Making people laugh is the best business. Everyone WANTS to laugh, but we all have a different sense of humor. I tend to have a love of the darker stuff. Jokes that make a lot of people uncomfortable or anger them because you can’t make fun of death or illness. To me humor is the best way to address everything, especially the subjects that are least acceptable.
But when writing humor, an author has to be true to their characters AND their audience. When writing straight lit, or modern tales I allow the story to shape itself. If I have an outline it is usually very vague and open to change. My characters are almost always fully developed in my head. I spend days, weeks, months thinking about who they are, where they came from, and how they would react to everything. I carry their spirits with me until they are fully imagined entities that feel as real as anyone worth writing about.
My audience usually has very little to do with my creative process. I do not wish to sit around worrying about how one of my pieces will be received. That is suicide.
Maybe this is why comedians are often bi-polar. In comedy, one must not only consider their audience, but play to them. It is the most difficult genre to write.
How does one measure the success of a comedy? In laughs of course. So the more laughs you get, the better the work. This is not a quality over quantity factor here. Sometimes I wish it were, but no. Humor is different.
When I’m writing an outlandish scene, I imagine it like a sit-com. Will the laugh-track roll or not? If it makes me laugh, that’s usually a start, but I also question how my sister, my mother, my daughters, and friends will take it. My daughters are young right now, so I generally imagine them in later years.
This is not a sound test. The best way to get feedback is to, of course, share your work. But it’s the first step. Looking for laughs slows a writer down, but comedy can’t be rushed. It must be precisely pulled off.
Keeping others in mind when laugh hunting is the only way to power through. Once it’s completed, then you let everyone tear it apart and rework everything until it’s actually funny. Most writing endeavors are purely selfish, this is why everyone in the industry always says “write for yourself.” But you can’t do that in comedy. No one wants to laugh alone in a corner while they write. Laughter was meant to be shared.
I can’t wait to finish this story and share it with all of you in the hopes that we can laugh together.