Today, I want to talk about a particularly funny topic: humorous writing. Yes, it’s a thing and yes, it deserves all the respect of other types of professions. After all, who can’t use a good laugh from time to time? In fact, some of the most unforgettable ads and forms are copy are the ones that make us double over with delirious laughter. So the burning question is: how does one achieve it and is it something you can do?
It sure is! (Those with only “how did the chicken cross the road” jokes need not apply.) The key to truly maintaining success when writing a humorous piece is originality. If you don’t have that, well… [insert cricket sound here]. You get the point. So if you are concerned about it and want to add some LOLs or at the very least smiles to your copy, read on to see how it’s done.
I should just point out right now that I come from a long line of goofballs, therefore it’s kind of in my genes to be a goof. If you don’t score so high on the laugh-o-meter, not to worry! Humor comes in many forms, my friend.
The dark comedy of the written language can often be attributed to some perfectly placed sarcasm. The beauty of sarcasm is you don’t have to throw buckets of it at your audience. A sliver of sarcasm here, a helping of irony there, a hint at mockery elsewhere and voila! You have yourself copy that’s been nicely spiced up with edge and yes even a laugh or two.
Word play at its finest is best found in a pun that leaves your audience still thinking about it long after they've read it. Suggesting two or more meanings, by spring boarding off words with multiple meanings is a common way to add in a good pun. Alliteration is sometimes added with a good pun as well, often for extra humor. The best thing about a pun is it can quickly spice up your copy and generate a good laugh almost immediately. Not to mention they are often downright clever and often very much appreciated.
Cheap shots and SNL style skit references are fair game here. This style of humor works best in story mode copy. Telling a tale that’s worth a few extra laughs? Slap-stick is excellent for this and it’s easier to achieve than you may think. The best thing about slap-stick is there really is no right or wrong. Bumbling foolishness and epic fails are all a part of life, right?
Downright quirky and completely niche humor is not an easy thing to accomplish, I won’t lie. A few years back, I covered a travel column piece on the summer festivities at Disney World. It just so happened Epcot had a summer Flower Garden festival occurring during the Star Wars weekends. If you are catering to a group of Star-Wars enthusiasts who also happen to love gardening, you better come up with more than just a blip about greenery and "may the force be with you." Let’s just say creativity knows no bounds with niche-based humor. By the time I was done Darth Vader and flowers sounded like a rosy pair—puns very much intended! It was challenging but rewarding. The best thing about niche humor is that it is literally one of a kind, so you have more freedom to think outside the box and have fun with it.