20ish things I think I’ve learned about writing funny

happy elderly black cat asleep in the sun on her back, there are yellow flowers enarby
My beautiful Misha

I decided to create as many funnies as I for this blog, during January. Here’s what I think I’ve learned…

Never never never never never never commit to something new and intensive the month before your tax return’s due. Especially if you’ve just had major elective surgery.

It takes at least 3 days to write something half-arsedly funny, Longer to raise a smile.

Nicking work is easier than generating it (even though I’m nicking the work from myself).

Plagiarism is an ever-present thing. Measuring the PC is PC where one PC= the difference between being inspired by something and unconsciously copying it, and the other is PC.

Getting laughs as a solo performer is a million times easier than getting laughs as a writer. Getting feedback from friends is difficult. From family? Forget it..

I used to picture my favourite comedy and satire authors writing a bit, giggling, and writing a bit more. I now realise they probably had the glimmer of an idea, did huge amounts of research, drafted it, edited and redrafted it 15 times, rejected it, felt really low about it not working, and left it somewhere. 15 years later they find one of those ideas (usually while looking for another), redraft it, edit it, rejected it again and feel lower. This continues until maybe 1 idea in 100 is used, by which time either someone else has come up with something similar and shared it with the world, or the author has become so familiar with the idea they’re not sure it really was their idea in the first place.

The more off-the-cuff, spontaneous and original the joke reads, the more it isn’t.

I’m still incapable of following instructions. Or rules. Even when I’ve paid for books, told the entire metaverse what I planned, or promised myself I’d really honestly do all the lessons properly this time.

Deciding to share drafts and incomplete work (ie shit) and actually sharing them are completely different things (ie shit).

My social connections prefer my cat photos.

My friends are funny. My jokes less so.

The absence of feedback might mean that people don’t like my stuff. More likely they’ve not looked.

You’re not supposed to share comedy work in progress (see shit and PC).

More than I expected is about the familiar. Familiarity grounds the joke. Over-familiarity kills it.

Lists of how to make things funny don’t help. Lessons on how to make things funny are no fun. Studying standups and re-reading my favourite authors might or might not help, but at least they are fun (also see PC).

Making other people the brunt of the joke is relatively easy. Making myself the brunt of the joke without taking on the characteristics of my subject is harder. Making relatable jokes without being nasty is harder still. And so it goes (see plagiarism/PC).

The words in my head are less accessible written than spoken. Written and spoken humour – even humour that’s read out loud – are completely different things.

Life, liberty, the shit that life throws at me and my energy levels don’t change my sense of humour. They do impact my ability to wite well and wegularly.

Posting and creating a new funny thing a day is totally and completely unrealistic. Life innit.

My best new ideas come when I have tax deadlines. My next best ideas come when I have to clean the house. The next best ideas after that come at times when it’s rude to take notes. The rest of the good ideas – and even the reasonable ones – come when I’m struggling with writing the ideas that came when I had tax deadlines, when I last had to clean the house or when I’m looking for those notes.









No apologies- I’m trying to post a funny a day this month as part of the process of learning how to write funny. I reserve the right to be appallingly clichéd, downright dull or basically boring in these posts, and may change, delete or replace them at any time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *