Monday, June 26, 2017

The humor writing business

Making people laugh is no laughing matter. Someone should have told me this before I...oh, wait, a lot of people did but, as usual, I never take advice that runs counter to what I want to do, like most other people. Until, of course, not taking the advice sets your...err...fundament on fire and THEN I berate the people around me for not insisting on my taking their advice.

Let me please clarify a bit. Making people laugh without tickling them, I meant. (You mean that should be obvious since no-one has yet developed a e-tickling APP? You really do not know the absolute weirdos that you can come across in Social media. Even God would stoutly refuse to acknowledge them as His creation. Of course I do not mean you!) I had no idea what problems I had invited on my head when I blithely decided to write humor.

You see, the first thing about writing humor is that you have to hit bull's eye every time. I mean, sure you have written a moving tale, and the reader looks sad as he reads it. You automatically assume that your writing has moved him to sadness when, possibly, he is only sad because he has been forced to read it. No such chance of getting good vibes with written humor, though. I mean, come on, a guy pulls a long face as he reads it and you can think he is laughing his ass out? It requires more imagination than I possess. With other genres, ‘somewhat tragic’ and ‘somewhat thrilling’ works as a compliment. Somewhat funny? THAT’s a kiss of death. You, what, sort of say “Ha” and stop trying to laugh?

On top of it, you yourself can find almost nothing funny when you read it after you wrote it. Like, say, when is the last time you laughed when you remembered the entire joke as soon as someone started telling it? Except politely, of course, as can happen when it is your boss telling the same joke that he pulls out every time in a party, ever since he joined office in the days of Aurangzeb. It is the unexpectedness of the punch-line in a joke and the descriptions in dry humor that makes it funny. AND for it to BE unexpected to the guy who wrote it, the guy has to suffer from the Ghajini-style memory loss, which unfortunately is not one of my mental afflictions. So, there you write it laughing all the while, read it dead-pan and put it out wondering whether it is really funny or not...

To face up to no reactions. You sort of feel that, maybe, people read and enjoy it but do not always think to write and let you know that they did. But, you know, THAT seems like the same sort of thing you used to tell yourself when you were infatuated with the class beauty. Just because she was smiling when her eyes encountered your face (in stunned, disbelieving and nauseated surprise? Not really. I, of course, refused to see all that!), you delude yourself into thinking that she loves you madly and devotedly...till the day she crosses the road to avoid you and spits at the sight of your face. So, yes, having made a habit of deluding yourself...

Then you put out a humor novella. People known and unknown buy and praise it...but all too few it seems to you. You salve yourself thinking that people just like things for free and do not like paying...and there is this nagging feeling inside that says that, even if people do read you, they read you only because it is for free but do not think that it is worth paying for. So, what is the worth of your writing after all?

But, then, yes you have been listed in the Top 5 humor blogs in India by Blogadda. Perhaps there ARE a few who do laugh when they read your posts. THEN you find that Baggout has listed your blog in their Top 13 humor blogs. It gives you a lot more pleasure, because you had not even been aware that they were into any such exercise and that your blog came to be considered not because of any action of your own...except writing it, of course.

And then when, equally as surprisingly and without effort on your part, your blog gets listed in the Top 100 funny blogs and websites in the No.55 in a list that includes staffed websites and You-tube channels...

There MUST be something right about your writing after all!


  1. "You, what, sort of say “Ha” and stop trying to laugh?"

    Lmao! Not me, good sir, and definitely not on this post. Congratulations on the achievement. It was well deserved. :)

  2. Great going Suresh ! Congrats ! I enjoyed reading your book and put up my reviews both in Amazon and Goodreads.