Monday, August 03, 2009

How To Write A Funny Blog Part 1 PERSONA

Can anyone be a funny blogger?
Can anyone be a humorous blogger?
Can anyone be a boring blogging?


Funny can't really be taught, no matter what anyone tells you. It's like hair color, you're born with it. Humorous can be taught and if you're boring, well, I'm sorry about that. Take up golf. Although you probably already have.

Even though you can't teach someone to be funny, you can teach them to be more humorous and maybe one day they'll slide into the funny.

The first thing you need to have as a funny writer is a persona. It's literally translated as "mask" and is used in writing as well as acting. Woody Allen is a good example of this, as is Cher. You can tell who has a definitive persona by who gets imitated on Saturday Night Live.

The reason persona is so important in comedy writing is that it's an identifiable trait or traits that separates you from all the millions of bloggers (25 million at last count). It's your voice and people become addicted to hearing that voice. In standup, finding a persona is a royal flush. Some comedians never find one and sink like a stone because they sound like every other comic. The same happens in writing. Your goal is NOT to sound like everyone else.

The hardest part of the persona is isolating it. So here's how you can attempt to find yours:

1. Write 5 things about who you think you are
2. Deconstruct that list to its basest level


Goody 2 Shoes

1. married
2. excellent cook
3. has children
4. volunteers all over town
5. secretly depressed

Goody 2 Shoes Deconstructed

1. Wishes they had sex more regularly
2. likes to flambe everything
3. wishes her children weren't smarter than her
4. is sick of volunteering but can't say No
5. wants to scream at everyone but is too depressed to do so


The deconstructed version is what will get you the laughs. And because the funniest word in the sentence always goes last: 'My goldfish swim really fast when I stand there with my blowtorch.'Blowtorch is a word we don't expect at the end of that sentence.

One of my pet peeves in the blog world is that people title their posts with their punchline. In the above example, don't write HOW I KILLED MY GOLDFISH as the title. There is then no reason at all to read your post since I know the outcome.

Tomorrow, the difference between humor and funny.


  1. Wise words.

    I often agonise over the title of a blog post (I know, you wouldn't think it reading them), cos I don't want to give away too much whilst making it relevant.

    Other advice is to write whilst wearing enormous shoes and having pencils stuck up your nostrils, as this means you are demonstrably funny.

    Let the laughter ensue.

  2. For a long time, just to cope with the world, I had a persona. The me I was in public wasn't the me I was at home. Too much work to maintain full time, though - now, I can't be bothered. Lucky world.

    I wish more people would find their own voice and write with it rather than trying to copy what worked for someone else. Oh,, please don't read any of my early blog posts...I don't look good in snark.

    If you stop blogging, I'll cry. You wouldn't want that on your conscience, would you??

    Oh, wait...I need some goldfish toasted...umm...when are you going to quit blogging??

    SHade and Sweetwater,
    K (who really does adore you)(but she's nuttier than a Claxton fruitcake, so I wouldn't put much bank on that)

  3. I always thought a blog post title had to have a hook. You know, to reel 'em in. When people see the title in their reader, they say to themselves, "I'm checkin' that out." A hook so good that as people scroll through their reader they see and and say to themselves "I'm reading this one first, or I'm saving this, this best for last".

    Maybe I just haven't had my coffee yet.

  4. dang so I should not have titled my post today The Yucka blooms..gave it all away..crap! Perhaps it should have been prickly blossoms ;-) Thank you for your guidance I might be helped after all!

  5. So, when do you stop blogging?

    Well Jesus, woman, anything to get you to come to my town...

    Which btw is Bangkok for another 2 at the airport. Then it's Australia. Rattle your dags, love... and a fiver for you if you can figure out what THAT means....xoxox

  6. blowtorch?

    heh. That IS funny.

  7. David Barry talked about this - only he called it the difference between "amusing" and "funny." There is a lot of amusing writing on the web, but funny would be in a class by itself.

    lolcats isn't a persona? Who knew?

  8. I totally get that. Not that I can do it, but I have a great appreciation for the organization of thoughts and language to create a surprise. And one step further, a surprise people can relate to.

    A persona is a huge deal, but it takes a lot of guts. You really have to be willing to see yourself for who you are. I'm still working on that. The persona of "I don't know who I really am" probably won't get too many laughs.

    I like these posts. Keep em coming. It makes me think and I dig that.

  9. Excellent! Persona is difficult at best, and I think is necessary whether or not you intend to be Mr./Miss Funny. It's about focus, I think, which I lack completely. Gotta make that list and, gulp, use it.

    Thanks for the tips.

  10. Good stuff, Suzy! And you're not charging us for this, why? Oops! I mean, you're not charging us for this why blowtorch?

  11. As usual, pure genius. You could be the world's funniest teacher though I suspect you'd torture a few students with your...not going to say it, you're expecting it...metal spork.

  12. Ack! I think you just deconstructed KathyB! Give me warning before you strip me bare next time.

    But what if you aren't funny and you aren't humorous, and you are just re-counting what happens? I'm not funny, but stupid stuff happens to me. A lot. How should that person approach the writing?

  13. Suz, I don't try to be funny. I detest when people "try" to be funny and they fail. I get embarrassed for them then I usually do something or say something stupid hoping it will take the heat off of them you know I take the heat from the blowtorch.

  14. You're brilliant!

    I'll never be funny, but I do make people laugh. Usually it's *at* me, but at least they're laughing. :o)

  15. Thanks for clarifying. I may be humorous, but I'm not funny. Oh well, you do it well enough for the both of us.

  16. I don't want to have more sex, I wish my kids were asleep most of the time,I wish my patients were all sedated and my neighbors remind me of the characters in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
    Wife, mother, nurse and Vermont resident.
    Oh, I forgot, Orphan,so I'll probably try to kill everyone I know.

  17. Interesting. I never thought about any of this. I always just make a post and just hit publish. I'll have to start paying attention.

    Do you have a goldfish btw?

  18. That post made me think...I don't put enough thought into my posts! No way am I ever standing out from 22 million! Yikes. Thank God that wasn't the goal.

  19. -->The most read blog article on my site is titled "Going on a Journey Topless" which is about three girlfriends and I riding in a mini convertible to a Journey concert (..with a blowtorch.)

  20. Sincerely thank you for the title advice. I never know what to title my posts and at the end just randomly throw words up there.

    They're not even good words.

  21. I am so late, but that's because I was busy being not funny to the people around me.

    I feel like I should send you money for this advice, but I'm broke. Instead could I send a 13 year old boy? Minus the blowtorch.