Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Not Funny if You Have to Explain It

Some people are born clever. Their jokes make us laugh in that startled way where your brain has a hiccup before it realizes it's in the presence of Awesome. And comebacks? Please! Quick, yet well thought out. The perfect combination.

Other people have to work for Clever, and alas, there are those who try for it, but never succeed. I'll quickly admit I sit on the fence between those two. Not a bad thing, but true as can be. I have to explain my witticisms. *cringe* I know! They're never funny when you have to explain them. By then, that moment of magic is gone, scooped up and tucked away by the lucky ones in that first group.

But Talking Clever and Writing Clever stand worlds apart. When we write, we can throw it all out there, then edit out the crummy, not-funny stuff. Think of a first (or second or third) draft. You wrote/typed until your pinkies cramped and your eyes went on strike. When you went back through your masterpiece, there were inside jokes and the most hilaaaaaarious quotes that on second thought need more explanation for your reader to 'get them.' I've backspaced my way through many gems (sarcasm, sarcasm).

My personal favorite held on for a couple drafts. I'm the Pierce of YA apparently, because I want so badly for a phrase to catch on. Little Bear's porridge. You say it when something's perfect, when you're feeling all kinds of spectacular. And now that I've explained it, 1) the smidgen of cleverness flew out the window and 2) you're all wondering why you follow this blog. :) Ultimately, that beauty and many (MANY) others like it died a painless death before my current version. And we're all better for it. Trust me.

Does this sound familiar? What are your truly shining mistakes? So laugh-out-loud funny when you wrote them and beyond embarrassing a month later. Sharing is caring!



Andrew Leon said...

I wish to be a comedy writer, but I just don't have it in me. I'm great at telling stories, funny stories, and I can write them down, and they are funny, but... But! There is a tone to comedy writing that I just don't have. I mean, Douglas Adams just drips funny... it oozes from every line. I'm more like a... I don't know... the drip that forms a stalagtite.

Carrie said...

I love that phrase. I am going to use it tomorrow and not explain it :)

I am the queen of lame jokes in writing and in life but I figure that at least I make myself laugh, right?

Kate said...

My husband tells the WORST jokes all the time and then over explains them. I keep saying, "I got it, it just wasn't funny."