Monday, May 4, 2009

The Art of Funny

People tell me I'm funny. I get it all the time. At first I took it as a compliment, thinking that perhaps I could roll it over into my writing to be successful in more ways than I had initially considered. Perhaps I could be a sketch writer, or write for a website that focuses on satire. After reading some of my early attempts, I'm developing a new perspective on my so called sense of humour.

First, I'm pretty certain that people confuse random with funny. I tend to go for shock value with my chosen phrases and occasional outbursts. Its not intentional, but I get bored with the traditional way of responding to situations so I throw a random caustic opinion into the mix every now and again. When you work in the service industry, such responses are a cathartic form of anger management; often allowing me to keep my job. More traditional conversationalists are often shocked by my lack of pretense. Their immediate response is laughter, which informs their linear brains that I must be funny; this information follows the internal interstate to their voice box and "Wow, Rach, you're so funny" pops out.

Secondly, I've realized that transferring humour into your writing is a whole different ballgame. There are so many factors to consider. How will this joke be perceived by all age groups? Will it be culturally relevant if and when this script is produced? Does is cross any PC lines? Is it something that only I would consider funny because I've been there? If I can get through all of these questions and still want to use the joke then hit +s and break out the champagne! When I do hit humour it my writing it is usually because I've gotten to know a character and can imagine the funny things he or she might say. I'm certain it has little to do with my own sensibilities.

I am pretty sure I will always envy those who have an inherent gift of humour. The feeling that comes from making people laugh is unparalleled. Being able to immortalize that gift in your writing is fabulous. Until I master this skill, I will just have to survive with the comedian I have locked in the basement. Which reminds me, its time for his lunch...


  1. New log line: Working lives of the staff at a mid-market chain restaurant. Customer experiences, kitchen antics, etc...

  2. Me too! Okay...

    Waitress writes tell all book about her heinous and hilarious customers resulting in one of the best selling novels of the year. However one particular customer doesn't find reading about him/herself too funny and sets out to destroy her.