Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two cannibals are having lunch...

Hello, gentle readers.
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t try writing comedy. They tell me that I’m a funny guy. I smile and thank them for the compliment, but demure from pursuing a career as a comedy writer.
Because I’m no good at it.
Although I think I have a certain comedic charm in person, it doesn’t really translate to the page. I can tell a funny story, face to face, but it doesn’t translate well to the written word.
I think it’s because, in person, I’m a funny looking guy.
Now, before everyone leaps to my defense with cries of, "Oh no! You’re not funny looking at all! You’re quite handsome!" Just let me say that I am very much aware of how I look and I’m quite happy with the way I look.
Gentle readers, for those of you who are ignorant of my appearance, you should know that I’m a bad case of jaundice away from looking like Homer Simpson. I’m one of those big, bald guys you see walking around the supermarket in khaki shorts, an oversized T-shirt and sandals.
Some of you may have been picturing me as a slender, perhaps slightly effete, gentleman of words, wearing a velvet smoking jacket and possibly a cravat. My apologies for shattering that image, but if it helps, you may picture me in an ice-cream white suit, holding a large snifter of brandy and dictating these blog entries to a devoted personal secretary named Fitz.
In person, I can be very entertaining. My face is animated and, when I speak, I used my hands to illustrate my points. No, I do not do "jazz hands" a la Jack McFarland. Rather, I gesticulate when I talk. It is unconscious, like the way I’ll make faces or mimic someone’s accent.
In person, ladies and gentlemen, I put on a show.
Alas, on the page, my comedic styling false flat.
Take for instance, the following joke:

Two cannibals are having lunch in the jungle. One cannibal looks at the other and asks, "Does this clown taste funny to you?"

Short, simple and to the point. Also, I think, pretty funny.
Of course, if I were to write a story around that joke, it would be neither short, simple nor to the point. Like the virginal schoolgirl going to her senior prom, she doesn’t intend for anything untoward to happen, but at sunrise the next day she’s facing her parents at the local police station trying to explain exactly how that donkey got into the Mini-Mart and why her boyfriend was naked when the police arrived.
Like that young lady, I start out with the best of intentions, but things tend to go astray. A story that should have taken two or three pages, is suddenly an 800-page comedic epic with running gun battles, bad puns and an ending that remains just out of reach.
It would be the sort of story, ladies and gentlemen, that would have the reader throwing themselves out the window by the third chapter just to get away from it.
So, no, I do not write comedy. I do not write it because I am aware of just how bad at it I am and, also, to spare the lives of my readers.
Lord knows I don’t have enough of you to waste.

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