There’s an old saying that says “life is stranger than fiction” and this holds true with humor too.
I think we’ve all been in a ridiculous situation that when we relay it to friends it sounds like we’re embellishing it just to get a laugh. But some stuff you just can’t make up. <g> Or can you?
I like to read humor and in all of my books, you’ll find funny situations that actually could happen.
I love when an author takes a perfectly sane character and throws them into a hilarious situation that while uncommon is totally believable. Some call this situational comedy.
Okay, this really happened. But it’s funny and it could happen to anyone . . . maybe. It’s a situation that took two normally sane people, me and writer friend Dee Speers and turned us into Ethel and Lucy. It’s too bad I write historical because it truly needs to be in a book.
Dee and I were attending a Romantic Times conference in Fort Worth. She lived in Phoenix at the time and had come to stay at my house out on the lake.
We jumped into my beautiful pearlized white Infinity and drove into town, styling long evening dresses for an awards dinner. We were driving and gabbing when we heard a tin-sounding pop!
Me: “Oh my God, what did I just run over.”
Dee: “I think I saw some kind of can roll out of that truck service lot over there.”
Me: “I wonder if it hurt my tires?”
Dee: “Better pull over.”
We pulled over into the truck service lot, hoisted our dresses and got out.
Dee looked at the passenger side of the car: “Oh my god!”
I rushed around the car to find black paint speckling the side of my pretty white car. My first thought. Tony [my husband] is going to kill me!
Me: “Oh, my god, we have to get it off before it dries.”
We’re both standing there with no way to do this. And yeah, we didn’t want to get dirty.
Two mechanics from the truck place came running with rags soaked in paint thinner.”We saw the whole thing! We’ll help.” [They were probably the buggers who threw down the spray paint can in the first place.]
They handed Dee and I extra rags. Looking like frantic Cinderellas, we hurried to scrub the paint off my car. The whole time, I’m praying the thinner won’t remove the white pearl paint too!
Finally all the black paint came off, but the mechanics advised us to get to a car wash fast and remove the thinner. Eau de paint thinner filled the car as we jumped back into the car. Thank God, there was a handy-dandy self-service car wash across the street.
At the car wash, Dee took the front of the car; I took the back. We each held our long dresses with one hand to keep them from getting soaked. In our other hand we brandish long metal pipes spurting soap and water onto the car.
Dee tried to brush hair off her face with the back of the hand that was holding her gown. That’s when the hilarity of the situation hit us. We both glanced up at each other over the top of the car and burst out laughing.
Ethel and Lucy to be sure, washing a car in evening gowns!
Then we jumped back into the car and hauled our behinds to the RT award dinner. I made Dee swear to never tell Tony, because he’d inspect that car until he found what he was sure was a speck of black paint.
We arrived at the dinner, a bit worse for wear and people asked where we’d been. We looked at each other and started laughing again. When we told everyone what happened we were dubbed Thelma and Louise because everyone knew that when the two of us got together, trouble found us. And as the evening proceeded, we proved them right all over again. That’s another story for another time.
Some types of humor happen when characters have personal quirks that make them a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not talking about the slapstick, clownish humor.
Here’s an example:
Remember the old TV series called Monk? Monk is a policeman who got fired after his wife died because he became phobic and paranoid. Throughout the series he sees a psychiatrist in an effort to cure himself.
On the surface we feel pity for Monk. But because of his quirks, very normal situations were turned into a hilarious nightmare for him. Funnier yet, he pulls everyone around him into his world of torment when they try to help or cover up for him. Voila! Otherwise common situations became bizarre and humorous.
The very worst kind of humor is forced humor because it’s not funny. It might be comical but it’s always kind of stupid and serves no purpose. Worse, it’s not believable. It’s okay to watch a couple clowns perform on stage but in a book, it comes off as a farce.
Everyone likes different kinds of humor. Here’s a couple links that lists types and styles of humor.
What types of humor are your favorites?