book report #5: what’s so dang funny?

I can only afford so many conferences a year, so when I saw The Portable Writers’ Conference, edited by Stephen Blake Mettee,  I drooled a little.

There’s a lot of jewels in here:

Unforgettable…Creating memorable characters…by Sara Ann Freed                                           

Can These Bones Live?…Writing good period dialogue…by Leonard Tourney

Slice Yourself a Piece of Mud Pie…Writing for the children’s book market…by Andrea Brown

Meet  a Jerk, Get to Work…Find your fiction characters and settings in everyday life….by Jaqueline Girdner

But the article that really gave me pause was not written by an editor or author, but by a stand-up comedian.  The article is: Humor Impaired?…the hows and “wise” of humor for Roger Bates.

First of all, my favorite quote is “People enjoy laughing.”           



But after a few paragraphs convincing us that not only is laughing good, but people actually like it, Roger gets to explaining how to write a set up and a punchline.   He also discusses the reverse, the indirect resolution, hyperbole, the callback, and other terms that will get you through humor 101.

That’s where the guy leaves me in the  book jacket dust.

If I try to dissect what is funny, my sense of humor goes deaf.  It’s like thinking about how to skip or how to steer a canoe or how to balance on a horse.  I fall on my fanny pack, every time.

I can see how Roger’s information can be very helpful, but I’m too intuitive to work that way.

“Intuitive”, in this application, means “dumb”.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on June 17, 2008, in book report, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on book report #5: what’s so dang funny?.

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