I regularly post random snippets of my novel on Facebook as I write it, generally the funnier bits. One of my friends just asked how I come up with the funny. Honestly, I don’t know. I just happen to have a feel for tongue-in-cheek humour. As is probably the case with bazillions of people (not literally), I’m funnier in writing than I am in speech.
Of course, if I had to write an all-humour novel, I’m betting it would suck. I’m not all funny all the time. In fact, at least half of my jokes completely flop. I take the Hollywood gunshot approach to humour: keep shooting and hope one hits. It is neither delicate nor particularly accurate, but it generally works out in the end. I have a (very funny) friend who uses a similar approach when talking to people. He also thinks I’m insane, and wants to read my novel once it’s finished so he can understand my completely random and bizarre thought processes. Or maybe he just wants to laugh at me.
In any case, I think a healthy dose of humour is needed in our lives. If you suck at telling jokes, learn to laugh at them. That sounds stupid, but I think a good sense of humour is a sign of a healthy mind. I’m not as much of a joke-teller as a random-comment-maker. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re completely stupid and sometimes people just ignore them. Works for me.
So be funny, or be able to recognize funny. That includes all the stupid jokes you’ve heard over and over again. There’s nothing quite like a good stupid joke. There’s no pretense of trying to be intelligent. It’s just a cheap laugh, and cheap laughs are awesome. Just ask the kids (and adults) that laughed at my intentional slip-up of the line “Pianist here, Ms Darbus” when I played Kelsi in my school’s version of “High School Musical” a few years back. I’m sure you can imagine for yourselves what I said instead. Go ahead. Laugh. Unleash the eight-year-old within thee!