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How can I write jokes?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, May 20, 2018.

  1. Jokes make your story as fluffy as a fresh chocolate cake. I mean, you don’t take the situation seriously if someone cracks a joke. But not everyone understands every joke. Or do you believe a kid laughs if I tell him a dark humor joke? So, how can I write a joke and which topics are ok for which age range? You know. Kids, pre-teens, teens, adults, etc.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Write a joke your characters will like. Trying to write a joke that everyone will get, let alone like, is impossible.
    As for topics. I'd say nothing is out of bounds for any age range if it is a really good joke and works in the scene.
     
  3. CupofJoeCupofJoe Kids don’t check a dark humor jokes; not everyone like this style of humor. But my humor is dark. So, big problem!
     
  4. I am not certain I understand the dilemma. Cam you give us an example of what you mean.
     
  5. Garren JacobsenGarren Jacobsen Some readers like childish jokes, e.g. the banana skin joke, some other like jokes with a higher level.
     
  6. Right, I get that. But what’s the problem can you give us a specific joke that you want use?
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Well, that example wasn't dark, it was satirical.

    I'm wondering in what scenario the appropriate audience for dark writing is children.
     
  8. These examples aren’t helping. Are you writing a book for kids and do You intend on using dark humor. And do you have examples of the joke you will use in the work?
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    If you're worried about jokes you have not yet written, then I don't know how to help.

    I can say that kids, even quite young kids, can be surprisingly morbid. My seven-year-old grandson loves Calvin and Hobbes, for example. Look at the popularity of Roald Dahl, for another example.

    But, really, write first. Then worry.

    FWIW, I didn't find that list picture dark at all. I thought it was funny without being dark. OTOH, this is dark as well as funny.
    upload_2018-5-20_13-42-30.png
     
  10. New Adult isn't a "kid" genre. It's 18-25. All bets are off.
     
  11. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I think that unless you’re specifically writing a comedy I’m not sure going out of your way to tell jokes is the right thing to do (unless of course you’re a particularly funny and witty individual, but you wouldn’t be asking if that was the case [no offense])

    I would also suggest situational comedy rather than one-liners. It might just be me, but funny dialogue is heavily reliant on delivery, and that’s not something easily achieved on paper. But putting yout characters in hilarious situations and then, through their actions, makes the situations even more hilarious, it can provide a lot of laughs.
     
  12. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    For me, humour arises from your POV character. If they're a kid, then the humour from them will probably be kid like. If the character is a dark, brooding jerk, then, well, their humour may be dark.

    IMHO you don't necessarily write jokes for a story. The funny stuff happens because of your characters deeds and their reactions to a situation. And a lot of that depends on the type of story you're telling and who are you telling it for.

    IMHO, there are no boundaries, because everything can be offensive to someone. The only rule to humor is be funny. There are no hard, fast rules. It's all about your own judgement and your willingness to live with the consequences. One person's F-bomb is another person's golly-gee.

    If you want to learn about comedy, watch comics. YouTube some prominent comics. A lot will be foul mouthed. Others may be squeaky clean. Unfortunately one of the best clean comedians, Bill Cosby, is a sewer rat in real life.
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Go to YouTube, but turn off the video. As a writer, you want to listen to the words. Live comedy is a poor model, imo, because it depends heavily on timing and on facial expressions, two tools unavailable to the writer.
     
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    So, as someone else said, since you're writing for New Adult, the kid issue isn't an issue. Which I think brings us back to how to write a joke--not worrying about age appropriateness. Probably the best place to ask that would be in comedy forums, where there are experts in that sort of thing. In a fantasy forum we tend to specialize in things like world-building. For myself, I doubt I could write an actual joke. I can use humor, but it's deeply rooted in character and situation. Jokes are only one kind of humor.
     
  15. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I'd say most if not all comedy depends on timing. In text you have to know where in the text to slip something in. You have to set up context to maximize impact. And in terms of facial expressions, good comedy does not depend on them heavily, IMHO. The visuals accentuate things, but the joke is still funny regardless. But again, this is something that can be done in text to some extent, through describing a character's actions and reactions.

    Conveying humor, to me, is like the inside joke, the joke where you say, "You had to be there," to others when they don't get it. The job of the writer is to set up context for the audience, so they were there, so they do get it.
     
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