Chapter 7: The Sweet Taste of Success (Maybe)

So, you've taken the plunge and attempted to infuse your writing with humor. Congratulations! When it works, it's like hitting the jackpot – laughter fills the room, and you bask in the glow of comedic success. But alas, comedy is a tricky beast, and not every joke lands as intended. What happens when the laughter fades and the reviews turn sour? Fear not, fellow wordsmiths, we'll commiserate with you and offer some strategies to help you emerge victorious, we hope.

It's tough to hear criticism, especially when it's about something as personal as your humor. Take a deep breath and remember that feedback is an opportunity for growth. Listen to what your critics have to say, even if it stings, and use it to refine your comedic craft. 

"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested, and the frog dies of it." - E. B. White

Humor is subjective, and what tickles one person's funny bone may fall flat for another. Consider who your target audience is and tailor your humor accordingly. Are you writing for a specific demographic? Are there cultural or societal nuances to consider? Understanding your audience can help you fine-tune your comedic delivery.

If writing to infuse your work with entertaining wit is important to you---keep at it. The best reason I have read to write with humor is what Mark Twain said.

"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain

Comedy is an art form, and like any craft, it requires practice and study. Take the time to immerse yourself in the works of comedic geniuses past and present. Watch stand-up specials, read humorous literature, and dissect what makes them tick. Pay attention to timing, wordplay, and the art of storytelling – these are the building blocks of great comedy.

To increase your chances of comedic success, write about something you some knowledge or experience about; then twist that into something funny. A wonderful example of this method is Shayne Smith---super funny guy. He is also known as "the neck tattoo guy." His routine focuses on his neck tattoo experiences which are endless! 

 Don't be afraid to take risks with your humor. Try out different styles, tones, and approaches to see what resonates with your audience. And remember, comedy is a process of trial and error. Just because a joke falls flat once doesn't mean it's doomed to fail forever. Keep experimenting, refining, and iterating until you find your comedic voice.

Above all, remember to stay true to your voice and vision as a writer. Comedy is as much about authenticity as it is about timing and wit. Don't try to force humor where it doesn't belong or adopt a style that doesn't feel genuine to you. Trust in your instincts and let your unique perspective shine through in your writing.

Shayne Smith is a comedian who has a comedy special on YouTube titled You Will Immediately Regret Your Neck Tattoo. In the special, Smith says that anyone who gets a neck tattoo will regret it. 

Reading the works of successful comedy writers can provide valuable insights into crafting humor, developing comedic timing, and creating memorable characters and situations. Here are three recommendations from FOP

P.G. Wodehouse: Known for his witty and absurd humor, P.G. Wodehouse created timeless comedic characters like Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. His works, including the "Jeeves and Wooster" series, are filled with clever wordplay, hilarious misunderstandings, and delightful escapades.

Terry Pratchett: As the author of the wildly popular "Discworld" series, Terry Pratchett blended fantasy with humor in a way that's both intelligent and absurd. His satirical take on society, coupled with memorable characters and clever jokes, makes his books a must-read for anyone interested in comedic writing.

Nora Ephron: (My personal favorite) A master of romantic comedy, Nora Ephron brought wit and charm to both the page and the screen. With works like "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," Ephron showcased her ability to craft sharp dialogue, relatable characters, and hilarious situations that leave audiences laughing and swooning.

In the end, navigating the comedy-writing journey is filled with unexpected detours. But for the brave writers who embark on this path, the rewards – however elusive they may seem to be – are well worth the effort. So, keep writing, keep laughing, and never lose sight of the joy that comes from sharing a good joke with the world. After all, as they say, laughter is the best medicine – even when the comedy quagmire threatens to swallow you whole.

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