READY TO WRITE FUNNY? GOOD! BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO GET YOUR LEARN ON!
Don’t forget that the “Talk Wordy to Me: 14 Days to Write Funny Challenge” is permanently up! You can join anytime! You’ll get access to the 14 days of challenges in the Facebook group as well as downloads, live streams and chances to post your blogs and products!
Click the image to sign up today…add the 1st to your calendar…and add my emails to your faves!
Today…I’m going to spend a little time talking about YOU. Dontcha just LUUUURVE that topic? We are going to tackle what makes a comedic writer, why you are perfect for the job, the differences between various types of comedy, and figuring out which one best suits your skills!
Comedy doesn’t just make your reader laugh…it helps to build trust, keep interest, and sway an indecisive customer. Writing with comedy will help you stand out from the rest of your colleagues in a saturated niche. Plus…it’s so damn fun to do!!! 😀
There is a workbook at the bottom of the post…so AFTER YOU’RE DONE READING, be sure to download it. It will help you work through each day’s homework of the mini-course, as well as help you to build habits to create uniform and character infused content!
The Traits of a Comedian
Comedians are interesting people. Sometimes they are outspoken ass holes and sometimes they are shy folk, hell bent on surprising you with hilarious views on the world. We are going to go over various types of comedy in a sec, but first…I wanted to ouch on the overall qualities that almost EVERY comedian has. If there are some of these you don’t think you possess…than ignore my last sentence! The comedic race is made up of every color of the rainbow…the below list is just what I’ve observed overall.
Observational – Comedians are constantly watching the world around them. This is where they get their material! They develop an overall, basic understanding of what is going on not only with the world (current events, politics, hollywood, etc) but also with friends, family, and that weird kid skateboarding in the park with his pants on backwards. I recommend watching the news (or if that’s too depressing…watch Last Week Tonight or Ellen.), taking daily walks in populated places like parks or malls, and subscribing to daily news feeds. I LOVE me some theSkimm! You don’t need to dive into the sources hell bent on learning everything…just know what’s going on! This is how you will connect with your readers!
Enjoy to Laugh As Much as they enjoy to make others laugh – I’m going to tell you right here and right now, you are NOT the best comedic writer to have lived. Get the damned chip off your shoulder and join the rest of the crowd. I know…that sounds harsh…but bloggers tend to think they are the bees knees, and refuse to come off their high hobby horse. Don’t expect bloggers to come to you for guest post opportunities because you’re just “sooooo unique”. Start up conversations with them! Build a comedy community!
They love to learn – This is a SUPER important one…and an incredibly underestimated one! Some of the best places to get your alliteration and new material are NOT through current events…they are through past events! Seriously devour comedy! Watch everything from Cheers to Saturday morning cartoons! Read authors like Terry Pratchet, Christopher Moore, and David Sedaris. They have NOTHING to do with business (although as a writer, you’ll love Sedaris!!). They will start to help you hone your writing, timing and voice. Watch old black and white movies like Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody, and all the SNL you can manage. Watch documentaries about events in history that you can use as witty comparison in your work! Not only will you be one smart cookie…you’ll have rich content to pull from for your own rich writing.
Liberal Views – I know in this arena of political nuts, this point might come off a bit biased. Let me elaborate before you bite my head off in the comments area!! I don’t mean “liberal” as in your voting preference, you ninny! I mean “liberal” as in you overall views of the world. I’m telling you RIGHT now that gun toting, tobacco chewing, Trump loving republicans are JUST as hilarious as comedians spouting unicorns and glitter. One thing that they ALL have in common, though…is acceptance. They may WANT change, but they also accept how things ARE. They accept that their beliefs are their own, just as much as their reader’s beliefs are theirs. In other words, it’s perfectly ok to bring their own politics into it…just don’t bash your readers opinions and politics in the process.
Empathetic – Empathetic is one my favorite words. It’s the ability to feel what someone else is feeling. It’s what causes us to cry when Old Yeller kicks the bucket. It’s what makes us want to throw the “Order of the Pheonix” across the room when Umbridge thwarts our favorite wizards YET A-FREAKIN-GAIN!!!!!!!! It’s what makes you connect and be moved by the story of a perfect stranger. Empathy is a huge part of comedic timing. It’s all about understanding your audience, and what points are going to hit home with them the most. In order to REALLY succeed with a comedic blog (or book or course) you need to understand the audience you are creating it for. What problems are they experiencing? Dive beneath the surface of the business problem. Can they pay rent this month? Do they have no time for their family? Are they so stressed they don’t know which way to turn. What are their business problems…and what PERSONAL problems are those business problems causing.
Remember…YOU’VE BEEN THERE!! You’re blog is helping them solve a problem that you’ve already found the answer to! What emotions did you experience in the beginning of your career? How can you use those emotions to connect with your reader on an emotional and personal level.
(Shit got real…sorry….back to the funny!)
Story tellers – Comedians are story tellers! We paint pictures of events and thought processes! We help connect the dots for readers, so that they can see the funny pictures in their heads. Start thinking of ways to incorporate funny stories into your posts. I recommend writing down one funny story a day for 30 days (I’ll give more deets in the homework section below). This will help you to start developing your story telling skills…and comedic skills will come pretty much immediately after.
Great Listeners – Finally, comedians are GREAT listeners. In case you weren’t aware…being a great listener is two-fold. First…you have to listen (duh moment of the day). Secondly, you have to respond. Think about a conversation you’d have in person. If someone is telling you a story, you don’t just stand there staring at them blankly. You respond by laughing, saying “Oh no he didn’t!” and snorting where appropriate. So how do you do that when you’re writing?
Reference stories of fellow bloggers and writers! Not only are the outbound links great for SEO, they are great for building up communities. If you reference another blogger (who wasn’t even aware that you were reading their stories) they sit up and take notice!
WHY YOU ARE PERFECT FOR THE JOB
Everyone is funny…but not everyone has the same sense of humor. I have NO DOUBT that some of you will read my posts and think “she’s not funny…who is she to tell me how to write funny, when SHE doesn’t even know what funny is!?” Loooooord knows I’ve heard it before. HELL, my friends even roll their eyes at my humor!
But…what I’ve also been told is “You’re seriously one of the funniest people I know.” “I LOVE your writing style! That alone makes your posts worth it!” These are the comments that let me know I have a target audience.
And trust me…the more you read, watch and write…the more you’re blogging voice will start to come through. I know you have a funny bone or ten in you (I was always partial to the humerus, myself…buh dun ch.) , we just need to uncover and refine it. 🙂
THE 8 TYPES OF COMEDY IN WRITING
Alright…here’s where things get interesting. Writing comedy is VERY different than performing it. The one connector with ALL of these forms of humor, is the ability for the comedian to connect with the reader. SO, no matter which style you tend to lean towards, make sure your content and tone connect. This, in turn, will pull your perfect reader in.
Punny Humor – THIS is my kind of comedy. Puns are the ability to play off of numerous meanings to a word…OR the ability to play of the various sounds. A great example is the “humerus” pun I so wittily included two paragraphs ago. I used “humerus” as a bone as well as “humorous” as the definition of “funny”.
Damn, I’m good.
This particular form of comedy is GREAT for a writer. It’s becomes much easier to illustrate the differences between the spelling of two words when your reader can actually SEE the two words.
Deadpan – Deadpan is a type of humor that is an obvious joke, told with a VERY straight face and serious under tone. Deadpan comedians in action are Christopher Walken, Ben Stein (Bueller….?) and Aubrey Plaza. They give the reader the sense that THEY don’t think what they are saying is funny…so why are you laughing. Writing in this tone is SUPER difficult, but amazing if you can pull it off. A lot of times, without the correct punctuation and alliteration, your writing will come across as harsh and not funny at all.
Sarcastic & Satirical – Some people might say that these are two separate forms of comedy…and to a certain extent, they are certainly right! Sarcastic is the art (and I say that with all reverence) of saying something, but getting across to your listener that you mean something completely different. Satire, on the other hand, is the ability to OBVIOUSLY make fun of a person’s traits…or even an entire community.
So why did I stick these two together? Because writers often use them interchangeably. Think about them like the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of the writing world. A great example of these styles meshing is The Onion. (Not to mention the amount of Deadpan they use to GREAT success.) Their sarcasm and satire hold no bounds and take no prisoners.
Gutter Humor – Alright…first thing’s first. Please remember that MOST of you are business writers. A few of may be able to get away with this…but in general (minus the artistic use of the word “shit” on occasion) gutter humor is NOT a great way to go for the business blogger. Gutter humor focuses primarily on sexual innuendos, racial slurs, and offensive language. A great stand up example of this is Andrew Dice Clay. I’m going to lie…I hate the guy…but his humor is relatable to a certain audience! If you’re going for the shock factor…light ‘er up!
Topical Humor – Topical humor is some of my favorite humor! It takes current events…think politics (not too difficult to find humor there these days), foreign events, what’s happening in your industry, what’s going on in hollywood, etc! These are all topics that your readers are probably up to date on in some fashion, so relating your in blog references to what what they already know will help to create a connection between the two of you!
Parody Humor – Parody humor is a way of writing that “makes fun” of something factual. Think SNL skits and MadTV. The simple act of Tina Fey dressing up like Sarah Palin is a a parody of the already strange politician! A written parody is a little more textual…such as parodying a roses are red poem or something already super famous. Remember though, in order for it to be a parody, it has to be humorous!
Gallows Humor – Gallows humor is EXACTLY what it sounds like. It’s dark, it’s morbid, it’s bleak…but it hits home to an audience that might be feeling something similar and can see the humor in a shitty situation.
Ironic – Irony (the most common definition) is the idea happens EXACTLY the opposite of what the assumed action would have been. For example, a tax accountant getting arrested for misfiling his taxes. What is NOT ironic? Rain on your wedding day, not having enough money for free ride (this one just makes no sense) and a black fly in your white wine. THESE ARE JUST BAD LUCK, ALANIS!!!! STOP LYING TO PEOPLE!!
Look…I know you’re saying “but I don’t want to to write in all of these voices!! I just want to write in my own!” And you will, my friend! There is NO reason to memorize the above types of comedy…just be vaguely aware of them! Pay attention to them when you see them.
Comedy is a form of high intelligence…
Simply being aware of your surroundings, striving to learn more about the world you (and your readers) live in, and learning how to make light of situations are the skills you’ll need to master…and GOOD NEWS!!!! WE ARE GOING TO GO OVER ALL OF THAT IN THE 14 DAY CHALLENGE!!
SO…what are you hoping to get out of the challenge? What’s your blog…and where are you at with your writing voice? Are you looking to completely revamp your style, or just inject a little bit of humor into your posts to keep your readers attention? Tell me below in the comments section (with a link to your blog, of course!)