Monday, April 1, 2013

Writing is Very Funny Business

I have to confess something: I'm not big into April Fools' Day.  Mostly because the "jokes" and "pranks" tend to be rather obvious.  I do have a certain fondness to ones where a certain degree of craft gets put into it, though.  For example, John Scalzi's "Shadow War of the Night Dragons" is a pretty brilliant bit of satire.  I mean, yes, it's a joke, but it's well written and the cover art is nigh-perfect.

But it seems most April Fool's Jokes boil down to, "I'm telling you something that's blatantly untrue.  Ha ha got you."  Bleh.

So, anyway, I'm not a "funny" writer.  That doesn't mean what I write isn't funny.  It often can be.  But I don't write it to be funny.  Because if I actually tried to write comedy, I'd probably fail spectacularly. 

Actually, I know I'd fail spectacularly, since I did try and do that in college, writing sketches for the talent show that were not particularly funny.  Except perhaps to me.  Or to the people who knew that I was blatantly attempting to rip off Monty Python.  Actually, it probably was not funny to those people.  But that's what you do in high school writing, right?  Take whatever your influences are, barely file off the serial numbers, and do a blatant copy of the style.  Also back in high school, I attempted to write a comedy/sci-fi romp, and it was exactly what you'd expect it to be: a poor copy of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

That said, several short plays I have written have turned out pretty funny.  Which is strange, given that funny wasn't the goal at all.  Sometimes they became funny in the process of production. 

In my novels, I'm not going for comedy at all.  However, there will always be moments of comic relief.  Holver Alley Crew, for example, has a jokey banter between Asti and Verci throughout.  But, again, I'm not writing jokes.  Something about that seems destined to fail.

As an example, I've always been a big fan of Babylon 5.  However, the comic relief bits never really worked for me.  Always felt off, like it was trying to hard.  However, I have a strange fondness for the appearance of Rebo & Zooty in the season five episode "Day of the Dead".  Not because they're funny-- because they aren't-- but because their humor is presented as utterly subjective and of-its-moment.  It's not funny, but most people on Babylon 5 are laughing at it... except Capt. Lochley, who, like us, just doesn't get it.  And there's something interesting in that.

All right, enough of this.  Off to the word mines.  I have self-imposed deadlines to meet.

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