by JT Ellison
It’s been a serious week. For me, at least. I’ve been fretting, something I’m not prone to do. My new book is kicking my butt. I realized that I have no outside life — that writing and reading have become my end all, be all. Not that this is such a bad thing, but exclusivity in any endeavor can sometimes lead to ruts. Ruts don’t equal fresh, exciting writing. Sometimes it hits me that I don’t have the life experience of so many other writers I admire, and I wonder if it reflects in my work. (Yes, I’m reading John Connolly. I always dive into massive introspection when I surrender to his art.)
And then, a beautiful thing happened. Thank the good Lord above, LAST COMIC STANDING showed up in my Tivo list. Hubby and I have been watching the preliminary rounds, the auditions from across the country. My goodness, there are some seriously funny people out there. And some who have absolutely no business trying. Watching this combination of entertainment and train wreck has drastically improved my mood, and led me to this post.
Open call to all you funny writers out there — how do you do it?
I read blog entries, stories and books that are wicked funny, have me bowling over laughing. Obviously, comedians write their material and the talented ones can turn it into true comic nirvana. But I can’t, for the life of me, write funny.
It’s more than just not being able to translate my sense of humor to the page. I’m certainly not a comedienne, but I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor. I do voices, can cut up with the best of them. I don’t get offended at dirty jokes. I love to laugh. It’s an RX that I prescribe for any happy relationship, actually. People ask how our marriage works so well, and I tell them we have at least one huge belly laugh together a day. Laughter really is the best medicine. (Oh no, I used the word "really." Ever since Eisler joined the crusades against "like" and "really" I assiduously avoid using the word in print, but it fits here. Sorry, Barry!)
See what I mean? That makes me laugh, but it doesn’t translate. I’m just not funny on paper.
I used to be good at telling long intricate jokes. Now, not so much. I only know one really good joke and it’s absolutely filthy, plus, to make it work well, you have to act it out. If I ever tell it in public, I warn you in advance I have been completely over-served and you should haul me off to bed (mine, not yours.) It’s THAT filthy.
So what’s a girl to do? I want to be suave and amusing in print. I want to make people grasp their sides and have tears roll down their faces. In person, I can be dry, and droll, and bitingly sarcastic, and do it in Donald Duck’s point of view. But the second my fingers touch a keyboard, the loquaciousness is gone. I want to be like my good friend Kristy Kiernan. That girl puts words to the page and I start rolling in the aisles. Jeff Cohen always makes me laugh. Randall Hicks slays DorothyL with good humor. Bill Cameron has the most brilliant way of using irony to self-deprecate and make me laugh. Toni Causey and our own Pari can make me giggle with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs.
So I beseech you, funny writers. Share your wealth with a poor, misguided girl.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?????????
And for our readers, who makes you laugh, every time??????
I need amusement today, folks. Double, triple extra special bonus points for anyone who writes a short short about this poor cat.
Wine of the Week: Morellino di Scansano
PS — I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to host debut author Michelle Gagnon here next Friday. Stop by and get to know this dynamic new talent.