Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laughing Out Loud

Laughter is good medicine, don’t you think? I love humor in writing and in life. I’m reading my first David Sedaris book. Hilarious! So, what makes good humor? I did a bit of light research to see what I might find. Here are a few interesting and kind of fun tidbits that I stumbled upon.

Apparently words with the k sound are supposed to be especially funny. I’m not sure I get this. Does this make a Cadillac funnier than a Ford? Or, a cat more hilarious than an ostrich? I call the ostrich the winner in that comparison. Also, words with the g sound are said to be giggle worthy. When I think of guacamole and goggles, or eating guacamole while wearing goggles, this sort of works. So, are characters with names that begin with k or g more funny? I’m not convinced.

I also read about a technique for adding humor to metaphors or other comparisons. When crafting a comparison, try to add an outrageous or funny element. So, when writing about a group of little kids, I might write: Trying to get kindergarteners into a classroom is like trying to. . . Here I am supposed to list the most outrageous and funny options that I can think of, such as: herd cats, run a marathon in clogs, organize circus clowns. Did anyone notice I that used the k sound in these examples?

Finally, statistics show that most people laugh at everyday stories more than scripted jokes. Usually because these stories are exaggerated. Ah, exaggeration. This I understand.

Your turn: Any thoughts on what makes great humor? Feel free to exaggerate.


  1. Good humor for me pokes gentle fun at our human foibles.

    Trying to get kindergardeners into a classroom is like trying to herd crickets.

  2. I agree, Bish. And there are so many human foibles to choose from. Love the kindergardeners metaphor. Crickets--perfect.

  3. I've received over 20 emails from grade 5/6 students who have read my book. Since more than half of them mention that they LAUGHED SO HARD at the part with the puppy pee, I would say toilet humour and slap stick is still a good bet with kids!

  4. Oh yeah, potty humor is a winner with certain grade levels. I read somewhere that mentioning underwear of any kind usually ups the sales of a book for mg kids. That in itself is funny. ; )