Sunday, 27 May 2012

This is not a funny post

Ok, it looks like I'm on apology mode again.

I'm sorry to have to do this. I did it last week, when I never got around to writing that post about procrastination (and obviously, I haven't got around to doing that this week either).

This time, I'm afraid the problem is even more acute. I'm warning you now, this is not a funny post. There are no laughs. Definitely not any chuckles. Not even any slight giggles. Look closely, I promise you - you won't find any.

This seems like a pretty bad thing to do from my angle. After all, humour is my schtick. I'm meant to be going for the giggles and the chuckles and the belly laughs. And everybody tells me that my blog is a big part of some thingumajig called my platform, which I'm meant to be using to help build my brand. So if my brand is meant to be funny stuff, that's exactly what I should be doing right here.

Except I'll tell you the problem - it's hard. Damn hard. Here I am, at the end of a weekend, with a busy week of work ahead, and I'm meant to just sit down at the computer and do funny. Sorry folks - not gonna happen. Believe me, it's not that easy to switch it on. Books is one thing. Every laugh, hell even every slight smile is the result of days and weeks of agonising over the words to use to get it exactly right. On a Sunday night, do you reckon I'm going to be agonising over this post? You gotta be kidding me.

That's the thing with us writers of humour. We're not necessarily the funny ones. We're not the people who would get up on stage and do jokes (and believe me, if I got up on stage, it would not be funny for anyone involved). We're the ones in the background, wrestling with the words. We're the ones who, take our time to work on things. If I was a stand-up and I had to deal with hecklers, you'd have to come back in three months time to hear my brilliant riposte.

And it's funny how people forget that. Years ago, I went to a comedy writer's conference. One of the speakers was the organiser of the Melbourne Comedy Festival (the third biggest in the world if you didn't know). She went on and on about how great the festival was for performers, not realising that the people sitting before her in stony silence were actually not performers at all. Gong!!

So there you have it. Not funny tonight. Apologies for anyone who came here tonight expecting a barrel of mirth. Maybe next week - but then again probably not.

And if you did find yourself laughing while you read this, I take absolutely no responsibility for that. It was clearly someone else's fault.

Have a great week. 


  1. Expectation is a terrible thing. One of the things my wife said about me at the start was that I was always surprising her but one can only keep that up for so long. Attaining something is exciting, getting to know something for the first time but maintaining something is another ballgame completely. Why is humour funny? At its essence it’s because it’s unexpected; when you know the punch line it does take the edge off. Some comedians can get away with it for a while—Frankie Howard is a fine example—but after a while all the oohs and ahs and titter-yea-nots starts to wear a bit thin. Behind closed doors most comedians are, at best quite serious and, at worst, downright depressive. I have a GSOH. It’s a bit dry, a bit cerebral, often (as is common with us Scots) borderline sarcastic but it suits me. It is not me though. Identity is a complex thing. I never thought for a second that you were nothing more than a barrel of laughs; what we commit to paper is only an aspect of us. People were always amazed when they got to know Beckett. Having read his work they struggled to come to terms with the genial man they encountered. All you have to do is read what his friends wrote about him to realise that there was a huge gulf between the bleakness of his writing and the man himself. He got rid of him on the page; that was not Him, merely a part of him. I’ll be honest if there wasn’t more to you than I’ve read in your books I’d be disappointed. Which is why every now and then I, too, open up a little. I wrote a long blog few years back talking about all my mental health problems and one of those every few years is fine; it shows you’re human. To some extent the us we present online is a front and this is a performance and we all accept that there is some fabrication going on which is why I stockpile my articles so that I never have to say what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it; I can wait for a better day. I suggest you do the same. You could write a blog like this one every day—hell, this comment’s longer than your blog—and that way you could keep up appearances. I, personally, wouldn’t be at all disappointed to see behind the mask. I find talk shows where actors, writers and comics stop performing and try—as much as anyone can sitting in a television studio—to be themselves refreshing. Humour is a serious business. I bet you don’t sit there chuckling to yourself as you write your books. I have been known to smile occasionally when rereading something I’ve written but that’s my limit. If readers thing that you need to be a “funny guy” to write funny stuff they might never give it a go. No one has no sense of humour unless they’re missing a chunk of their brains and so everyone can has it within themselves to be funny on paper unless their talent lies in slapstick. I was actually being treated for depression when I wrote my first two novels which anyone will tell you are very funny in parts. I’d love to explain how that happened and why when I’m depressed my sense of humour improves but I can’t. I told my doctor that was the case and he had no answer. So, actually, this wee article was refreshing. Jonathan’s human. Yay!

    1. Hi Jim,

      Expectations are tough. I think sometimes the toughest expectations are those you place on yourself.

  2. I have long held the theory that those authors who stand up in front of the room, keep the audience laughing and wishing they were her best friend so they could just hang out with her are the ones who write the darkest, heaviest books (good, but not funny). Whereas the awkward, shy, serious ones (yes, I am one despite my drama background, but as I told my sister, it's easy to get up in front of people when you're not yourself) are the ones who write with a light touch. Not that I'm calling you awkward, or shy, or serious. Speaking of myself here. Especially the awkward part.

    1. Hi Gabi,

      Awkward and shy? - I have those both on my business card. As for serious - well I try but I never quite seem able to pull it off.

  3. I'm a weirdo from the middle, I write about evil magic, battle and demonic possession one moment and the next a villain's defeated by a dragon accidentally sitting on them. Have tried to write only one way, but it's not happening.

    Applauds for being funny most of time, is tough :)

    PS: Another awkward and shy one here. Fainted on karaoke stage and in school. Nowadays I just feel faint, but stay conscious.

    1. Hey Emilia,

      Being a weirdo seems like a pretty normal thing to me. And you're way ahead of me on the karaoke - I wouldn't even get near the stage in the first place.