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4 words to help your humor writing

Whether or not you strive to write the next Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Confederacy of Dunces (even though you should), every piece of writing can benefit from well-written humor.

Why? 
Because writing that doesn’t suck can’t be all doom and gloom, right?

  • If you are writing a speech, a good joke will put everyone at ease and make you more likeable. 
  • A funny blog article will charm readers to continue. 
  • A humorous situation in a book will give characters dimension and give the reader a break from the tension.
“But I’m not funny!”
Oh, yes you are! Haven’t you noticed we are all laughing at you?

The way you are an outspoken Democrat (or Republican) because you watch MSNBC (or Fox News), but have never voted. How you judge the obese but can’t stick to a diet. How you get irritated by people who take their time ordering at McDonalds right before you do the same thing (no seriously, stop doing that).

Humans are walking comedies because our rational beliefs make promises that our irrational behavior can’t keep. Like Bill Nye the science guy says, “Humor is everywhere, in that there's irony in just about anything a human does.”

Four words to get you started
So now that you know you’re hilarious, the four words promised in the title are scary, weird, stupid, and hard. In the Comedy Bible, Judy Carter writes that all things can be made funny by analyzing them within these four contexts.

Not convinced? Let’s say you would like to insert some humor into a blind date scene. Just by starting with these four words, you can begin to come up with funny ideas.

Blind dates are scary because….
  • You don’t know if she will be attractive/will be attracted to you.
  • She might like you a lot…too much. Why won’t she leave you alone?
  • She could be an Vampire! Zombie! Vampire zombie? Run!!!

Blind dates are weird because…
  • You’re cheating natural selection. Maybe your lack of dating success is nature’s way of swinging an axe at your family tree! 
  • She might be watching you.
    • Maybe you pick your nose right when she sees you.
    • Maybe your sleeve catches on fire from the table candle.
    • Maybe as you greet her, the table cloth gets snagged on your belt and all of the dishes fly off.
  • You are in the closet, but haven’t come out to the friend who set you up yet. That would be weird.
  • Maybe she's actually blind? Your friend always had a flair for cruel puns.

Blind dates are stupid because…
  • Only lonely people would need to be setup on a blind date.
  • You’re 27. You should be able to find your own date.
  • Online dating is so easy. Why torture yourself?

Blind dates are hard because…
  • You have to be likeable, without knowing what they like. 
  • You have to hold a conversation with a complete stranger. 
  • You get really nervous on regular dates, let alone a blind one.
  • If it doesn’t go well, the friend who set you up will be angry.

After you choose a direction, then it’s all about style.

Here’s some good examples from some of my favorite comedians:

Scary...
Ever argue with a female and, in the middle of the argument, you no longer feel safe because of her actions? She may start pacing back and forth real fast, breathing out her nose. You know what my girl do? When she get mad, she start talking in the third person. That's scary as h**l because that's her way of telling me that from this point on, she is not responsible for none of her actions.

This quote comes from Kevin Hart. Yes, arguing with your girlfriend is always scary.

Weird...
People say, “My phone sucks.” No, it doesn’t! The s***tiest cellphone in the world is a miracle. Your life sucks. Around the phone.

This quote comes from Louis CK, noting how weird it is to complain about our amazing technology.

Stupid...
Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.

George Carlin observes that complaining about work is stupid, because everybody hates work.

Hard...
You ever look for the remote control, you can't find it, so you just decide, ‘Ah, it looks like I'm not watching TV.’

I agree with Jim Gaffigan, being lazy is very hard.

For more reading about writing humor:
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