Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

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Tips for writing humor: Focus on elements of absurdity


True story: My wife and I were coming out of a restaurant yesterday and there was a small booth in the lobby with someone selling deeply discounted vacation packages to some Branson hotels and resorts. “Hi folks,” the guy said, “only $99 for two days and three nights in Branson.” I muttered something like, “Uh, no thanks, not interested.” We walked on out to the car and drove away — but on the way to the car I said to Shirley, “Yeah, I should have told him, ‘No thanks. You’ll have to pay me at least twice that much before I’d spend three days and two nights in Branson.'”

Okay, so Shirley got it, even if you didn’t. Because she and I share a low opinion of Branson, Missouri. Nothing personal to those of you who may find it a great center of joy and family fun. We just really don’t see it that way.

But my point regarding humor and humor writing is this: My statement would have been funny (well, give me “amusing,” at least, won’t you?) because it was based on something absurd. The absurdity in this case is a hotel/resort owner paying ME for the privilege of staying at his hotel/resort.

Fundamentally, why do we (most of us anyway) enjoy so-called “slapstick” humor? Because it’s whacky, it’s absurd, it’s overboard action and antics.

Indeed, even the most subtle humor works in part because at its root it rests on an absurdity, a “glitch” in what we are expecting or what we find “normal” in the situation.

What do you think about humor? Do you write humor? What would you say if you were to give us your single best tip for writing humor? Tell us, please.
[tags]humor, absurdity, humor writing, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

2 Responses to “Tips for writing humor: Focus on elements of absurdity”

  1. Kristine says:

    Single best tip for writing humor: have a sense of humor yourself.

  2. Gary says:

    Oh so true. A friend and former boss of mine was one of the wittiest, funniest people I know. His wife was self-admittedly “humor impaired”: She openly acknowledged that she had little sense of humor and usually didn’t “get it” when her husband made anything from a wisecrack to more droll, dry humor.

    Not surprisingly (to me, anyway), he wrote great humor pieces when he put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). The best you could say about his wife’s attempts at humor writer might be something like, “As a humorist, she’s a wonderful cook.”