“Everyone is funny. Trust me.”
Against my better judgment, I actually do trust Jordan Cooper. I was lucky enough to meet him at BlogWorld 2010 and was stoked to see him on the speaker list for our inaugural BlogWorld New York. His session on how to write funny blog post was one of the first at the conference; here are the main points he covered:
- You don’t have to be hilarious to be a funny blogger. People expect stand-ups to be funny, so they have to be REALLY good. If no one expects you to be funny, it’s just an added little bonus if there’s a little humor.
- Humor works so well online because sharing a joke is as rewarding as coming up with the joke yourself. Think about what you share online – I bet many of the links are humor-based.
- There are two parts to a joke: surprise and context. You want to catch your readers off guard with the punch line, but they have to have working knowledge of the subject matter or they won’t understand why it’s funny.
- Start by brainstorming all the things that are stereotypically part of your topic. Then spiral out from there – what else is related to those topics? How can you make a comparison?
- “No matter what you do someone will be offended. If no one’s offended, it’s not funny.” (best quote of the sessions, in my opinion)
- Every joke has a target (the person or thing you’re making fun of). Don’t make the target a sympathetic character or you’ll look like a jerk. The person has to be “above” the audience.
- If you want to make a joke about the audience, make it self-deprecating. You’re the one who is the fish out of water, who doesn’t understand.
- You only have to be a 20% comedian to be successful. There will be lots of people out there who don’t like you, but the 20% of people who do will be crazy fans, buying anything you do and promoting any post you write. If 100% of the people like you, you’re too generic – they won’t hate you, but they won’t like you enough to pass on your stuff or buy something from you.
I realize that a post about a session I took on humor should probably be funny. Better luck next time, I guess. (I’m pretty sure this has more to do with the student than the teacher, by the way. Man, I suck as a testimonial.)