Tee-hee or not tee-hee, that is the question


Hi everyone,

So are you funny or not? When you set out to write something meant to make readers laugh, do they laugh or groan or glaze over? This is one of the topics we’ll get into next week at the workshop. I’ve been wrestling my thoughts together as time draws closer. I even came up with a sort of measuring tool that I sent the attendees today to be looking over.

Obviously it’s not possible to cover humor in one 60-minute session, but you have to start somewhere. Children like funny poems. They like other kinds, too, especially those that speak to them of their own joys, fears, dreams, curiosities, and experiences. But for those poets who aspire to supply young readers with humor, the task is a serious matter. As being humorous always is. That’s why it’s worth setting aside a period during the workshop to talk about how and where to find that elusive youthful funny-bone.



6 comments on “Tee-hee or not tee-hee, that is the question

  1. David,
    I find this post confusing. Basically, I get you are teaching one hour of your Highlight’s workshop on humor. So, what do I get from this? What can I learn from your post? (You know it’s all about me?) Oops, did I just stub my toe? Will you do more than list the various kinds of humor from slapstick physical humor, scatalogic humor, farce, word play, the old misdirect, and puns?
    If you basically aren’t a humorous person, can one learn how to do it?

    • Dear Joy,
      I don’t know the answer to your question about learning to be funny if you aren’t already. I don’t think that being funny is for everyone. But for those who want to be and try to be humorous, it seems to me a topic worth exploring. What we’ll do at the workshop is read and critique some poems, rate them on a scale, place them by category, consider what ages they might fit, and try writing some funny poems.

      • Ah, David,
        There is the rub–I’m sure the participants in your workshop are going to have a grand (and amusing) time.
        It does bring to mind the time I took my nephew to the circus. He was on crutches from a recent playground accident and needed cheering up. Everything was going fine, he seemed to enjoy the bare back riders in the sparkling costumes circling the rings and the elephants standing on stools . But when the clowns came out and one slipped on a banana, did a 360 flip into a prat fall, everyone in the audience roared with laughter. Some folks even stood up to cheer the clown’s athleticism. But my nephew was in tears thinking about how the clown could have hurt himself and would need a cast and then wouldn’t be able to work, and his wife and children might starve.

  2. To follow-up what David said, I think it’s one thing to be a funny person – but another thing entirely to be able to write humour. One can have a quick wit, a unique perspective, and a happy, funny outlook on life – but to be able to translate that personality to the printed page is not necessarily easy. I’ve written a number of humourous poems, but I find they are more difficult to write than others…and these days, every funny poem that gets written ends up being compared to Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky, which makes writing in a unique voice that much harder!

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