a gift... comics and humor writers have a wonderfully skewed way of seeing things that are just ordinary to the rest of us... they see humor in pretty much everything and can write or talk about it in ways that make us laugh...

    first of all, how much humorous writing do you read?... how much have you been reading and for how long?... how often do you watch and study comedians' routines?... how many film comedies and sitcoms do you watch?... if you don't 'take in' humor you can't hope to learn how to write it...

    test your humor level:

    are you always making your friends and family and even total strangers laugh?
    do people always laugh at your jokes?
    do you come up with side-cracking one-liners 'naturally'?
    do you always see some humor in ordinary situations and events?
    can you always tell when a comedian's jokes fall flat?
    do you laugh a lot?
     

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