Hey warriors! I’ve felt a bit like a lazy person lately, so I decided to use my YouTube overdose to inspire me right back out of the laziness. And no, I totally won’t go right back to AGT after posting this. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my rant on humor writing.
I am not a comedian. Let’s get that straight, first of all. I don’t belong on a stage cracking jokes. The only humorous thing I can crack is my humerus bone and I’m too lazy to do anything that could crack it. However, I am a writer. Which means, in today’s day and age, I have to attempt to master two things against my will: comedy and romance. Occasionally I can avoid them, but if you think about it, they’re the spoiled youngest twins of a big family of genres and every single poor genre with more wisdom has to drag them around with them. I hear them in my head: “Fantasy, weeee wanna go to Wonderland too! Whaaaaaaa!” “But come onnnnn, Contemporary! Let me come or we’ll tell our our friends and all your friends how mean and stupid you are!” “Sci-fi, you need us! Pleeeeaaaase?” Their whiny little voices are simply so aggravating almost every author gives in. And I, the teen writer without any humor, feel obligated to bring them along as well.
Now don’t get me wrong. Laughter is the best medicine and I enjoy a healthy dose every now and then. But when you spend over 50,000 words on a plot with comedy as it’s sub theme, it feels like a whole lot of work for nothing. If I wanted to laugh with less work, I’d go drink too much coffee, hang out with my sisters, and we’d stay up until 3 am. For heaven’s sake, skip the 3 am part and add sugar and exhaustion and it’s even easier. Besides, books are like tacos. Those covers had better be a shell full of good stuff. Just like I hate when fast food tacos are 70% wilted lettuce and cheese, I hate when a book is 70% pointless jokes that ruin good moments and paint overall good characters as stupid.
So maybe I am somewhat anti-comedy. But I still have to write it. If that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t be writing this post. I’d be writing a 50,000 words book with about 4,000 words of attempted humor max. Because when you get to the parts of life that just aren’t funny, you have the chance of helping them in a different way. Laughter is the best medicine but sometimes you need surgery and not a pill and water. Maybe it will hurt more, but no pain no gain! If you don’t allow yourself to be exposed to the pain, you won’t know how good it feels to be whole… or to become whole. Of course, sometimes a pill is just what you need, but there are too many pills made by fake docs with the weird headlamps and strangely handsome faces that supposedly cure everything when they don’t. Sometimes racking over a little more time for longer term help is better. So I’m not against comedy, just a little careful when I use it.
But as I mentioned before, I’m not funny. My version of roasts often look more like I turned on the flame and ran running for water so nobody gets hurt. I’m so horrible at roasting that, one day, the one guy at my church who could never roast anybody successfully roasted me without getting roasted back. Is it because I’m too nice? Partially. But it’s also because I’m too mean. If I really let all let loose, I would definitely have no friends. Not because I’m inherently horrible but because I just don’t understand the line. I’ve tried to find it, but it either burns too bad or it’s far too kind. Comedy for me is like Peter Pan: always going off on its own only to remind me that it’s in charge and there is no way I’m going to get it to take a bath to wash away the meanness so I can just go run away and leave it be or allow it. Shamefully enough, I have a friend who I beg to read my writing simply so she can roast it and make characters harsher without making them too brutal and dirty. So no, I am not a comedian. But thanks for not asking.
How do I plan to fix my lack of funny? Is it by watching too many AGT comedians? Is it by reading the I Funny books again even though I’m far too old for them? Maybe partially. But the biggest thing I plan to do is watch other people watch AGT comedy and watch other people laugh about jokes from I Funny. I’m going to study the audience and find what makes them laugh. I’m going to learn with my very logic-centered mind the logic behind the cringe, the laugh, and the chortle. I’m going to think about why I laugh at every tenth joke my grandpa delivers over the other nine that make me roll my eyes. And, once I have a little bit more knowledge, I’m going to practice. Maybe that will involve talking silently to a mirror. Don’t judge me. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to be the doctor who uses words not only to cut deep but to administer the slightly bitter but often sweet pill everyone would prefer. Because I’d rather help a stubborn heart a little than help nobody at all.
I am not a comedian. But maybe I can be. And maybe you, the not-so-funny person hiding in the back of the room, can be a comedian too. After all, anything is possible.
Do you think of yourself as funny? What makes you laugh? What makes you cringe? What’s the best joke you’ve ever told? What’s the best roast you’ve ever used? Let me know in the comments!