How to write humor what makes something so funny hobbylark neck and shoulder pain on left side

I enjoyed reading the work of a local humor writer who contributed to a paper I read regularly (name omitted to protect—me). He is very funny. Of course he has an advantage over me with two live-in teenagers to provide inspiration. Actually I must credit him with my decision to try columning.

Visual, verbal, cognitive shift, and conceptual humor are usually based on the non-physical tickle. Humans like things to be comfortable, controllable, and predictable. The unusual, exaggerated, incongruous, or unexpected thing is threatening and uncomfortable.

Puns and double entendre are ambiguous, confusing, and surprising—but they are harmless and we can’t defend ourselves against them. Though people like to be in their comfort zones, most also like to be slightly threatened, occasionally. If they did not, why would there be horror movies and roller coasters?


Children laugh more than adults, partly because they have not learned to hide their emotions, partly because they are innocent, and often because they see nothing wrong with telling the truth. They often make us laugh as well, because of these (threatening) qualities.

The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes has always been a favorite of mine, because everyone is suddenly exposed to the to the truth about the emperor (and about their own self doubts and fears) by a child who sees nothing wrong with telling it like it is.

When I call garden gnomes odd, that’s the truth. Even people who have garden gnomes know it. But those people cannot be mad, especially because I came back and said I had nothing against odd things and defended the right of garden gnomes to make a living (incongruity).

There are a few things that I do consciously to enhance funniness, besides writing in comic book font (and see, that’s funny because there’s no way that could really make a difference—so that’s kind of the flip side—or the flippant side—of truth. Something seems logical about it, but it’s not).

One is that was really stupid, but we know it’s not nice to think that way so there is guilt (threat). Also, we are glad it did not happen to us—but we know it could (threat). If the victim over-reacts or under-reacts to the pratfall, it is threatening (incongruous).

I use my thesaurus a lot. Some words just sound funnier than others. The thesaurus also gives synonyms with a slightly skewed connotation (incongruity) … or words that sound pompous, antiquated, or too important (incongruity)… or words that make it possible to turn a phrase into an alliterative string or a rhyme.

Exaggeration is funny, especially the exaggerated truth. This is partly because of the uncertainty it causes. We often know that something is exaggerated, but it may also be true, and we are not quite sure where the line is drawn (uncertainty, threat).

My mop directions were confusing (to me) when I first read them, but in order to make the point, I’ll admit that I exaggerated the confusion, for the benefit of those who generally understand things better than I do, so they can get the same feeling.

Most of the things I write about are true happenings. I think the purseless story is one of my funnier ones, because it’s all true. But I have to look at things in a very objective manner and ask myself if my reaction or non-reaction to a situation is true, or is there another way to look at it.

There is a big difference between criticism and comedy. For example, if a comedian was to directly say what they think to an audience, it would possibly invoke some resistance and anger because people generally do not like being told what to do. A good stand-up comedian knows how to get their opinions across in a non-threatening way.

If a stand up comedian ridicules a person in the audience, that person does not usually laugh. It is the rest of the audience who laughs because they are not threatened. The person in the audience being ridiculed will only laugh if he/she is not threatened and does not take it personally.

When I go to see a stand up comedian, if they are good, then I feel empowered both during and after watching them. This is the opposite to being threatened. They make me feel great because they are saying things about society that are true and what I believe in. It reassures me to hear someone saying what I think is right. There are many things that are inherently wrong and ridiculous in society and comedians often highlight the truth that the audience recognise and agree with. This is the opposite to being criticised or challenged. It is freeing and permissive.

Good stand up comedians are empowering because they are brave enough to stand on stage and risk being heckled and abused by the audience. If anyone is to feel threatened, it is the stand up comedian who faces a lot of drunks, who want a quick laugh, at their expense.