We laughed our way through a terrific comedy workshop this past Saturday at the Walnut Creek Library with nearly sixty middle school students improvising, writing, and critiquing their way through humor. There was enough talent in that room to produce several books, a magazine and a sitcom script or two.
When I asked students to introduce themselves and share a moment of humor, one boy said, “My name is __________ (name protected so he won’t sue me) and I blew up my mother’s laundry room when I was four.” Turns out the scientific genius was experimenting in his basement, so he wasn’t hurt in the procedure.
The young man next to him stated, “My name is ___________ and I helped my brother blow up our mother’s laundry room.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet the mother. I wanted to find out what medication she was taking. Did I mention these boys are available for stand-up?
After this group entertained me and Susie (Sarah Wilson www.sarahwilsonbooks.com ) as they performed a comedic drama improv with such advanced skills I wanted to call Hollywood, we left feeling elated and knew this group would go on to write and tell some very funny stories with the humor techniques we discussed and demonstrated.
How can you be funny in your own writing?
Look for humor all around you in your own life.
Use exaggeration when appropriate. Timing is important (read all of your work out loud!) and find examples of irony, satire and parody in books and movies so you can incorporate these in your own writing.
Have fun being funny!
1. Write about a humorous memory from your past. Read it out loud to make it as funny as it can be. Remember that short words and short sentences work well in comedy.
2. Watch http://youtu.be/q1mAGQAw3Oc
and use it to inspire a funny poem or story told in the point of view of a sloth.
3. Write a poem or story from the point of view from an object. Remember to use his or her senses. What does it really feel like to be this object? Check to make sure you use action verbs!