You Think That’s Funny?

Many years ago, in a land far away (Israel), a friend told me: “You managed to develop a sense of humor no one but you understands.” At the time, I felt quite proud of this, as I believed my sense of humor manifested my much superior intelligence and abilities. The world was just not good enough to understand my sense of humor. Now, however, it occurs to me that what he said could be taken as less than a compliment. Had he implied that I have no sense of humor?

This is a frightening thought. Could it be true? Could I, in fact, be lacking in this important mental power? Am I innately unfunny? Can I still be taught?

This morning I found Ashley Clark’s blog post on how to make readers giggle. I took a look at her four-point advice, hoping that perhaps she could help me soar beyond elephant jokes and into full-potential giggly fun.

Not surprisingly, I found Clark’s tips funny and promising. She starts with “the more specific you are, the funnier something becomes.” I won’t quote the full example she gives, but it’s funny! I also won’t quote just a part of it, because, you know, it’s the specifics that make it so much fun. However, here’s a really good detail elephant joke. Q: What’s grey, yellow, grey, yellow, grey, yellow, grey, yellow, grey, yellow, grey, yellow? A: An elephant rolling down a hill with a daisy in its mouth!

“Establish an expectation for the reader, and then surprise them.” I can think of a good example to this in my Anna Mara novel, but it would be a spoiler, so I can’t tell you that. But here’s a perfect expectation-and-surprise elephant joke. Q: How do you fit five elephants into a VW Bug? A: Two in front and three in the back.

Clark’s third point frightened me: “your quirks make excellent fodder for your characters.” Believe me, all my flaws are distinctly not funny, because they all have to do with being really afraid that people will laugh at me. They tend to be extremely unamusing. At least for me. To distract you, however, from finding my flaws, here’s a fabulously funny elephant joke. Q: What do you call two elephants on a bicycle? A: Optimistic!

“When in doubt, use a kid, a grandmother, or an animal.” And there you have it! We are back to the elephant jokes. Q: Why did the Elephant stand on the marshmallow? A: So she wouldn’t fall in the hot chocolate.

In conclusion, and in case you would like to read more elephant jokes, here is where I found mine. Maybe one day, by chance, when I’m not trying so hard, something funny will find its way out. For now I think I’ll stick to elephants. And that joke about the two Frenchmen who find the poopoo in the street. But that’s for another time.

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109