So, recently I got an email from Writer’s Digest with an article about how to use humor in your writing. And since I am the most serious humorless person on the planet (insert beige reference here) I decided to read the article in the hopes of picking up some keen tips on how to incorporate humor into my blog writing.
You will, I hope, forgive this indulgence, kind reader.
So the article is broken down into two sections—the basics of humor and how to use it. First the basics:
In order to use humor you must understand its science. Luckily for me, the editors at Writers put it into five easy bullet points for my feeble mind to understand. Humor can be broken down into these five types:
The “K” rule—cramming in as many K sounds and hard consonants as possible.
George Carlin made this point ages ago in one of his humorous lectures on the use of curse words in our society. He determined, no doubt through rigorous study and experimentation, that the phrase “cocksucker-motherfucker” may indeed be the most humorous expletive known to man. I myself would have gone with “Cunty McQueefstain”—also effectively using the rule of K — but I will have to run a number of triple blind studies to truly gauge its affect on modern society
The rule of three: two likes in an idea and one incongruent idea.
Hmmm…an interesting concept. Let’s experiment shall we? Lincoln logs, tinker toys and a fifth of Kamchatka. Oh, this is fun. Coffee, tea and a dog-eared copy of the Kama Sutra. For this paragraph to contain humor, I suppose I need one more example. Hmmm… nope. Nothing. (see what I did there, with the two likes and…oh, never mind)
The comparison joke: brainstorm a metaphor and then choose the funniest one that makes the point well.
I believe the example in the article was something about underwear riding up like a window shade, or some such. How crude. Writing an example like that would be like submitting a poem to the New Yorker comprised only of fart noises and Pauly Shore catchphrases. Or like walking into a bar and ordering grape Kool-Aid in a sippy cup.
The Cliche joke: taking a cliche elsewhere:
Such as “don’t throw the baby out with the liquor bottle recycling” or “any friend of yours is currently on my hit list” (btw, I found a wonderful site of clichés here, which could be your ace in the butt for this type of joke).
Funny anecdotes and stories
Funny story—I was standard, debutante-level drunk and trying to find SOMETHING to write about because my child had been entirely too boring and shortcoming on the blog material, when Writer’s Digest sent me this newsletter article…wait…
Now that you’ve got these five comedy techniques under your belt, it’s time to put them into practice:
Be strategic. Don’t scatter jokes willy nilly
(because then it would be porn. Joke porn. And so’s your mom.)
Use it sparingly.
Otherwise you’ll be like a toddler asking you every five minutes if he can have a popsicle, and you say no, and then he asks you again, and you begin to regret ever having children, and wishing that the popsicles contained Benedryl so you can have five fucking minutes of peace to make a decent-to-middling martini that I will down within two minutes! Or something like that…
Let your readers know you’re laughing.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to be laughing at, but here goes:
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Keep your focus in mind—don’t demean from the true purpose of your project.
Like when you start a blog to kind of document the reality of raising a child with autism, but you spend most of your time writing about silliness that has absolutely nothing to do with your son, and your readers begin to wonder if you even have a kid, or if you just drunkenly went down to rent-a-toddler to take a few pics and pass off someone else’s extremely beautiful kid as your own. Because anyone with a kid can’t possibly drink as much as you do. Or can they? That is for forensic examiners to determine.
Steer clear of sarcasm. Many readers find it mean and hurtful.
Awww. We wouldn’t want THAT, would we? I mean, even though we have to deal with douchy people on a day-to-day basis who can’t even take a MOMENT to show COMMON COURTESY in a place like the GROCERY STORE. No. we wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s sensitive FEELINGS over something as silly as an anonymous snarky comment aimed at someone your readers may never know. We should just hold giveaways of puppies and kittens and tell everyone that they are the best thing that ever happened since processed American cheese food. Yeah. THAT’S gonna help my blog. And I suppose I REAAAALLLLY shouldn’t drink, either. I never touch the stuff, don’t you know.
I hope my overview of this article was as helpful to you as it was for me. I now feel confident of using humor in my day-to-day life. Perhaps now I will be more charming at cocktail parties. Or perhaps I will continue to use my current trick of showing more cleavage to be popular. Either way, free drinks, eh?