Entries in New Yorker (1)
Humor is the political dissident in the gulag of traditional publishing. Publishers, not to mention publications, don't appreciate humor. And if they do, they like the kind of humor that isn't funny. You know what I'm talking about -- those shit cartoons in the New Yorker that just ache for an approving chorus of "How droll!"
Humorism (akin to racism and sexism) is actually pretty ubiquitous in the creative world. Funny movies don't win Oscars, do they? When a "comedy" wins an Oscar, it's a movie like M*A*S*H*. Which sucks. It's never for a movie like Airplane!
Musical acts with a sense of humor end up as sideshows. Does anyone out there realize how gifted Weird Al actually is? Or Spike Jones? Or Kinky Friedman?
We cherish humor in our friends and lovers. We use humor to salve the wounds of daily life. Yet most writers shy away from funny. Now, some people just aren't funny, and that's fine. But I'm often stunned how many people I know who are funny in real life, only to be dry as chardonnay when they write.
Fuck that shit. Be funny. If it's part of your personality to be funny or clever or snarky, embrace it. One of the greatest compliments paid me about my writing came from my friend Rob Guthrie, Denver-based author of a really kickin' thriller, Black Beast. Rob read my short fiction collection Short Stack and dropped me a line to say that he actually laughed out loud -- from his belly -- over my description of a guy failing to be a hero during a liquor store robbery.
I'm not funny to everybody, of course. Some people don't like snide. But I'm from New Jersey. And I'm Irish/Italian. And I was raised Catholic. A sardonic sense of humor comes with the Welcome Home package when you're born. If you don't have a sense of humor when you come from a background like mine, you end up smuggling animal porn then finding yourself surprised to be on Cops.
Humor is strength. The Establishment turns its nose up at humor is because of humor's raw and limitless power. Humor levels governments. Humor heals tragedy. Humor is courage. Once asked why he made such light of Adolph Hitler, Mel Brooks said it was because humor robs him of his dignity. And that from a man who lost half his family to the Nazis.
Humor is a superpower, folks. Embrace it. The Establishment can suck it.