Two guys are at a bar, and the one guy turns to the other and says "I slept with your mother!" No reaction. He turns again and says "I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!" Second guy says "Go home Dad, you're drunk."
How do you write comedy? How do you make people laugh? And more importantly, sustain that throughout an entire novel?
....no friggin' clue...
In fact, the more I think about it, the less I am inclined to believe anyone can tell someone how to be funny. You just can't learn it. Imagine a class, the teacher stands up and says, "ok. Be funny. Ready? Go!"
I think it's a natural state of being. An outcrop of being happy. Of recognizing ridiculous situations or statements and making them seem perfectly normal. Of making the absurd a part of the norm.
I love Monty Python. No really, I do! And I find them to be hysterical because they can do the most absurd, out-of-the-blue things with a straight face. As if it's just the way it is. I think stories can be hysterical that way too.
Read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". My personal favorite. Adams throws in so many subtle absurdities that you almost have to re-read the sentence to make sure you just read what you think you read.
But I do believe this: funny can't be forced. Even stand-up comics, as rehearsed and prepared as they are, find their humor in the everyday. They're constantly writing down jokes based on things they've seen, or heard. If you write a character that tries to be funny, they'll come across as that annoying guy who makes loud jokes and then laughs just as loudly at them, looking around to see who else is laughing. A funny character isn't obnoxious, or if they are, that's what makes them funny.
At least in my opinion.
But really, who does know? Like Bruno Kirby said in "Good Morning Vietnam":
"I know funny." Which is funny, because clearly his character didn't.
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....