How to write Comedy: Even if you’re not Funny

Comedy Writing

By Lewis Cave

So, you want to get started writing comedy. It’s possible, it doesn’t matter if you are currently funny or not. I know because I am not funny in person when I have not had time to prepare. Nevertheless, my funny stories get a lot of good feedback. Here are a few comments from readers:

From: Has it gone to Far

  • Ha, ha! Very funny and I have learnt a new word!
  • SNORT! I must say, I certainly didn’t see that punchline coming! Well done.

From: A Journey to Die for

  • Hilarious twist; well done!

At some point a few years ago, I decided I should introduce humor into my writing and to be frank, into my life. I read books about comedy writing, most of what I found was about joke writing and writing for comedians. That is not exactly what I was looking for but I found a lot of useful material there. Looking back, I noticed there are a few steps I took to begin making improvements.

I laid out my approach in four steps below, I don’t think they are comedy writing secrets but I know you will be better at writing humor when you know them.

  1. Start a list. In fact start several lists. I take out a few sheets of paper and start topic based lists on each. There is no reason for me to give you more details now when you could watch a video from the master. The video below is the best explanation I have seen.
  1. Learn that there are triggers built into the human brain that create the laugh response. If you are not naturally funny, this is very important. I went through many books about how to write comedy before I came to a point where I believed this. You can shortcut the pile of books with this one: “Breaking Comedy’s DNA” it’s worth it’s weight in gold.
  1. Now use the technique in step 1 to tease out a few jokes. Nothing has to be perfect at this point; you just have to get the ideas out. When I am writing comedy stories, something that is not for a speech or a standup bit, I use the lists to come up with a funny theme or idea and I put the jokes on the back burner.
  1. Use your theme to write a quick outline or write the end or your story based on your jokes. Usually, I work the punch line in at the end if I use any of the jokes I wrote in step 3. I rarely start with the beginning when I’m writing humor. If I know the end, I can manipulate the beginning and get something that will keep the reader wandering.

The real trick in building the story is creating characters that fit with your joke of jokes. Of course, if you are writing humor into your blog or website then it never hurts to include a photo to support your punch line. (Click on the Cat to read the story)

Comedy Writing

I used this photo with “The Morning After”

This is how to write humor, or at least how I write humor. At this point the hard work is done, once you have an outline or a solid ending you can easily write a story.

I could write a book on each of these four steps but I don’t have to. Jerry Corley already did. I read over fifteen books trying to get better at comedy and finally I found Mr. Corley’s “Breaking Comedy’s DNA” where all of this is explained and much more.

I hope this helped! Feel free to stick around for a laugh, check out my short funny stories here, or see what’s new at my blog.


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