Saturday, September 5, 2009
Finding Your Funny Bone
Defining humor and how to write about it creates the first challenge. Humor relates directly to the sensitivity of one’s funny bone for the nuances in life. The discovery of humor in unlikely situations takes talent.
What makes me laugh might not do the same for someone else. I don’t give up a chance to make a humorous connection in my search for silly because laughter’s my buddy. I humor on.
Humor must have evolved as a survival skill. Imagine primal humans hunting all day and suddenly a
sabre-toothed tiger charged from behind a bush. One hunter said to the other, “Distract him while I run back to the fire and get help.” Almost any situation can lead to a twinge of humor . . . for someone.
Dave Barry, a universally appealing humor writer, feels humor relates to fear and despair. The series, M*A*S*H, delved into these stressors of life and played with dark humor. Having the ability to add a humorous twist to any tragic situation, Shakespeare must have had strong stomach muscles from chuckling as he wrote. Even scientific research has shown the benefits of laughter in the healing process.
If we didn’t have laughter to keep us buoyant in a world that twirls way beyond our control, gravity certainly would keep us grounded. We need to stimulate our funny bones to release fears and anxieties. As Dave Barry says about humor writing, “A, keep it moving, and B, spend a lot of time writing it. And C, after you're done, show it to somebody.” I’d add, show it to someone who likes to laugh.
Creative Write: Find humor in a serious situation. Lewis Grizzard said when you write humor, you only have to look at the world from the front of your eyelids forward and soon you’ll see something funny to write about.