On writing the funny little frog

E.B. White once wrote that analyzing humour is like dissecting a frog: it’s gross and it smells like formaldehyde and you just know someone’s going to vomit. Classic E.B. White…

While not everyone will agree with that statement, I think we can all agree that Biology class was boring, except for that day the cow eyeball exploded all over Mr. Kelpepper. Classic Biology class…

In addition to not getting distracted, a key to writing humour is inventing an idea and then twisting it, pushing it to extremes or forcing it into an incongruous setting. “Twisting,” “pushing,” “forcing”: classic gym class…

In preparing my biweekly CBC piece, Valentine’s Day had me thinking about how we celebrate  love, which is a highly irrational emotion. The things we do for love, right? Like walking through the rain and the snow when there’s nowhere to go and you’re feelin’ like a part of you is dying and you’re looking for the answers in her eyes. That and cutting off your ear.

But what if we had a day that celebrated rational thought? Say, Aristotle Day, when we wouldn’t give loved ones chocolate, we would take it away from them because, seriously, all that  sugar…

As I attempted to write the piece, though, the frog died. The scenario was interesting but three-and-a-half minutes interesting? Not really. Besides, Valentine’s Day would be long over by the time this aired, and topical subjects are important to humour. Topical creams are important to rashes from formaldehyde, but let’s move on.

The Olympics, on the other hand, are ongoing, and sports, like love and Mr. Kelpepper, can also be highly irrational. So what if you introduced rational thinking as an Olympic sport. And instead of a straight essay, a phony broadcast. It takes the one idea — a celebration of rational thinking — and jams it into an unexpected context.

I’ll let you judge the end result below. (Grooveshark widget; non-mobile device required or head to CBC.) From a writing perspective, this new scenario allowed greater possibilities for creativity and humour. A tiny portion of the stillborn Valentine’s Day piece survived. See if you can spot it.

Vivre la grenouille comique!

P.S. After writing this, my producer reminded me that Monty Python had a similar bit about novel writing, which raises another humour writing tip: steal like hell.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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8 Responses to On writing the funny little frog

  1. Ned's Blog says:

    I’ve watched this video several times now and still can’t figure out which one is you. Can you give me a hint? I freeze-framed the girl, but she didn’t have a beard either.

  2. Earworm! Thanks a lot. Actually 10cc is a pleasant enough band to get stuck in my head, although they got much better songs than that one. Could be much worse, I suppose.

  3. Pingback: Tour this: #mywritingprocess | Drinking Tips for Teens

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