Make Your Writing Funny – The 4 Principles Each Humor Writer Needs

Writing good humor involves a bag of tricks not everyone has on standby. It’s not something to be ashamed about – some people just aren’t meant for writing humor, just like I’m not meant to ever go back to Alabama. But if you want to increase your chances of success – and have a fun time – I’d recommend following these principles.

1. You gotta have a sense of humor.

Painfully obvious advice, I know, but you’d be amazed how people can be given obvious advice and never acknowledge it. (Trust me, I’ve been there.) You need a lighthearted view of the world. Optimally, you should approach most situations, especially the negative ones, with a humorous outlook. This isn’t easy even for the funniest men and women, of course, but it pays off.

2. You need the desire to be creative.

Lazy humor stinks because everyone’s heard it before. Blond jokes, why cats are different from dogs…boring, been-there-done-that tedium. The best humor is unexpected, clever, unpredictable, and other great words now available in your local thesaurus. You can’t write that kind of humor without a thrill and passion for making something new.

3. You must be observant of the world around you.

And I don’t just mean looking at a bird and going “yep, that has wings”. I mean writing it down, prodding it, looking for the absurd and strange. I’m not perfect here but I’m doing better – just today I noticed a bag of chips that prominently displayed “40% LESS FAT”, which made me think, “FAT is just one letter off from EAT, isn’t it?” It’s that ability to notice what is truly off about this weird world that helps us find the humor in it.

4. You must want to solve the puzzle.

Chewing over humor is a lot like chewing over any other piece of writing, yet humor has its own rules. Do you adore the puzzle of wordplay, the challenge of setting everything just right for the greatest comedic effect? Can you rely on it to keep you going time and time again? Mind you, the satisfaction of laughing at one of your own awesome jokes is great, but you might as well have fun getting there first.

What other principles do you think a person of wit requires? Let me know in the comments.

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Matt Willard's bio begins with witty phrasing that succinctly illustrates his stance as a humorist. It is then followed with a clever sentence that illustrates what he does in his spare time. The bio concludes with a shameless link to his Twitter profile, paired with an off-hand comment that alludes to his success with women. Laughter.

1 thought on “Make Your Writing Funny – The 4 Principles Each Humor Writer Needs”

  1. ………………………………………………………….Dave Barry…On Humor…………………………OTHER COLUMNS……What makes me laugh when I read other peoples columns is the idea that theyre getting paid to write them. I mean I like almost any humor that I did not personally have to produce. When you write your own humor never seems funny to you when youre done.

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