How to write funny

Reading time: About 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article about how to write funny…

If I could wave a magic wand and give myself any talent in the world, I wouldn’t wish to be a better writer. I’d wish to be funnier.

I’ve long admired humourists and I love laughing. But I can’t tell (or write) a joke to save my life.

When I saw a New York Times Opinionator piece about how to write humour, I became briefly hopeful.  Alas, I found the piece so dry and dispiriting that it didn’t even make me crack a grin. I read it resentfully, enjoying only the beginning line, which, in any case, belonged to E.B. White:

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog; few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

The writer was correct about that at least.

I then did a Google search and discovered four commandments to writing funny. This writer — Paul Angone — was shorter and more to the point about humour. I also liked his suggestion to use metaphors and similes:

Metaphors and similes are to funny as Hugh Grant is to romantic comedy.

But I’m still looking for the ultimate article about writing funny. Have you ever found one?

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