This week's Answer:
You Should Mention It
That's very funny, Deborah.
Oh. You weren't kidding. Good question.
A virtually impossible one to answer, but a good question,
none the less. The best "funny" comes from
the individual writer's unique perspective (or "POV"
as we in the business like to call it. Unless we
just say "point of view." Or
"perspective.") Others will laugh if you
do (unless you happen to be taking valium or
drinking cough syrup -- or other products that have a
tendency to make you think you're Neil Simon or a
well-paid sitcom writer or such -- while you write what you
think is very funny at the time).
Here's a good tenet for writing
Try To Be Funny!!!!!!!
Just let your audience / reader / your mother
laugh when and if they or he or she want to. Never try to force
a laugh. That's very important. The best way to lose your
audience -- even if they were just laughing a second ago -- is to let
you're desperate for their laughter. Just talk to a stand-up
comic who has bombed on stage. He'll tell you the same
thing. The same goes with drama, too. Never let an
audience see the strings that you're pulling to get them to feel a
Now, there are many types of comedy, all
the way from slapstick to very subtle, dry, sarcastic humor (The
English seemed to corner that market.), but, even if you're throwing a
pie (The Three Stooges seemed to corner that market), you still have to do it in a way that
works integrally with the story. The best comedy emanates -- and
is not applied to -- the situation.
No one is the authority on what is funny.
One person thinks something is funny, while another may not see it as
so. How does that saying go?
man's pratfall is another man's suicidal dive off a bridge.
Maybe it doesn't go quite that way. But the
idea is that there will be those who find your sense of humor, your
original view of the world as entertaining, as elucidating, as clever,
and, yes, possibly even funny. But remember: Let
"funny" happen. Don't force "funny."
Forced "funny" is a terrible sight. Many have never
quite been the same after having been force-fed
"funny." It's not a pretty picture. Or a funny
one, for that matter.
When it comes to "writing funny"
(whatever that is), I advise you actually to just write.
And let the "funny" take care of itself.
A case in point: I've purposefully
tried to not try to try to be funny through this entire column.
And I succeeded beautifully.
See what I mean?