how to write humor

Always practice safe and sane humor to avoid injury. I love it when people share. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 11, 2011: Thanks for reading, Ashutosh. I've been trying off and on to analyze humor for a while without much success. Hey Nev, My mop directions were confusing (to me) when I first read them, but in order to make the point, I'll admit that I exaggerated the confusion, for the benefit of those who generally understand things better than I do, so they could get the same feeling. I think really funny people are just fabulous observers - they shut up now and then and see how strange and wonderful the world is and then it just comes out of them - my kids are like that! Seven Steps to Better Writing Humor. Don’t spend much time “setting up” a joke. Normal Person. He does need to focus on his legs, he’s been skipping out 😂: I have laughed myself sick with their magazine and their books! !” (Many international readers won’t understand the Spanish reference). Karen Wilton from Australia on May 21, 2011: Your point about teaching someone to draw doesn't mean they'll become an artist was spot on. She no longer asks, "what are you thinking?" I use my thesaurus a lot. Unfortunately it can backfire though, just like those who are tone deaf and cannot share enjoyment of music, there are persons who take offense at the little jabs, however innocent they may be. He was a fine fellow - old, wrinkled, and full of beans - even though he was as ill as a person can be and without a dollar in his pocket. It may be correct, but it is not, in itself, funny. I remember one time I called my mother "Maw." Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 09, 2012: The discussion in your hub about assault, defense, and tickling struck home as I recalled being tickled by certain of my older male relatives when I was a kid. Avoid making long, winding, and “clever” jokes that are complex. He did this so well that if anyone were to really get mad, they would look absolutely stupid. Especially when you get to the level of regularly broadcasting to 100,000+ people, even tiny amounts of crazy people start to add up. If you’ve ever read KopywritingKourse, you know the images look like a 3 year old drew pictures on his dad’s iPad. I am seriously older than you, but not  seriously funnier.. It shows how things really are. There's a dark side to tickling. (Scientific studies DO say that laughter reduces stress hormones and strengthens the immune system, so it's all good.). The classic Abbot and Costello "Who's on First?" Read some of my humor hubs-- you decide. I'm so thankful what you shared bestows a new attribute to the data I'm accumulating. Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on June 08, 2010: I know what you mean. Though people like to be in their comfort zones, most also like to be slightly threatened, occasionally. I'm often the first one to start cracking up. Etc etc – It’s so absurd, but he never acknowledges that it *should* be funny, which makes it funnier. And it does seem if you analyze it too much you might lose it. I sometimes go from "this is sort of funny" to "this might be funny" to "I'm not so sure this is funny at all." For example, if a comedian was to directly say what they think to an audience, it would possibly invoke some resistance and anger because people generally do not like being told what to do. It definitely bonds people. funnebone from Philadelphia Pa on June 09, 2008: I am going to take this time for introspect and self discovery. Example: “This deal is muy caliente! It allows one to express things he or she otherwise couldn't. Thanks for your comments. Tell a Story. So lace your introduction with a little humor. I really appreciate the way which you look at this field of study, it offer me a new way of looking at it now. Throwing in some original material definitely spices things up, though, it would be wise to consider audiences first. establish trust from the reader because it shows you’re vulnerable without If you’re always selling something, that same old pitch can get boring, so why not sex it up a bit?? I've found it way too complex and subtle. So try a little funny. You even made my son laugh with your additions to the canine attributes list and he is a tough audience to crack. Thou Shalt Not Worry About Offending. Lots of men and women who crack up their friends and co-workers are incapable of writing funny dialogue. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 20, 2009: There's the trick, getting it on paper. In the past I have taught people basic drawing techniques. If you start writing to a large audience, there is a 100% chance you will get some BAWL’s that just love to complain. Start from the truth. For me I believe that when it comes down to the nitty-gritty - to getting the words down onto paper - there are two essential ingredients - the situation and timing. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 05, 2012: Andyes, thank you for your comment. There's nothing particularly profound in this, but here goes my opinion: My Dad was a rather quiet, very kind, agreeable man who had a wonderful way of defusing a tense situation with a quip. For example, on this copywriter salaries post we could’ve put a standard stock image kind of like this to start the post: Instead we decided to make it a little more outlandish so it stands out amongst the sea of other posts: Like this dude above, your brain feels playful after having lots of caffeine…..and when your brain is feeling funny and playful, it will output funny and playful writing! Anyway, nice article. )Thanks so much for your comments! Such a wonderful hub. Eventually, I found my defense to it when I was grown and confronted them with their behavior. Why: I learned over the years that drugs have destroyed many relationships and families, and is generally not a pleasant joking matter for many people. The more obvious the better. It may contain all of the correct information, but it is not sexy. Well, there's a lot more to it, but when writing, simple seems to work. THE GOOD NEWS: After pounding a few cans he just spent the past 12 hours going crazy on Photoshop and ended up designing a ton of new Hustle merch. Thanks for an enormously insightful read. Author Scott Dikkers will show you how to write jokes. His verbal attacks made the audience mildly uncomfortable because most of them would not dare to use such impolite expressions. Funny narrators are endearing and have an interesting way of viewing the world around them. by Jan Hornung. Ironic, really, because all it has done is made me question further. When I forwarded a piece I had written to a friend, he emailed me back saying, "I see you are still trying to be funny." On there other had there are many examples of comics who were wise and benevolent and charitable -- (Bob Hope, Will Rogers,...) And I can't think of any criminals, with the possible exception of Robin Hood, who are. Also, we are glad it did not happen to us—but we know it could (threat). If you have heard the same joke, the same line, before then you're less likely to find it side-splittingly funny. However, all writers can benefit from learning more about how humor functions in writing. When we are surprised, when our beliefs are countered, when we are told we are wrong about something, or when our ways of thinking are challenged, there is an element of threat. Use this Pun Generator if you need help coming up with something punny! I do add a humor tag to my hubs, though. The Onion is such a classic, I remember even reading the print version back in the day and people “not in the know” would be so confused :). Use humor that doesn't rely on coarse language or profanity to make its point. [View Article], Why it’s good: Instead of simply saying “We’re giving away some T-shirts” this email added in some quick-and-punchy humor with the Four Loko reference. But when you’re sending out to a massive number of people, it might only mean 0.1% of people are actually upset. You must know what you're doing :). White famously said, is like dissecting a frog; few people are interested and the frog dies of it. The answer is A B C A B A C A B A A A B B....DAMN! A humor essay isn’t a long uninterrupted stream of jokes. Or it would be like trying to teach them to be brown-eyed when they already have brown eyes. A lot of humor is involved in the delivery...rather verbally or literally...and while I think people can pick up certain characteristics in this regard...to teach it is another story. If a stand up comedian ridicules a person in the audience, that person does not usually laugh. This means we can slap in some funny burns. Humor is in there somewhere. Alternatively, humor can help you change your perspective. U Neek from Georgia, USA on May 21, 2010: Now I'm gonna hafta to do a lotta thinkingm 'cause I've never tried to analyze why things are funny either. As you said, it loses it's surprise and you start second-guessing yourself. Let me start over.... Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 10, 2010: Thank you, htjh, I would be interested in seeing the results of your research. I KNOW my dad was one, a man of few words-- but the ones that came out were often quite funny. Nonetheless, writing humor is a highly logical exercise — fit idea X into form Y for humorous result Z — and can therefore be broken down in ways that more slippery kinds of prose tend to resist. Wow, a great hub from a very intelligent woman! I do however, have an occasional 'shining' moment when I get him back as good as he gives. So you want to know how to write funny? It lacks the friendly, or non-hostile, element. You start with two straight items (the … That was a very level-headed and constructive criticism I got many years ago, and and took it to heart. It can feel like EVERYONE hates you. I don’t particularly care if a joke is a little offensive, but I DO care if the joke isn’t funny at all! Well, there's a lot more to it, but when writing, simple seems to work. I'm glad you found something in it to spark thought. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 20, 2008: Yes, "being there "is often the key. Teacher Michelle, aka Ripplemaker, and I laugh about things like that at the office. Yeesh. Thanks for the laughs. Writing humor is subjective and challenging - thankfully, there are many ways to create it. Perhaps because they were using the oldest tricks in the book, perhaps because they were telling it as if it were an article on molecular gastronomy.. And then I went on to read another submission which I found absolutely hilarious. It is also often from someone we know and trust. Bahahaha, I laughed when I finally Google’d the reference 😂, This is not the “usual” copywriting advices .. At first they did not feel right to me but they have grown on me as they are simple and now it is fun to see how you are going to incorporate them into things (the shower one above as an example with the censor). This is the opposite to being criticised or challenged. A good stand-up comedian knows how to get their opinions across in a non-threatening way. The more words, the less funny it is. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 18, 2008: I think you are on the right track-- very funny response. If it had said "men's underwear" I would've been thinking 'Well, that wasn't funny.'. The ole Seinfeld references ploy: The “mimbo” “regifted” even though there was significant “shrinkage”… Gitty Up! Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 11, 2009: Yes, I understand the reluctance to put the humor label on a piece, simply because it is so subjective. That is the only time I believe feeling threatened can occur. I do try to spread the silliness when I can. I’m sure you have definitely seen some of your writers spend 1+ paragraphs just setting up a joke and thinking, “Wait….what are they talking about right now?”. Humor is based on truth, literalness, humility, objectivity, possibility and sometimes impossibility. AppSumo livened it up by making a pun out of the song “Turn Down For What!” Hilarious! Here’s another example from The Hustle, about a promotion giving away free merchandise: THE BAD NEWS: My cofounder John just discovered Four Loko. The Definitive Joke Writing Handbook. There must be a capable sender and a capable reciever. As for the rest, naturally humor does not come at all! It is just like Jultomten arrived! Still - sometimes humor is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. . . I'm not a psychologist. B.T. Neither should be allowed into the wrong hands. I’m sure the grammar police will hate this tip, but just because something isn’t in the dictionary doesn’t mean you can’t use it! Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on May 30, 2011: I LOVE that you came to read this, ahostagesituation. It goes against the theory of relativity and the space/time continuum. An article can be great WITHOUT it being funny, so don’t try too hard or it sounds cheesy or cringey. So long as a word gets a message across, it was successful. There are a few things that I do consciously to "enhance funniness," besides writing in comic book font (and see, that's funny because there's no way that could really make a difference—so that's kind of the flip side—or the flippant side—of truth. wherever part is being tickled. Making people laugh takes some skill and finesse, and, because so much relies on instinct, is harder to teach than other techniques. Certainly there is more to it than I put forth here, but I still think I got some of the basics right. Life is just so darned funny, you don't have to look that hard to see it, and it is so much fun to share it. Most of us would have no idea what that means. The more random an observation, the funnier it is. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 03, 2019: I agree, mostly. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 17, 2009: And, yes, The seriousness of life does eventually become absurd with enough time. The word which cracked me up? Or write a single joke. No, not at all, but going back and looking at some things I have written, I can see that they do generally apply. Thanks a bunch! Analyzing humor, as E.B. If you are willing to risk your life to save a child. This … I promise to watch 'The Stooges' and least once a month and to view four Seinfelds per week. long silences and then spectacularly funny things - You are one of those observers, I can tell. But I have to look at things in a very objective manner and ask myself if my reaction or non-reaction to a situation is true, or is there another way to look at it. I just today put the first three of many Hubs online that are ostensibly cooking recipes, but it was impossible for me to not combine them with some funny tales as well. I agree that tickling may not be a perfect analogy, but it served to show my feelings-- a purely personal view-- about the 'mechanics' of humor. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 05, 2008: Yes, humor usually is an uncomfortable truth to at least some degree. 5 Hilarious Strategies for Humor Writing. Sometimes you have to dig out the humor. ;). In order for humor to contribute meaningfully, it must matter. We kidnapped the founder of WidgetBox in the middle of the night, and told him unless he gives us 75% off a lifetime subscription we’ll tell everyone he sleeps in Barney underwear. tickled. I personally do two kinds of writing. The most important thing to remember, though, is simply this: As for me, I find moments when I can make folks laugh, but I have no idea why. Sex is sexy, humor is funny. I still think analysis doesn't quite capture the underlying spirit. The fool in many courts was an esteemed advisor who possessed a unique (and dangerous) position. I loved your book too. This is very enlightening, and I am so glad I came across this hub really. Regarding other comedy outlets like sitcoms, cartoons, sketch shows, movies etc, I cannot see how anyone could feel threatened by watching them. Copywriting Course © 2020 All Rights Reserved…giggity. since my current project is merchandise with "odd ball humor" i finding that i realy am an odd ball.. that or people like my funny they just dont wana buy it.. im sure it's a mix of not funny and not impropper sales pitching.. but since this is about humor i'd like to ask how you feel about deadpan humor. However in the end it turns out the article gives good advice. I'd say something that I was completely serious about and people started laughing. I hope you understand. I’m a native Texan too Neville so I don’t tend to wear my “feelers” on my shoulders. Thanks for sharing. I don't. Tickling is not an accurate analogy because although you cannot tickle yourself, you can make yourself laugh by thinking funny thoughts and ideas, or by writing comedy. Those are all great examples, although don’t think I’ve seen that Middle Finer Project before, very unique presentation of content! Make your opening the window through which your readers will see the essence of your article. Consistently being funny is also something that brings a framework to be ready to laugh. If you keep your writing pithy, you’ll probably keep your readers laughing. I will send the top three commenters a whoopi cushion 😛. If you try too hard to be funny, it often ends up NOT FUNNY. Anti-aging cream does it for me because it doesn't make sense that you should be able to rub a substance on your skin and it stops you from getting older. Evilpants from Hell, MI on August 11, 2009: I have no idea how I missed this. If it did work to stop aging, users would never get another birthday present. . Of course, not everyone is adept at being funny—particularly in writing. When I go to see a stand up comedian, if they are good, then I feel empowered both during and after watching them. If I *hadn't* been at death's door, I would've tweaked it for days, then *maybe* published it, maybe not. Some "humor" can be mean spirited, but I do not think this is real humor. So I added a few items to the list which are also absolute Truth: When she got my list, she said her husband came in her workroom to see what she was laughing at. Hasta! Avoid making elaborate analogies. Perceiving someone else to be smarter than yourself can be threatening, but if that person is not hostile, or pompous, or mean spirited, it still goes back to the tickle effect. Much of what’s funny happens in the moment. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 06, 2009: Just one take on it--yes, it is hard to pin down. Re-imagine things as being totally ridiculous. People will read a humorous piece, laugh and say ". No really, I have to work it, right? Our teacher loved it and we got the highest score he had ever given for that assignment in all years of teaching. She got upset and told me not to ever call her "Maw." Humor can be, too. Also the drawings are done that way simply because I just suck at drawings….but since they are simple, they can convey a message very quickly, often better than text! If you’ve got a knack for telling funny stories, when looking for ways on how to make money writing, humor writing is one great way to make money as a freelancer. programs like Threes Company and Gilligans Island.I admire those writers who were perfect on timing.I loved the art but never understood it.You explained so much.I read your hub but was pressed for time.I didn't want to leave but it was running late.So I decided I would stop and come back later.Right then and there I decided to stop and no matter how much I still wanted to read more I couldn't.I finally stopped and had to check how long the comments were from where I was.There were three comments left.I found your hub even funnier.Great job I will read it again and again. ….but we don’t want THE WHOLE THING to be one big laugh factory. BHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA “Cul-de-sac on my head!”. Thanks for the share. Hey Neville – great post! So, I … Gustave Kilthau from USA on September 18, 2009: Hello again, Rochelle. I have no credentials in psychology or even humorology to back up my theories. No, wait… Coffee. Ughh this dude is trying way to hard to be cool and funny, and it isn’t working :-/. Incredible article....I was ironically involved in a discussion about the act of "teaching humor" a few days ago. Avoid taking more than 1 or 2 sentences to make something “funny.”. What are good comedy writing techniques? In our preschool office, we often laugh at the image that brings to our mind when we utter sentences like "kids please make sure to close the door or the aircon will go out" and "The gate has arrived." :) Love your hub. At the end of such a routine he always thanked people for being good sports, thus making himself non-hostile as well. . In either case it wouldn't accomplish much. This is an awesome post, Neville. Curly, Larry, and Moe made us laugh with their funny business. I have been told I'm 'so funny', and I like to think I do have a great sense of humor. Well, modest as I am, I don't know that I would say "very", but thanks. If the victim over-reacts or under-reacts to the pratfall, it is threatening (incongruous). Glad to be a follower your blog, Thanks Ky, I try to mix advice with humor best I can :). It’s a narrative, and it should follow a … It is the rest of the audience who laughs because they are not threatened. I believe it comes more naturally to those of us who have never quite grown up. Or, if we sometimes do it, we have no idea how we did it. When you’re reading a book filled with humor writing that makes the milk you’re drinking squirt out your nose, like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the tone and the jokes often feel as natural and effortless as laughter. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 25, 2010: The best part is, everyone sees things from a slightly different viewpoint. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 01, 2010: Thanks, Dream On. It is similar to the act of trying to explain why things are funny. I'm not sure why alliteration seems funny. Then he explained to me that, after they married, they were "good and rich." Humor is what I like best. The unusual, exaggerated, incongruous, or unexpected thing is mildly threatening and uncomfortable. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 09, 2010: Well, lorlie6, you are up early this morning. Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 14, 2012: I like your analogy to music, and it brings to mind the fact that not everyone will appreciate humor, no matter how clever it might be. Discover the techniques professional comedy writers use to write consistently funny material. They are really fussy things to put together - really tight formats and protocols. I think something to consider, also, when writing humor is randomosity. Thank you for shining a little light on an ephemeral subject. (Please submit this to the department of redundancy department.). In essence, I love what this piece is about and enjoyed the advice rendered! Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 15, 2011: Thanks for commenting. Selling or educating is our #1 priority, being funny is just a bonus! STEER CLEAR OF SARCASM. And Don Rickles is a genius, thanks for mentioning him. This is an absolutely insightful post. Visual, verbal, cognitive shift, and conceptual humor are usually based on the non-physical tickle. Example: “We just snorted a bunch of blow and decided it’d be a GREAT IDEA to give away a free subscription!”. I don't want her to evaporate. routine is funny mostly because of the confusion of having the players named "Who, What," etc. like the eye drop commercials "wooooow....." any advice? Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 21, 2009: Very intelligent? It is similar to a story teller who can engage their audience, while teaching at the same time. You are seriously funny, and that's the truth. LOL. You definitely get a gold star ⭐️for that one! And while you don’t want to be seen as a clown (unless you’re a professional clown of course – you guys keep doing what you’re doing), infusing your content with a little humor could be just the boost your writing needs. Senses of humor are like living room couches: everyone has a different opinion on what should be sitting in the middle of the room. I thank you for another thought provoking and personable hub which you so steadily continue to produce. Sincerely, I sometimes run my ideas by a certain friend, just to check. Did you know we can take a look at the copy on your website and suggest changes for you that can increase conversions? Met a fellow in a dialysis clinic one time in Trenton, New Jersey. I live for laughter. Deal with it. So it’s like…, 1987 = Year of the Depend Adult Under Garment Thanks for another good hub. Think about reading a scientific, medical, clinical manual about the human physical procreative procedure. I’ve had enough of these conversations to think this is. Comedy writing is hard, and requires a special sort of skill set. Especially slightly offbeat, looking at the world sideways, type of humor, that makes you laugh but offers a little insight as well, " Besides eating, humor is the best survival mechanism i know ". Most of the things I write about are true happenings. Holy shit the pun generator. I will test-drive the pun generator and see if it’ll help me get pole position with my audience. Puns and double entendre are ambiguous, confusing, and surprising but they are harmless and we can't defend ourselves against them.

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