Several years ago, I was asked to write a humor article for our local paper. I had the task of writing every week for many years. Sadly, like most local publications, the paper was discontinued. The good news is that I have profited financially and used those articles for many other purposes: speeches, blogs, magazine articles, Sirius XM Comedy, Pandora, original parodies and most recently a best-selling book on Amazon. This humble beginning has helped me write personal development books and also helped me position myself as a funny speaker. So how do you write funny stuff?
1-Keep a Journal
If you hear something funny or inspirational, write I down. I have notes on my phone, church bulletin, slips of paper; you name it. Don’t hesitate to make notes because you may miss a really great humorous story.
2-Write, Write and Write Some More
Never miss the chance to write a blog, article, or copy for speech material. You will develop your skills, funnier words and sharpen your craft on paper and on the platform. The more you think through a story, the funnier it can be. Changing descriptive words and the power of the punctuation, can make a story come to life. FunnierU, a wonderful group of comedian friends, shared the method comedians use to add more comedy. Make a grid and at the top across the page write your topic. Make five columns for the following: people, places, phrases, things, and words. Brainstorm the topic into these categories and think if there is an opposite for any of these words. It works!
3- Have a Funny Friend
Patrick Henry, fellow musician and comedian is my funny friend. We talk almost weekly and run things by each other. I trust Patrick’s humor eye for written material and platform delivery. We are honest with each other and brainstorm together.
4-Break Some Rules-Have Fun!
Local accents, and made-up words are an effective way to write unique articles filled with local humor. Here is an article from my book, “Bury Me With My Pearls.”
I Gave Up Wal-Mart for Lent
Living in Johnston, South Carolina, makes going to Wal-Mart a treat. I’ve admitted many times that I love Wal-Mart so much, I gave it up for Lent. When you give something up for Lent you have to replace it, so during the Holy Season I shop at a smaller store named Fred’s. This store is the love child of Wal-Mart and Family Dollar. One day as I waited in the Wal-Mart checkout line, I noticed the people in front of me were aggravated. The checkout guy was the reason. He had everything pierced you could possibly have pierced. He had a safety pin above his eyebrow, a metal spike through his cheek, and enough rings above the other eyebrow to hold a small shower curtain. I wanted to ask him to unhook the safety pin over his eye just to see if his eyebrow would fall off. The guy had so much metal on his face a series of questions ran through my mind: If you ran real fast would you whistle? Is your name Pierce? Did you fall into a tackle box? I enjoyed thinking of funny questions as I watched the people in front of me—they obviously had no sense of humor. I placed the space bar on the belt between my merchandise and the person checking out in front of me. When my turn came, “Pierce” started to scan the space bar. I just stood there thinking, You’ve got to be kidding. Is your brain pierced? The magic continued, “Where’d you git this frommm?” he said. I could hardly understand him. He had a huge silver-colored ball lodged in the middle of his tongue. I thought, Did he lick that tackle box when he fell into it? But I said, “Uh, I don’t believe I want that space bar.” Some people would have lost their temper, and hey, why not? After all Wal-Mart is an acceptable place to pitch a hissy fit. Instead, I chose humor. What if I had unleashed my anger? How would that have affected the rest of my day? Laughing is a much better option. And I also reminded myself of the way I looked when I was that age.
Enjoy my writer/speaker interview with Alton Gansky. Jane Herlong’s Writer Interview