This article was written by author A.R. Horvath, check out his novel series Birth Pangs.
Not a damn thing. That‚Äôs the problem with writing an essay like this when you‚Äôre like me and don‚Äôt have a funny bone in your body. The rest of the writers know they‚Äôve got some wit about them and wanted to stick it to me knowing that I‚Äôve got no game, so I was assigned this essay. And the truth is, if you aren‚Äôt funny, there isn‚Äôt much you can do about it.
Now, that said, I have been studying the art of humor for quite awhile and I think I‚Äôm getting better. You know that guy in ‚ÄúGood Morning Vietnam‚Äù? No, not Robin Williams. The other guy. He‚Äôs got the goods and I think I might be on my way, too. So let me give you some pointers on how to be funny.
First of all, you‚Äôve got the one liner. I‚Äôm a master of the one liner. There are some classics out there like Yogi Berra‚Äôs line ‚ÄúIf you come to a fork in the road, pick it up.‚Äù Or something like that. You‚Äôve got to be quick if you want to do a one liner, so do what I do, and have a handful of lines that you use over and over again. For example you don‚Äôt want to be around me when going through a checkout line when I get my change. I‚Äôve got all sorts of good ones. For example, if two pennies emerge at any point in the transaction [COPYRIGHTED] I‚Äôm sure to say something to the effect of, ‚ÄúNow that I‚Äôve given you my two cents worth, I‚Äôm expecting change.‚Äù [COPYRIGHTED]. Sometimes I get lucky and they‚Äôll need ten cents from me. I‚Äôll say [TRADEMARKED] ‚ÄúFrankly my dear, I don‚Äôt give a dime.‚Äù [COPYRIGHTED]. And if the cashier smiles, I‚Äôll follow it with my charming, ‚ÄúBut for you I‚Äôll make an exception.‚Äù In a football town you can say (if the circumstance warrants it), [COPYRIGHTED] ‚ÄúHey, I want my quarterback!‚Äù [PATENT PENDING]
As you can tell, these are all the intellectual property of the author of this article, but I feel bad for schooling you all in quality humor but denying you the right to use any of it, so let me throw you a bone and give you one of my favorite lines. This one works no matter what you‚Äôve just used in your transaction. Let‚Äôs say it‚Äôs a nickel. You just say, ‚ÄúIf I had a nickel for every time I paid someone five cents, I‚Äôd have all my nickel‚Äôs back.‚Äù Just watching them work this one out is sure to put joy in your heart, and if your wife is present, you‚Äôll see her laughing and know that you‚Äôve just really nailed it.
Now, if your goal is to be funny, you might be thinking of considering some of those short question and answer jokes. The briefest would be like ‚ÄúWhy did the chicken cross the road?‚Äù These do not show that you‚Äôre funny. They just show that you can remember someone else‚Äôs joke.
Or, perhaps you‚Äôre thinking of some of those short story jokes with unexpected and clever endings. How exactly do these show that you‚Äôre funny? And when would you actually use them? Can‚Äôt use them in a check out line with cute cashiers. No time.
No, take it from a man who knows funny. Stick with the clever plays on words. That‚Äôs what I use, and look how far it‚Äôs gotten me. Hey, what‚Äôs so funny?
A.R. Horvath is the author of the book series Birthpangs