Thursday, May 6, 2010

The overwhelming pressure to be funny

When asked why I don't write much on my blog, my answer is always, I don't have much to say.

That's not entirely true.

The truth is, I don't have anything funny to say.

As a writer of wit and humor, there is overwhelming pressure to always be on, always be funny. Like a monkey doing tricks, I'm supposed to make people laugh.

Most of the time, I'm just not that funny.

As evidenced by this post.

Being funny is a lot of work. While throwing out a quip at a party, or slapping together a one-liner in response to a straight man is relatively easy for me, it's much harder to be both sides of the conversation and create from nothing something that makes your sides hurt. I have a great deal of respect for the pros who seem to be able to do it with ease, like Dave Barry and Christopher Moore. But I bet if you ask them, it's the same way for them.

Being funny is hard.

And there's not a secret button you can push to turn the funny on. Like method actors, I'm a method writer. When I'm writing a particularly harsh scene in a book, it's easy to turn on angry music or sad music, and get myself into whatever mood I need to get through that scene. But when I'm not feeling funny, it's impossible to sit down and BE funny. I could put on a comedian who I like, but then I'm just enjoying someone else's jokes, and I find myself rehashing the same old lines someone else has already told.

Now I feel like I need a classic poop joke to give this post closure.

See? Overwhelming pressure.


  1. That poop line was funny. ;)

  2. Jeff,

    I write funny, too, but I'm not particularly -- or rarely -- funny IN PERSON. Humor is definitely a learned skill, and I've often felt that blogging, for me, is the antithesis of the voice I really yearn to show. It's all very weird, and I'm not sure that I understand it, except to say that I'm definitely funnier when I'm not Jody. Huh?

    Love, Jody

  3. I've got one: "What's brown and sticky?" Oh, wait. That's not a poop joke. It's a stick joke. Sigh.

  4. Jody, what stops you from being funny in person?

  5. I'm not as funny in person because being funny draws attention to me -- not that I don't like attention, but I was raised to be modest and to listen to other people instead of grabbing the limelight. I'm at war with myself, trying to be polite and gracious to others vs. TAKING OVER!