Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened...

Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one's bottom. ~ Taki

I love to laugh. I don't do it nearly enough... but I love it. I have what my husband calls a "refined" sense of humor (i.e. I don't much care for Adam Sandler movies -- "The Wedding Singer" being the only exception), so I'm difficult to amuse. I prefer a play on words to slapstick. Never understood why "The Three Stooges" was funny.

I did like "I Love Lucy" (the scene when she made wine or when she was working that assembly line... they still crack me up).

Frasier and M*A*S*H were my all-time favorite sit-coms. I don't like ANY of the ones that are out now. I liked Friends at first, but it got old near the end and bored me.

I LOVE Gilbert and Sullivan shows. "Pirates of Penzance", "HMS Pinafore", "The Mikado". They make me laugh until I cry. There are so many clever things that you don't catch until you've watched it ten or twenty times... the little things that they put in there for effect. Love. Them.

Am I difficult?

When I write, my characters don't always keep a straight face. But I can't seem to get the hang of all out romantic comedy. The closest was my "Liv Leigh" story -- and I think the main reason that one had so many absurd things in it was because it was my NaNo 2005 novel and I threw in some of the crazy dares.

Still, my characters do occasionally fall of things (porches, chairs, roofs) or have silly pets (rats, ferrets), but I can't seem to maintain the humor the entire time. That frustrates me.

I'm determined to get the hang of it eventually. In the meantime, it does make me wonder how to categorize my work. It's not rom-com, and it's not completely straight romance. I think of it as romance that doesn't take itself seriously.

What about you? Do you like humor? Can you write it? What are some of your favorite funny movies, books or TV shows? What can make you laugh 'til you wet your pants?


Tori Lennox said...

If I had to make a choice between a funny book and one that was more serious, the funny book would win out every time. Writing funny is whole other kettle of fish, though. It's hard to get it right!

Charity said...

Why not simply call it “contemporary romance” and not worry about it? Seriously. My take on a lot of romantic comedy, be it on the screen and especially in books, is it falls flat.

Part of the problem, for me, is the emphasis on “very” books. A book must be “very” funny, or “very” scary, or “very” emotional these days. Bigger must be better.

Thing is, you can’t have light without dark. You can’t have comedy without tragedy. You simply can’t have nonstop hilarity on the page if there’s no contrast.

I love many of the shows you mentioned (or at least seasons of them--sitcoms seem to wax and wane). I loved the short lived Sports Night. Love Gilbert and Sullivan.

If the rom-com box doesn’t feel comfortable, don’t put yourself in it. You know, I’ve heard Jenny Crusie say that she doesn’t consider herself either funny or a writer of romantic comedy. She just writes the world as she sees it.

Why not follow her lead?

Gay said...

I wish I could remember where I read things... but I read so much, and read all the time, that sometimes the sources all blur together.

Anyway, I read that in order to make humor humorous, people have to play off of each other in a POSITIVE fashion. As soon as one of them answers in a negative, you hit a brick wall... this is said to be particularly true in improv. I started paying attention to how characters are funny, and how they keep laughs coming, now, when I'm watching TV or movies, or reading a funny book--and sure enough, the author (and I sure wish I could remember WHO it was, so I could give them credit) was right!

One will say, "Did you hear..."
And to keep it going, the other has to say, "Yes, but..." If the answer is "No..." they might get one short laugh, but the sketch ends right there.

Just a thought.