There is nothing less funny than writing about humor. I was a standup comic for years. Every once in a while after a show, some dude would come up to me wanting to discuss my act. I’d cringe while listening to the person attempt to intellectualize the mysterious process of getting laughs. And now, here I go.
Humor isn’t about telling a funny story. It’s not relegated to a genre, but is about finding the irony and the contradictions inherent in the human experience.
It is the sign of a curious and insightful writer. I don’t mean one-liners. I’m talking about having a emotional sense of your story, of appreciating the madness of life and approaching it with a certain detachment. If the story is grim and the voice is entirely grim, playing the same haunting note, we are unlikely to be moved. We need air. Humor connects us and ironically allows us to plunge deeper into the drama. Shakespeare was vitally aware of this. Humor opens our hearts and draws us in so that we can truly be affected by the story.