The thing about writing humour is that everyone has a different sense of humour.
I remember having a conversation about this with a friend. She said, their family had invited the son’s new girlfriend over, to join them for dinner. After the meal, they thought they’d watch their favourite show, with the idea that laughing would bring them all together. So they put on a comedy which they knew was side-splitting, ‘Little Britain.’ My friend said that she, her husband and sons were rolling off the couch, nearly crying with laughter, while the son’s girlfriend never cracked a smile throughout the whole show.
Humour is personal and deadly serious.
I promised readers I’d share my journey towards the holy grail of engaging the funny bone. Let’s say, it’s been an interesting process, so far.
In my last post, there was a great moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth about having to write the material for my humorous speech.
I got some helpful pointers from a number of responders. With regards my first idea for material, which had been my mother and her dementia, a friend on social media – the wonderfully gregarious Lord David Prosser – countered with a great comment.
‘If you get the chance to read the Deric Longden story Lost for Words or get the chance to see the TV film that was made starring Dame Thora Hird you’ll see that the subject of dementia can be dealt with i a funny, charming yet sympathetic way. Because we see the humour in a situation doesn’t make us uncaring towards people suffering that illness, it just means the particular situation was funny.’ ~ David Prosser
However, for the upcoming Speech Contest, I decided to go with the same topic I covered last year, something I know intimately – being a parent. Since then, after many anxious, feeble attempts at writing it, and wringing of hands, I began to despair I’d ever be able to write anything good ever again!
I watched footage of award-winning humorous speaker, Jeanne Robertson http://www.jeannerobertson.com (thanks for the link, Jenny), and read a post or two by my friends who write funny blogs, like the self-confessed undie chronicler, Jenny Hansen, https://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/ and sweet blogger, Bun Karyudo, whose excellent “Lovingly Hand-Crafted Humor Blog” is always good for a chuckle.
I thought Bun’s recent post, Teaching My Son to Swim? It’s Just Not Going to Happen https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/teaching-my-son-to-swim-its-just-not-going-to-happen/ was hilarious.
Here’s an excerpt, where his wife is convincing a reluctant Bun why he ought to teach their son to swim:
“When someone makes a promise, isn’t it only right to keep it.”
When someone made a promise, I nodded, it was only right to keep it.
“Right then,” she said, “I promised our son you’d teach him to swim. How can you possibly refuse?”
Bun, however, has a natural gift for turn of comedic phrase. I don’t!
Still stumped, I gazed upon these people’s brilliance and felt unable to produce anything of credibly feather-tickling value myself.
I’ve been having the same conversation everywhere I’ve gone, what makes comedy?
This week, a friend asked me, ‘Look at this way, what makes you laugh?’
Terrific question. I can tell you, one-liners leave me cold; I prefer it when there’s a storyline, and the humour comes through what happens.
A light went on! I realized that my earlier attempts had failed, because each was basically a series of one-liners strung together.
Yesterday, my two youngest sons left to spend the weekend with their father. Last night, I relaxed and listened to some music, as you do. I was thinking about how different childhood is for kids these days, compared to say, when I was young, or say my parents, or their parents before them.
A few words wafted by me on the wind. If you consider that my grandmother was born in 1901. She lived in the “pre-nuclear age…” I thought, Gran had perfect recall, while I have trouble remembering something from one room of the house to the other… that’s a funny idea! Lucky for me, I was fleet of foot and captured the words before they flew on by.
I had the start to my speech.
The concept of comparing childhoods in our family, from my gran through to my youngest son, gave me the all-important narrative I needed. The rest flowed from there.
Here’s an example of the content as it stands so far: ‘They say there are more crazy people on the streets these days than ever before, we parents get warnings to keep an eye on our children’s whereabouts at all times. I know my children’s whereabouts – couch one and couch two in our living room, where they can get the wifi.’
Therefore, the raw material for my humorous speech has finally been produced. A labour of love, no less.
Now, I just need to figure out how to deliver the speech to achieve maximum impact. Wish me luck! Any tips for comedic timing/inflection that works, please let me know! There’s a chocolate fish in it for you (nah, just kidding).
Talk to you later.
Keep on Creating!
Yvette K. Carol
It is impossible to look cool while picking up a Frisbee. ~ Peter Kay
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