Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Write Humor Articles when You're Not Funny

When it comes to my friends and family, I like to think that I'm pretty funny. When it comes to expressing my humor in text, not so much. My sense of humor is more geared toward sarcasm, which is difficult to express in writing. Most of the time, people take me the wrong way and end up pissed off or confused.

Despite this, I still want to make people laugh. There is nothing better than hearing a loud guffaw in the back of the room because of something you said. Unfortunately, it's frustrating when you fail epically at making people laugh when you try to do the same thing online.

Humor is incredibly important in both life and in writing. If you're funny, your audience will laugh. And hell, if you can make your audience laugh, you can make them do anything. Okay, so maybe not anything, but you'll be able to get your message across with ease. And that's the ultimate goal, right?

On the other hand, however, if you're niche is health, you might not want to implement "the funnies" into your work. There is a time and place for everything, folks, and talking about serious heart attacks doesn't always warrant a silly joke.

But if your niche isn't that serious and you really want to grasp the attention of your audience and relate to them on a different level, you have to make that connection. And being funny is the way to go.

There are a few ways to do this, but it takes practice. Keep in mind that you're not going to become the next Eddie Murphy or Jeff Dunham over night.

So, how can you start developing your online sense of humor? Read on.

Practice writing humorous stories every day for at least 10 minutes, preferably more. Pick a topic and write about it. Don't try to be funny. Let it come naturally and allow your readers to create their own connections. You can be completely serious or you can be obnoxious. When you're finished, find someone that you know will tell you the truth, and ask them what you think. If they can't control their laughter, you're in the clear. If they're left with a straight face, keep working on it.

Read funny stories. Go online, read jokes, find embarrassing stories that people have written, watch plenty of comedies, and observe stand-up comedians. Check out the websites of some of the funniest celebrities you know and see what they're saying and how people are responding. Write down any tips that you might find useful.

Open your eyes. Your life is funny. Think back to some hilarious times and write about it. If you see something happen during a family get-together or if something dawns upon you that people might find hilarious, make a note of it. Oh, and don't forget about good ol' fashioned self-deprecation. Making fun of yourself is always a great way to get people to laugh with you---or at you, depending on how you see it. But who cares, as long as they're laughing?

Now that you know how to practice and get ideas, use the following to expand your humor writing a little more.

Be truthful.
The truth is funny. There is a character on family guy that always says, "It's funny 'cause it's true," and he's right. But it's not as simple as stating something that everyone knows. No, you have to take it a step further than that. Pick something obvious, and then say something about it that people don't seem to notice. For example, everyone knows that Tarzan doesn't have a beard, but how in the hell does he shave?

Be subtle.
One of the worst things that you can do when it comes to humor is to over-explain. This ruins the entire joke. Let your audience make their own connections. If everyone laughs, but no one can explain what's so hilarious about it, you know that you've done a good job.

Surprise people.
When you're telling a joke or leading up to something, practice deadpan humor. Keep a straight face. Be serious. Make it seem sentimental or emotional. When your audience least expects it, run off in another direction and shock them with the punchline. If you can pull it off, it will work nearly every time.

When it comes down to it, it's all about lightening up. Stop taking yourself so seriously and stop kicking yourself when people don't laugh. You can't win everyone over with your jokes, so don't worry about it.

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