Know What’s Funny?

by Marinka on April 12, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about humor lately.

Because when things turn dark, I let it in more than ever. I seek out humor the way other people seek other things that make them feel better.

I’ve been to panels that discuss humor, but for entertainment and to hear some of my favorite humorists.

Not because I thought for a second that humor can be taught.

Last year I got into a bit of trouble because I made a joke about pedophilia that wasn’t well received by some.

I talked to my Papa about it. He is one of the funniest people I know (as is Mama) and I turned to him for guidance.

“Are some subjects off limits?” I asked him in Russian. We were taking the subway uptown to see a show and the train was crowded.

“I don’t think so,” he said. In Russian.

“What about the Holocaust?” I prodded. “Surely there are no good jokes about the Holocaust?” I spoke in the language of Dostoyevsky.

“WHAT? THERE ARE TONS OF THE FANTASTIC JOKES ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST!” My father practically screamed. In English. On the subway. At rush hour.

And then he told me some. I didn’t think they were great. But my threshold for humor about the genocide is pretty high.

Here are my tips about humor writing. Please take them with a mine-sized grain of salt:

1. If you’re laughing at your own jokes, consider joining The Carol Burnett Show. Don’t put LOLs in your blog post, we’ll know what’s funny.

2. Self-deprecation works. Illusions of grandeur don’t. Unless you’re awesomely amazing like I am.

3. Know your limits. I truly believe that any subject can be fodder for humor, but not everyone can get away with everything.

4. But reach a little. The funniest things make us a tiny bit uncomfortable.

5. Be prepared for backlash. And don’t get defensive and scream “it’s SATIRE!” If you have to explain that it’s satire, it probably isn’t.

6. Humor writing is a craft, not backbreaking labor. If it’s killing you, look into other forms of writing. Like memes.

7. Don’t beat a joke into the ground. Repetition kills it. Don’t beat a joke into the ground. What’s funny once is unreadable by the fourth time.

What do you think?

Since the people who comment here are so, so funny (not so-so, LOL!) I’d love to hear your tips!

One year ago ...

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Saturday Surf and Turf | She Suggests
April 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

christy April 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

Since I’m no humor writer, I stick to memes. But in all seriousness, I do think some subjects are off limits, in general. Like, if I think about someone I don’t know joking about pedophilia, my skin crawls. But I saw what you wrote, and since I know you, I thought it was hysterical. So, I totally have double-standards. My friends can say whatever the hell they want; the rest of the world be damned!

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Cherie Beyond April 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I don’t think it’s a double-standard; I think it’s rule #8: build to your harshest humor. A stand-up comedian doesn’t walk on stage and drop his or her most questionable joke immediately. First they have to establish who they are and the kind of humor they bring to set the context.

I suspect that is why the pedophilia joke fell flat. It was an out-of-context comment on another blog. If it had been a post here, the audience would have known that 1) Marinka is not a pedophile + 2) Marinka occasionally drops off-color jokes = 3) the pedophile thing was therefore amusing.

There you are. Humor as math problem.

Reply

Kristine
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

My pro tip: join Twitter and steal everyone’s jokes. These can usually be turned into fantastic blog posts.

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Megan April 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

I think it’s important to first determine if you do, in fact, have a sense of humor. You may think you do, but maybe you don’t.

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Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

If I never see LOL again it will be too soon. So overused (and generally inappropriately utilized).

I’m not funny so I cannot add additional tips. For me humor writing would be backbreaking labor. But, oh, I do love to read those who have mastered the craft!

Reply

deborah l quinn
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:31 am

writing funny is way harder than writing tragedy and i think it’s b/c humor is, ultimately, way more subjective and fragile than tragedy. Although we’d all agree that farts are pretty funny and not at all fragile. Humor requires brutal honesty, most particularly about one’s own foibles (a word that itself is pretty funny, but not as funny as farts). After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what right do you have to laugh at anyone or anything else? Humor also requires the willingness to push at the edges of taboo–the willingness to name that which others don’t want to talk about. Like farts.
Your blog–not that you need my opinion–is consistently hysterical. And insightful, which is the real test of good humor (not the ice cream). And usually you avoid farts jokes, which means you’re truly a mistress of the craft.

Reply

Cool Dad
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

“After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what right do you have to laugh at anyone or anything else?”

I like this.

Reply

Miss M April 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

I agree, farts are funny and one of the few examples of a joke that I can hear again and again. Also, I agree that if you can’t laugh at yourself you have no right to laugh at others and I would like to add that if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!
~ Miss M

Reply

fuck yeah, motherhood!
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I have never not laughed at a fart or poop joke. Never.

Reply

BuenoBaby
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

Groupon should have read our list before producing its controversial Super Bowl ads. [Paying special attention to #5.]

Reply

Loukia April 12, 2011 at 10:52 am

I use LOL in tweets all the time. I don’t think I ever have in posts. But now I’m going back through four years of blog posts to see if I ever have and deleting them!

LOL!

😉

Reply

hokgardner
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

I am a master of telling funny stories and jokes, but I have the hardest time writing funny. So I hold those of you who can in high regard.

Reply

tracy
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Yes, this exactly. I promise I am a fun date and so fucking funny.(See point #2 above). I cannot translate funny to paper though.

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Penbleth
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

I sort of think some things are off-limits, but then I amaze myself by how uptight I have become in my old age. I love the satirical comment about stealing funny tweets for blog posts, because we all know they will unleash the Fury of Hades on anyone who does.

I do think some people can seem to get away with saying certain things that would have someone else lynched, also I think those affected by an issue can probably joke where someone not maybe better keep it to themselves. Just my thoughts.

Reply

annie April 12, 2011 at 11:11 am

Unfortunately, i’m never as funny in print as I am in my head so I often resort to cancer humor. gets ’em every time!

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Wendi
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:32 am

It bugs the shit out of me when someone writes something offensive and not funny, then they try to hide behind the “it’s satire” argument. Satire, when done the correct way, doesn’t need to be explained.

Also, don’t make jokes about Japan if you’re the voice of a duck.

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m April 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Now that Japan/duck comment was FUNNY.

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Cool Dad
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

Some funny people bring out good humor in me (refusing an ice cream joke just to be funny). Other funny ones bring out the competitive side, like I have to prove my worth b/c unfortunately, my self-worth can get tangled up in my wit.

The jokes I’m the most proud of just happen instead of me trying to come up with something hilarious.

I’m also a little too easily influenced by those around me, so I need to start reading humor again. I went through a season of reading Sherlock Holmes and found myself writing some really convoluted prose.

When reading your blog, I often find myself thinking I saw what you did there, and I like it.

Reply

TheNextMartha April 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

Well said.

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Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

I agree – can’t teach humor. Remember at BlogHer when all the women in the audience kept asking the humor panel – you were on one of them – where they could go to hone their humor. Made me cringe because humor is something you’re born with…or earn through a challenging childhood filled with Hostess products.

You do is masterfully.

I tend to think nothing is off limits, but I agreed with Liz Winstead’s philosophy that you can’t strike at the core of a hot-button topic, you pick at the edges, like a seagull. She said you can’t ridicule 9-11, but you can make a joke about how everyone post- 9/11 thought they had to share stories about just how CLOSE they ALMOST were to being there ONE WEEK earlier.

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anymommy April 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

Consistent humor is hellishly hard, that’s why we flock here so happily. If I’m trying to be funny, I always think in my head, “They should be laughing with me, about something I’ve done; NOT laughing at someone else.” It’s an elementary school rule, but it’s a good one, I think.

P.S. I had to pick a funny piece for our LTYM show in Spokane (because I’m last & it needs to end light & we’re short on funny). I would give much to be able to practice for you & Wendi & Ann. Maybe Skype? I might beg.

Reply

Missy @ Wonder, Friend
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

I think the internet, specifically Twitter and the proliferation of blogs, has led to a lot of people believing their own BS. Saying a funny thing now and then does not a humor writer make. And it certainly doesn’t qualify someone to be The Decider of what’s funny and what’s not. Humor is subjective.

I’m no humor writer. I can be funny. Or not. I do appreciate the funny when I see it, though. True humor writing is a craft, sure; it’s also a natural talent. It can be honed & fine-tuned, but I don’t believe it can be taught. Those who need the tips above may need to consider that humor writing – as a profession – isn’t in the cards.

Reply

MommyNamedApril
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

great tips. i suck at humor so i don’t try my hand at it too often.

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Kati
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

I usually throw in my LOLs to let the hysterically oversensitive people in my life know “IT’S JUST A FREAKING JOKE! CHILL!!” It’s like code, really. I sometimes do the little 🙂 face, but in MANY cases that just comes off as passive-aggressive. Therefore, I reserve it for the times when I am actually indeed feeling passive-aggressive. Again, it’s code.

If I could add one guideline, it would be “don’t over-explain your joke”. If they didn’t get it, it either wasn’t funny, or they’re stupid. Over-explaining makes it not funny to anyone anymore. Unless you are Dug, from “Up”. His line “it’s funny because the squirrel gets dead” actually MAKES his unfunny joke funny. 🙂

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Stasha
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

I see your LOL and raise you ROTFL. I wish somebody would type SQIMC (smiling quietly in my chair). If it is very funny I cry. You make me cry often! Thank awesome dude and mama for great genes. Best gift ever.

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awesome dude April 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

One of the most humorous sayings about Holocaust was produced by you.
Do you remember Victor and Nellie story?

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Donna April 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm

No tips here – I’m only funny when I’m not trying, sad to say. But I love reading funny.

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A Mommy in the City
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I’ve tried to be funny in some of my posts and it fails miserably. I’m just not that humorous. I’d much rather read your tweets or blog than try to attempt it myself!

Reply

Phoenix Rising
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I think I’m way funnier way speaking than writing. I’m told my flailing arm movements and fluttering hand movements help out a lot. I’ve been waiting for the web-o-sphere to hurry up and provide an acronym to assist (much like with the ever-so-helpful LOL). I’m thinking of just adding FAM and FHM to my posts in order to help evoke laughter.

Reply

Tess
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Now I need to know the Victor and Nellie story.

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Kati
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I do believe that to be a universal need.

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Alex@LateEnough
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I made jokes on my blog about cancer. Then I got it. You should be careful.

Ps. I’m going to repeat this comment four times. Just so everyone knows I’M JOKING. About having cancer at least.

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Yuliya
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Alex? Not a Russian Jew. I’ll help her out “tfu tfu tfu”

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Paula
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hey there, hope it’s ok to drop by without an invite.

For me humour (yes, I’m English) is about knowing your audience. That doesn’t mean you have to pander to them, but if you want folk to laugh at you then you need to get to know them.

If you can’t be bothered to do that then the next best thing is heaps of !!!!!!!s and ;)s and tons of pseudonyms to leave yourself breathtakingly sycophantic comments.

Either that or tell jokes about the Holocaust…..

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Peajaye
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

A friend’s daughter wrote him a note with “lol” at the end of a line, and he got really mad because he didn’t know what “101” meant. And each time he asked us, we all LOL’ed harder and harder.

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Rainyday April 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Sometimes I think I’m funny. Or witty. Or at least readable. But most times I’m just myself. I fluctuate. I think your tips are bang on!

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anna see April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Great tips. I too turn to funny when times aren’t so great. Thank you for all of the laughter you have brought me.

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Margaret (Nanny Goats)
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Awesome, as usual, Marinka. This is a true metahumor post.

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Ann's Rants
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Truth is always the funniest.

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dusty earth mother April 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Excellent post, Marinka. And if anyone in the world wants to know what “funny” is, I would direct them to “How to talk to your mother about her vagina”. I’m still laughing two days later. But maybe not everyone finds vaginas funny. I personally find them to be a highly amusing organ. Orifice. Whatever.

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Stephanie Smirnov
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Being — writing — funny is very hard and few get it right. You are one of the few. I say this as an admiring reader, also as someone who’s been on the business end of your sense of humor (Oh yes, I went there. THE HAIRCUT TWEET.)

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Alexandra
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 2:16 am

I love this post.

I could talk on this subject for a long time.

I’ve been reading books and essays on what is humor.

Humor is so subjective.

I find that what makes me laugh, and what I think the essential element of humor needs to be is : confidence.

You need to get it out there, and deliver it without any doubt at all.
That’s what makes it funny to me.

You, Miss M, are very very funny, to me.

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Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up)
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

Marinka…I think I’d really like your father. Mine has been gone for 14 years now so can I borrow him?

Humor can’t be forced…gods know I try! I can’t be funny…I can only write what I think and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s not.

You however, are funny.

I hate LOL and always use hahaha which I do put in my posts. Perhaps that explains why I’m not more popular?

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From Belgium April 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

Ok here is a good joke (at least I think it is funny, shutupmom):

It is small, orange, grows on a bush and claims it is an Orange. What is it?
A tangerine with megalomania.

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gigi
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

This is a fabulous post. It makes me paranoid, though, because I tend to write a lot of what *I* would consider humor. Most of it is silly fun-poking, either at myself or some of the bobbleheads in my neighborhood. Or stuff that has no point whatsoever, like renaming the whoopie pie.

But maybe it’s not funny? Maybe I need to reflect on whether I’m doing a good job.

Maybe I shouldn’t have read this before traveling to a conference where I don’t know anybody and hope to use my humor and charm to disarm people and have them like me. Or at least pity me enough to invite me to eat lunch with them. Otherwise I’ll do my best Ally Sheedy from Breakfast Club and eat alone while flinging dandruff into my chicken kiev.

I didn’t set out for my blog to have so many posts that have a humorous twist. In fact, I set out for it to be sappy, dreamy and lovely. But somehow, snappish words kept bleeding in. No matter how hard I tried, I could not write THAT blog.

I agree that self-deprecation is funny. I also think that a lot of people are inherently funnier than they think, but don’t explore that dimension of themselves on their blogs. When I find myself writing a post that sounds complaining or self-pitying, I try to NOT write that post and figure out a humorous angle from which to tackle the same topic.

It’s great food for thought. I just hope I don’t have to go back to being a food blogger. Because I suck at that.

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erin margolin
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

I wish I could be funnier, but it’s not a trait I was born with. I’m all over the self-deprecation thing, however.

As a Jew, I can say that there was a Holocaust joke in a movie I watched the other night–and I laughed. I think sometimes you have to tread lightly and I like the idea of the seagulls picking at the edges of things….

Fantastic post, Marinka. Oh, and I still don’t know who the father is.
😉
xoxoxxo

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Ilana
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

I had an awesome joke about the Holocaust. And I chickened out and scrapped it for pedophilia. No joke.

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Timmy April 13, 2011 at 9:22 am

Humour Tip: If you write sarcasm and feel the need to put a smiley face at the end of every comment…you shouldn’t be writing sarcasm. That is all.

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Jessica
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

This is a great post and would give me more to think about if I was actually good at being funny. I’m better at making people cry than laugh. Not sure that is a good thing.

Reply

the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

“Like memes.” That’s funny.

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Twinisms April 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

Funny is everything. I would rather read/see funny than read/see anything dramatic or tragic every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I don’t think anything is off limits, but it needs to be delivered correctly and with full knowledge of your audience.

This is the first post of yours I have read, everyone here is saying you’re funny. So, I’ll subscribe because funny is everything 🙂

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Jenny, Bloggess April 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

1. I adore you.

2. I have made tons of holocaust jokes. No one has ever been offended. Except for Hitler. If he was alive he’d be pissed. This is how you know you’re doing well…when you suspect Hitler would leave you angry comments on your blog.

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Claire (C Words) April 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

I think humour is the one universal way that people can get through adversity. I remember watching a Joan Rivers stand-up (of my own accord, as well) and she did a joke about her husband’s suicide and how humour finally broke the prolonged mourning period. Not saying we should start rejoicing when Grandad shuffles off this mortal coil, but you get my drift. I hope.

And to me, LOL will always stand for “little old lady”. Seeing blogs sprinkled with little old ladies is a fairly comical image on its own..

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Ashley April 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Everyone has a different sense of humor so I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. Write your sense of humor. And if it’s fun and you’re laughing then it’s probably at least somewhat funny. This is a great post and great discussion. Thanks for sharing!

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Alex Connolly April 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I think being funny relies on a platform in that the humorist usually has a way of telling jokes and that they are the jokes people may expect. If you are always satire, but then tell a knock-knock joke, people can be a little surprised. Okay, that was a bad example. Knock-knock jokes are usually satirical as well, but I hope you see my point.

The reason I thought of this was because you said: “2. Self-deprecation works. Illusions of grandeur don’t. Unless you’re awesomely amazing like I am.” I agree, but part of my humour relies heavily on pretending I’m some sort of demi-god, come to ‘fix’ humanity. The arrogance of the jokes is all an outsider may see, but the people I’m telling the joke too usually see that I am being sarcastic.

So, to make it nutshelly, it has to feel right but it has to be consistent if you keep it up; all comedians (stand-up or bloggers) have particular areas of humour.

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The Queer Next Door April 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thank you for suggesting that people not use “LOL” in their posts. I’ve only done that once myself (in referencing a text from my son).

About a year ago, my step-mom asked what “LOL” meant when one of her friends used it on her Facebook page. She had filled in her own blanks with “Lord, O’ Lord.”

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the mrs
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Great tips! I actually have a “funny” friend. Someone who’s sense of humor I especially enjoy. I’m always calling her and saying “is this funny?” before blogging it. But, you know, I’m still new to humor and walking around with crippling insecurities about whether or not I’m funny, so… I’m sorry. What were were talking about?

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the mrs
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Uh, that’s what were we talking about. #Genuis

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SoberJulie April 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Great post.
I’m going to review my posts to ensure I didn’t throw in lol’s or smilies, they’re like a ill fitting bra to me. I’ve used them often in the past when nothing was available.
I’m funny as shit in real life, sarcastic and ahem witty. Not sure if that has come out in my blog yet or if it ever will. Writing is certainly different without my facial expressions, tone of voice and body language to preceed my words.

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Dana
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Humor writing is a gift that very few people possess. You’re one goddam funny, lucky woman.

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Amanda April 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I don’t think anything is off limits when it comes to humor. I followed the link back to your pedophilia joke, and I nearly snorted coffee through my nose when I read it. You’re freaking hilarious. Not everyone has a sense of humor, though. It’s unfortunate for them, but shouldn’t bother you too much. Keep those off-color jokes coming!

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Suniverse
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I love that you write funny stuff. I really love that your father is so. fucking. hilarious.

I went back and read your pedophilia joke, and I think we need to be BFFs, because that shit is funny. And I would know, because I am incredibly awesome.

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PartlySunny
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm

LOL has always made me sort of wince. I’ve gotten a little more used to it on Twitter, but I still can’t understand why people don’t just say, “haha.”

And I’m not even going to attempt a funny comment. I’m outclassed.

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PorkStar April 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Great post, and you hit the nail right on the head with those pointers.

In my personal opinion, I try to stay away from any political, religious or sensitive topics because not everyone can see the humor in those and things can also be misrepresented.

I try my best to write humor and most of the time push it to the limit. Sometimes I over do or say things in a post, but the last few months, I’ve cleaned up my act. However, my own blog wouldn’t be IT if it weren’t for the limits or buttons I push. The cursing adds trashy class to it too.

I try to keep it as filthy as possible, though.

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Don April 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Never tell a toilet joke while you’re sitting on the toilet like I am. It puts people off.

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tzena April 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Well, that’s funny. And sad. Also funny. See, I am already killing it.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/04/18/110418fa_fact_shteyngart.

I think it requires username&password. Unless you have one, please use mine: both username and password are: sarandevat@gmail.com. This is what I call Eastern European love. Let’s unite and pirate original content written by Russian emigrees. Spasibo.

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John McClarren April 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

We’re all outclassed in some areas, to include humor, but that is no indicator that we should quit trying to humor others. I am in the middle of a humor book, and I think most of it is really funny. Does that mean that others will share the mood? I can only hope so. Good luck to all of you who keep on trying. I indend to.

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Chrisor
Twitter:
April 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I have a great sense of humor but am so unfunny, it is embarrassing. I don’t even try to be funny since most people don’t get it. I was behind the door when the funny was given out. Personally, I think NOTHING is off limits when it comes to humor. The more truth in it, the funnier it is. I think people in general need to lighten up and realize we need to laugh at the hard times in life or we’ll be crying.

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Brooke Farmer April 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Know your audience….

The way I have always dealt with the hardest moments in my life has been through humor. However, when I still had a brain tumor jokes about it were not funny to my mother. And when I was attending domestic violence support groups so that my son could get the help I needed jokes about that went over very poorly.

I make the same comments to friends now and they laugh.

(Regardless though, I was cracking those jokes for my own mental well being, not really to make anyone else laugh. So I didn’t really give a shit.)

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Alexandra
Twitter:
April 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

Had to come back again, just b/c I love reading this:

*Since the people who comment here are so, so funny (not so-so, LOL!) I’d love to hear your tips!*

High five, y’all.

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Zina April 14, 2011 at 2:34 am

Just yesterday I was thinking about my favorite humor-related quote of all time. It’s from “Good Morning Vietnam” (and I don’t remember the rest of the movie except for a sad montage at the end with Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World”) but in the movie there’s a guy, not played by Robin Williams, who wants to be a comedian and at one point says, “In my heart I know I’m funny.”

What I get from this is that no matter what else, it’s important to feel funny deep inside.

I really want to hear your dad’s holocaust jokes. On the subway, at rush hour.

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John McClarren April 15, 2011 at 6:15 am

Zina,
I loved “Good Morning, Vietnam”, and I am an old Vietnam veteran. The character to which you referred was the alternate DJ at the radio station, a wanna-be comedian. If you are on a stage or on the air, with a condition like his, thinking your funny but not, then you are in deep trouble. If you are writing it for public consumption, definitely have others read it to make sure that they agree with you that it is really funny. What tickles our own funny bone will not necessarily get the same results from others. Many a comedian has gone down hard as a result of that. Just a word to the wise. I struggle with that all the time in my writing, as I always try to throw in humor, even when writing about my own wartime experiences. Many of th0se really were funny (I think). John

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Zina April 14, 2011 at 2:55 am

P.S. LOL can occasionally be used to humorous effect, as in this thing I saw the other day (which allegedly really happened) in which a guy’s mom had sent out a mass text to all their relatives that said, “Aunt Cindy died today. LOL” because she thought it meant “lots of love.”

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John McClarren April 15, 2011 at 6:17 am

I really did laugh out loud on that one, but I can definitely understand how many did not. That was great!

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Zina April 14, 2011 at 3:05 am

I try to always comment in threes.

I just followed the link to your pedophilia comment and it made me laugh hard, and then the other comments also made me laugh. Out loud! (You know, I could have really used some sort of acronym here so I wouldn’t have had to type out the whole words “laugh out loud.”)

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Frank April 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

Is this funny? Optimism vs Pessimssim: Like, when you look at the President, do you see the glass as half black?

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traci April 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I am constantly in awe of how you maintain humor here. I fancy myself hysterical, obviously in person, but knew that I needed to edit myself on the internet when I commented on a post of a blogger who lost weight and was rocking great abs in a picture and I commented ‘whore.’

She didn’t get it.

Which is really too bad, because I still laugh at that.

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Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog April 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I am not consistently funny enough to consider myself a “humor writer.” But I do consider myself funny enough to make me laugh when nobody’s even said anything. Out loud. In grocery stores, even. Yeah… I am THAT WEIRDO. That person who talks to herself in stores and LAUGHS OUT LOUD.

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John McClarren April 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

Tracey, there’s no doubt at all that you are a weirdo. I can identify perfectly with that. Those who try to be humorous have to be a little weird. I don’t know how I could ever be funny without being a bit weird. Most of the humor I use comes from my own background, which is in itself pretty weird. Make sure that you write down all those funny thoughts that make you laugh when you are in a store or sitting on the can (use toilet paper if need be). You will more than likely forget them if you don’t. It’s really tough in the shower! That’s where many of my funny ideas come from. Yes, it is tough to explain why laughter is coming out of the shower. (Ooh.)

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Jill
Twitter:
April 15, 2011 at 2:52 am

I think knowing your limits is powerful. Me? I’m not funny. And I know it – and I’m OK with it. Though I do try to work on it. I’ll never write a humor post … which is probably why I uber appreciate those who can.

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WebSavvyMom
Twitter:
April 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

–>I wish we could get rid of all the LOL, ROFL, LMFAO, etc. We’re smart, we know when you’re joking.

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Mwa (Lost in Translation) April 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I completely agree, and would say something funny, only I will add another rule:
* If you want to be funny, get a decent night’s sleep first.
My funny is broken, dammit.

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Backpacking Dad April 16, 2011 at 2:23 am

1. It IS satire. That person was just too stupid to see it, and then all of the fun was in their obstinately refusing to admit that it had been satirical, once they are in the know. They retreat to “well, it wasn’t funny. you suck.” etc…And that’s a win.

2. I love to take jokes straight past the point where they are funny and then out the other side by repeating them until they aren’t funny anymore, even to me, then repeat them EVEN MORE until they are funny to me again, then repeat them YET AGAIN until I have to go to sleep. Then I wake up in the morning and repeat the joke again, and, while it hasn’t become funny to anyone else who already heard it, NOW it’s funny to the people who weren’t on Twitter the day before. And I get to have a meta-laugh because they’re laughing at a joke that isn’t funny in the way they think it is.

3. All “In Soviet Russia, X Y’s you!” jokes are funny.

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vodkamom April 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I am sitting here with Braja and Pastor Sharon and Amy and we are LAUGHING OUR you know what’s off about this whole debacle.

and we have decided to pray to you. You are our new Goddess of Humor.

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Elaine April 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I don’t have any more tips because I am not anywhere NEAR as funny as you or your commenters but I would like to say that #6 is my favorite tip. 🙂

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Homschlr4ever
Twitter:
April 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I think all humor is appropriate. It’s the timing and the audience that can become inappropriate. I think most good comedians have figured that out. I don’t try to make anyone else laugh. I just try to make myself laugh so that I can situations into perspective so I guess I just make fun of myself and the things I’ve experienced. When my son died, my motto was, “If I wasn’t laughing than I was crying, if I wasn’t living than I was dying.” If people didn’t get my humor that was okay, it saved me.

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Mama Kat April 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

One time I wrote a post about a horse named One Eyed Willy who fell off the cliff and died…because he couldn’t see. He was sent to the glue factory. It was hysterical. I published it on SITS. And I got a flood of sympathy mail. Everyone felt horrible for me. I don’t know why they don’t think dying horses is funny. Not everyone can be as funny as we are. And that’s okay.

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Beyond Normal Mom
Twitter:
April 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I think my life is very funny, but we’re still waiting to see if anyone else agrees

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