Wednesday, June 15, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different

"Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." Oscar Wilde (a contemporary of Sir Monty Pyton of Castle Anthrax) first said this, but managed to make comedy easy and dying hard (penniless, alone in a hotel room, never having recovered from the cerebral meningitis contracted while in a Dickensian prison convicted on sodomy charges).

However, I think he accurately spoke for most of us. Comedy is tough. To write something funny, you have to be extremely clever with words. It also helps to actually be funny - funny is hard to fake.

Oh yeah - and if you want your post to be funny, never start it with a tragic story of death in the time of Dickens - it just doesn't get much less funny than that. (Unless you throw in a name like "Pip" or some tart wearing a 30 year old wedding dress to lighten the mood).

(Never mind, strike that - it's all damn bloody tragic no matter how you spin it).

Funny writing is the toughest. In a movie, you can avoid the need for clever writing by doing slapstick, or sometimes just looking funny. Or being funny looking.

It's tough to do slapstick in a written piece. For instance, just now I reached for my beer, almost knocked it off my desk, grabbed at it and it foamed over, so I tried to rapidly suck it down but then had beer came out of my nose and it sprayed all over the keyboard which sent sparks flying everywhere and caught my underpants on fire which I fortunately quickly dowsed with the rest of the beer.

And I'll bet you didn't catch any of that, or even laugh one little bit. And my balls are sitting in hot sticky beer for nothing.

You can't do funny looking in writing. I kood spel werdz so thay wur funny luking...but that just looks stupid, not funny.

I suppose I could attempt some cartoon ascii art, but that's not really writing, it's painting in another medium.

And even if you do manage to actually write something that you think is funny, many (most?) readers think otherwise. (Take yourself, as a case in point). Humor is like wine - there are many varieties of each, accompanied by their respective fans and hecklers, some are better fresh off the vine while others need some time to blossom, and both stain the carpet.

I'd advise against reading your latest witticism out loud to your cubicle neighbors. Most will respond with a look that will have you checking in a mirror to see if you've suddenly acquired a big zit that just popped or a hairlip or something. That kind of look that falls between feeling-sorry-for-you and horrified-but-for-some-reason-morbidly-fascinated- and-can't-look-away. Anyway, not a look that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy-bunny wanting-to-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya with the brotherhood of the cubicles - basically, not a good look.

I'd also advise never to ingest any mind altering substances prior to attempting humor writing. Oh, sure, the prose will come flying out of your fingertips, every line a pearl generating peals of laughter. But in the sober light of day, it will look like the secret ancient language of the Mayan Monkey Gods - ie, it'll be gibberish. (Or perhaps it truly is masterful craftsmanship of the English language that would have the Monkey Gods laughing till bananas were squirting out their butts, but all the philistine humans who read it will still think it's gibberish).

One last tidbit. Never attempt humor writing at 3am. This is essentially the same as the mind altering substance effect, and will cause you to write nonsensical, irrelevant crap that no one will want to read (or, having inadvertantly read it, will make them want to tear their eyes out their head and light themselves on fire).

Say Good Night Gracie.


At Thursday, June 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your post aMusing.

At Thursday, June 16, 2005, Blogger A Muser said...

tHank you


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