Q: Reader asks: Jan, I think I’m a funny person. I regularly make others around me convulse with laughter. Yet when it comes time to setting my humor on paper, it always falls flat. Since you’re approachable and kind, would you please share your tips? ~ Frustrated in Poughkeepsie
A: Dear Frustrated: I’d be happy to explain the little I know. As you peruse this information, however, I’d urge you to take advantage of the comedic gift you’ve already been given. “Poughkeepsie” is a name ripe with potential. It’s so much better than the material I’ve been given, such as the boring and commonplace “Vegreville” and “Edmonton.”
To claim your comedic potential, you need only do the following:
1. Live somewhere north of the 49th parallel where ambient winter temperatures mean frozen boogers. Notice yours in the rearview mirror while driving your son to school. Name it Sarah Palin.
2. Have some intense discussions after reading an intense book and writing an intense scene. Realize you’re so serious you’d made a Thomas Hardy novel feel like a laugh a minute. Vow to search out inanity and play.
3. Google “manwhore”.
4. Find this picture:
5. Decide on the topic for a blog post and go to town on it. I mean, write an essay that they’d kill to air on Saturday Night Live. Offer insights in a fresh, vibrant voice that would make David Sedaris feel like a poseur. Envision how his agent will tentatively explain to him there’s a new kid in town and how it’ll eat into David’s book sales and audience size.
Picture how David will rant, kick a hole in the cardboard box which holds his ARCs and generally signify to one and all his extreme and prejudicial intimidation.
6. Have evil cat hits evil power switch with his dainty, evil foot. Before you’ve saved.
7. Reboot computer.
8. Cry. (And by “cry” I mean rant, eat a hole in the supply of chocolate-covered pretzels hidden in the back of the junk cupboard and succumb to extreme and prejudicial intimidation on behalf of the blank screen.)
10. Watch this video to console yourself:
11. Feel remarkably better, cobble together your ramblings and hit “publish”.
How about the rest of you? Any words of advice for my reader?