Friday, February 16, 2007

Humor Me

It’s Friday and Faye and I are back to talk about humor. I haven’t always written comedy. My first book wasn’t funny. I remember being in New York right after the book came out, having dinner with my editor and other Silhouette writers, and the conversation turned to zoos. I mentioned my visit to the San Diego Zoo. Everyone at the table was cracking up – everyone but me, of course. (It’s hard to laugh about being sexually molested by an elephant.) Anyway, my editor turned to me and said, "You should be writing humor."

I blew her off. Seriously, I didn’t know anything about being funny, I was just telling about an experience. Years later, I realized that it wasn’t so much the experiences that were funny, it was how I viewed them. Okay, not everyone has been groped by a two-ton animal in front of a hundred or so camera-toting viewers. And those who have, probably wouldn’t be so inclined to share. The point is that I tapped into some basic emotion. Embarrassment in this instance, and listeners could relate. Or at least they . . . tried to relate. I’m not sure anyone can actually know how it felt unless they experienced it. But imagine having a mammogram in public, given by an animal. (Did you know that elephants have suction cups in their trunks? I hadn’t had a hickie in years.)

However, it doesn’t have to be outrageous to be funny. Consider the Seinfeld show. They made us laugh about the most basic subjects – women’s purses/men’s wallets, rude soup servers, and people who talk in low voices. They also made us laugh by covering those basic truths that no one wants to talk about. Do you remember the shows about masturbation, ugly babies, and men’s shrinkage issue? Oh, yeah, we laughed about that.

Laughter feels good. I love it when an author makes me laugh. (Don’t ever tell Faye, but her "sedate" humor just cracks me up. And what really gets me is sometimes she doesn’t even know she’s being funny.) And I love the idea of making my readers laugh. A real belly laugh is right up there with a good cry. It’s an emotional release. Heck, after all these years, I’ve even gotten to where I can chuckle about my San Diego experience. The fact that I never visit the elephant exhibits at zoos is another matter.

Okay, now you’ve heard some of my thoughts on humor. What are yours? Remember, we’re giving away a Barnes & Noble gift certificate – and possibly a pair of false teeth – to one lucky person at the end of the month. Oh, yeah, check back in a while, I’m sure Faye’s going to have something to say about her "sedate" humor.


meardaba said...

I still say I want those teeth.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, meardaba, I don't think too many people will fight you for them. LOL.


Susan Vaughan said...

You and Faye have the lowdown on humor.
Though I generally write angsty RS, my books do have some humor. I didn't realize I was doing it until my editor said, don't forget the humor. Who knew?


Colleen Thompson said...

I think humor leavens a dark story beautifully, Susan. I do the same whenever possible in my romantic suspense novels.

Love the elephant story, Christie! I'm enjoying your and Faye's discussion!