How to write funny…

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Publishing

For me, I think fear is the only thing that stops people being funny. Fear of looking stupid, or causing offense. The thing with comedy is it is often self deprecating and as such can mask it’s cleverness. It truly is, I think, working without a safety net. Recently I was asked,“How do you write funny?”

“You just say what ever the fuck you like.” I said.
“Oh, but aren’t you worried about offending someone?”

I am of the opinion that you can say anything. ANYTHING. It is the intention behind what is said that is key. The intention that can cause offense. I hate it when people say ‘The N-word’, and I mean actually saying ‘The N-word’, not nigger. Are you that afraid? If the word nigger forms on your lips, as a comment to describe people, a person or behind someone’s back. You are a cunt. It is as simple as that. If however, you are deliberately using it, with irony and affection, you can. If it’s motive is to make someone laugh, who will find it funny, well that is fine. Recently, while at a book thing for Malice in Bristol, there were a group of black guys who were skaters. They wanted their books signed. I limped up all gangster and said “Whaddup ma-niggas?” We all laughed, chatted, I had a skate. A white guy said – that was offensive. What he heard next was offernsive! The guys I said it too got the joke, knew I was having fun. They had read the book, read the blog, know my shit and wouldn’t have expected any less. One of them, ‘Daze’, who was very posh sounding, I called a ‘red-neck’. They loved it. The irony of a posh black kid being called a red-neck, no matter how you slice it, is funny. The word ‘Nigger’ is a horrible, and hate fuelled word. It’s intention was control or harm. Yet, if used ironically, in a friendly enviroment, you are stealing the word back. Like taking the bullets out of the gun, and owning it. Sometimes you can say so much more, using the words you shouldn’t.

There are no such thinks as charged words, only assholes who use words to hurt people. Again, it is the intention behind the words, their use. It reminds me of this time of year, when all of a sudden girls are walking around with their titties hanging out. As a guy, can’t help look. One woman told me off “Hey, pervert – what you looking at?”
“Your titties” I said. I like to be honest. Women say, ‘Well I like to get attention, but not THAT kind of attention…’ They are titties, not a fucking laser guided smart bomb. Yeah, the intention might  be to get the attention of the great looking Calvin Clien model in the Ferarri, but there will be collateral. They will also get the attention of the drunk fuck on the bus – ME. Women use wonderbra’s to squeeze them together and low cut tops –  it’s attractive. Oddly, for us guys, the same doesn’t apply. Walk up to a girl with your balls out and squeezing them together and you get called a pervert. Similarly with humour, if someone gatecrashes a conversation and doesn’t like what he hears, well they can fuck right off. Just like if my book offends… put it fucking down and read someone else. If you have to edit and amend what you think and write, to protect the gentle sensibilities of some, then you are letting yourself and your audience down.

It’s the intention behind the words, not the use. Recently I was with some Jewish guys, in a Hasidic Jewish area, but eating in an Arabic restaurant. The only person bothered about the choice of restaurant was neither Jewish nor Arabic, and was finding things in the situation to worry about. We are just people, we want to eat – they are a restaurant, they sell food, and it had Vegan on the menu. Words are the same, you can find offense if you look for it.

I was saying “I like the Hasidic look, very Johny Cash, being all in black.'” They laughed. “Tell me about the acidy spit?”
“What?” said one laughing.
“The acidy spit. I’m guessing that’s why your called acidic Jews, because you have developed acidy spit like Alien?”
Hasidic – we are Hasidic Jews”

After the meeting it was asked, ‘How do you do it, say stuff like you do and not cause offense?” as if I have some magical gift. I’m not at all bothered about offending people. People have a right to be offended, just as much as I have the right to say what ever the fuck I want. If someone says ‘He crossed the line!’ they are drawing a line – not me. The motivation and intention behind all I say is humour, giggles. I was genuinely interested in the Jewish religion, nothing wrong with delivering a question with humour. I was told by someone Rape isn’t funny. Yes it is. Okay, so a joke about an actual rape or people anyway involved in such an awful crime is wrong, I don’t like to get jokes at the expense of other people, but a skit about me getting raped by Bugs Bunny, I bet would be funny.

So far, the reviews of my book have been amazing. Folks haven’t been offended by the overtly offensive content, unlike the ‘establishment’ had predicted. Because, I think it’s intention is to be funny. Regardless of the content, there is nothing more innocent than wanting to make people laugh. I’m getting asked a lot lately – “How do you write funny?” Simple. Be brave, fearless and just say shit.


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