by Colton Gigot
“Humor is universal, it’s how humans survive the planet Earth.” –Kelsie Huff
I would have introduced this post with a gut-busting pun or knock-knock joke if I’d been able to think one up. That’s the problem with humor writing. Funny can be hardest to find when you need it most.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at writing comedy, you most likely know this problem. Something that sounded hilarious in your head suddenly looks like cricket bait on paper. It’s easy to get deflated when you’re feeling unfunny or uninspired. In these situations, it’s best to have a back-up plan.
I sat down recently with stand-up comedian, writer, and StoryStudio instructor Kelsie Huff, who offered some tips and strategies on being funny, getting unstuck, and finding comedy writing confidence.
Write, and write, and write.
It’s not glamorous, but that’s it. Humor may be uncomfortable because personal humorous tales come from vulnerability and you need to push yourself into the squishy scary darkness of that to find the funny.
Improvise. The moment you try to “be funny” you’re in a bit of trouble. You should focus on specifics, vulnerability, point of view and the funny will come. The key is to trust yourself. And that’s the hard part.
Humor is specific personal truth and as a performer if you simply show the audience how you see the world, it will be funny. If you stick to that basic principle, you can go off and do anecdotes, observations, puns, fart jokes…anything! If you are breathing, you are funny. Period.
Take a class.
Sometimes a class is what you need to spark that much needed fire. Classes also help break down the parts of your brain that tell you “You’re not a real writer. You’re not funny. You smell like expired goat cheese.” Also, classes, shows and open mics are all great spaces to find folks that are going through the same “should I/can I/will I anxieties.” Make writing pals. Having a support system is key.
Of course, these are only a few ways to find your funny side and spark your comic creativity. As you continue to write, you’ll discover what works best for you. And when you do, we’d love to hear about it!