Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a writing-or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.
This week’s question:
Good for a laugh: Who is your favorite comedian or funny book and/or movie?
To answer this, I need to go waaaaaay back to the 1980s (an entire decade that was good for a laugh), when I first discovered Gordon Korman's books. I remember reading about Bruno and Boots’s shenanigans in This Can’t be Happening at MacDonald Hall: how I laughed myself silly, how amazed I was that Gordon was only twelve years old when he wrote it, and most of all, how much that book made me want to be an author too.
Then there was the afternoon I read I Want to Go Home. I laughed so hard over Rudy Miller’s attempts to escape Camp Algonkian Island, my sister and brother came running into my room demanding to know what on earth was funny enough to practically send me into convulsions. Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny had a similar effect, both in reducing me to giggles and on my early attempts at writing.
Back then, I thought Gordon Korman was hysterical and brilliant, and I still do. All these years later, I get to read his books to my son, and they’re just as funny as they were then, only now I have the added joy of listening to my son’s laughter, which makes it even better.
These days, I don’t read or watch a lot of straight up comedy, but most of my favourite stories, whether on the page or the screen, contain an element of humour. I think humour is a vital ingredient in storytelling. It can help keep a story balanced. It can diffuse tension when necessary, and serve as an important tool in building character. Perhaps most importantly, it says, “This story doesn’t take itself too seriously.” I can recall plenty of times when I was willing to forgive the flaws in a book or show simply because the humour reminded me to suspend my disbelief and have a good time with it. For these reasons, I always try to work at least a bit of humour into what I’m writing.
So what books or movies crack you up? Do you try to work humour into your writing?