Let’s try a little experiment

In my last post I gave tips on writing comedy, gathered from resources I’d found and felt worthy of sharing. Armed with these tools I began to experiment. I’ve hit a few snags. Mainly my reluctance to plan, because comedy, it seems, is a genre which requires careful planning.

The next problem relates to finding a suitable sounding board, and then I thought of you –  my audience. What better way to gauge what works and what doesn’t than seeking the advice of my WordPress family.

So, I would welcome advice and feedback on what I’ve got so far. I must warn you, I’ve fallen into some of the usual traps, but I’m confident I can turn it around with your help!

The Sequel

“It’s me. Again. If you’re trying to make me paranoid it’s working, because now I’m convinced you’re ignoring me. I’m tired of talking to this machine, Mikey, the Schwarzenegger impersonation can only go so far. Right now I want to hasta la vista your ass, and the fact you’re forcing me to make such a terrible joke just pisses me off. I’m not kidding. You might be the funniest thing since sliced bread right now, but I’m far from amused. Pick up the god damn phone and CALL ME BACK.”

The machine stuttered a little before it succumbed to the silence. It was probably age, either that or a deep-seated loathing for people who hung up in the midst of a temper tantrum.

“That didn’t even make sense,” I muttered to the machine, my new-found friend and fielder to the world, or at least my agent. “What’s so funny about sliced bread?”

“Exactly,” I said to the ensuing silence.

Unhealthy perhaps, but then I was living like a poor man’s Howard Hughes. I’d spent days, or maybe it was weeks, barricaded in my office. My only goal – to write a sentence that would evoke more than an uncomfortable grimace. I was going to be funny if it killed me. At this rate it probably would.

My desk was brimming with plastic cups, each loaded with the balled up remnants of my latest manuscript – a writer’s version of beer pong, only there was no alcohol and I definitely had no balls.

I’d gained my fame under false pretences. I was a one hit wonder. A fake. The critically acclaimed comedy was a sham of epic proportions. A happy accident. Basically, I was buggered.

Now I was expected to write the sequel, and I could feel the literary sharks circling, hungry for my blood. I tried to picture the headline, but that only made me want to bang my head against the desk because nothing came to mind. Still, it would be funny, as long as somebody else wrote it.

It would detail all the ways I’d failed; the comedy fell short, the gags were old, laughs cheap. And the saddest thing of all – it was all true. My current attempt was so forced it bordered on excruciatingly and it was about as funny as a punch to the face.

The keyboard had become my enemy, my pen an instrument of failure. My eyes were burning and my stomach was rumbling from a lack of nutrition coupled with the humiliation of succumbing to coulrophobia. Only clowns weren’t the real enemy. That was all on me.

This time I did bang my head against the desk, and when I was through, I kept my head down. Perhaps sleep would help, I thought desperately. Who could be funny when they were suffering from sleep deprivation? I didn’t really want to answer that and so I succumbed to the land of dreams.

By the time the machine kicked in again, I was floating on a wave of happy.

“I’m coming over, and if you don’t have anything ready for me I’ll kick you from there to Timbuktu…”

“Who even says that anymore?” I wondered, and what made her think she could follow through on the threat. She was five foot nothing with the grace of a dancer, though granted she had a serpents tongue… “Holy shit,” I muttered reaching for the phone. Why didn’t I think of it before?

****

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Mel

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6 thoughts on “Let’s try a little experiment

  1. I like the Schwarzenegger line; I think cultural references are always good, especially ones that everyone can immediately recognise 🙂

    I think it’s good when the character answers their own question aloud as well; we can all relate to talking to ourselves when we’re frustrated, and recognising familiar traits in characters always brings a smile I find 🙂

    1. Thanks, Callum. I agree with your observations. This was a difficult task, but one that I learnt from. I was going to edit so he talks over a longer answer message – a kind of backwards and forwards. But mainly it feels a little forced because I followed the suggested theme instead of taking it in another direction.

      I have less enthusiasm for it today, so maybe I’ll come back to it in a day or two. I really appreciate the fact you took the time to comment. Many thanks 🙂

      1. You’re very welcome. Sometimes distance from a piece of work can be the best thing as a fresh mind is a massive help; I’d imagine even more so with comedy, where everything has to be so sharp. 🙂

      2. Yes indeed. When I’m in a better frame of mind I’ll go over it again! If I touched it today, it might turn into something a lot darker 🙂 Though dark comedy can be enjoyable in the right circumstances.

        Maybe I should go hit something (the punching bag at the gym) and release some of those endorphins!

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