OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Writing Lab: Humor Writing

BlogHer Original Post

Humor Writing:
Awesomely Luvvie
Lizz Winstead
Jessica Bern

What makes you funny?

LW: That is for others to decide. What inspires me is political, social and women oriented satire. I like to keep ridiculing on those who have power and use it for evil. Essentially, shitting on white guys who are assholes.

JB: what makes me funny is I’m an idiot and have no filter between my brain and mouth. Also the fact that I was married to an asshole.

Luvvie: I like to write about celebrities and their foolishness. I ask the question or make the comments which
everyone is thinking but will not ask or say. Essentailly my bluntness.

LW: should be able to say what you like to whoever you like and realize there is a consequence. There is a fine line between snark and satire. Easy to go down the snark road.

JB: When you’re making fun of someone, ask yourself if someone in Egypt read this would they find it funny? Ofcourse the people you’re mocking won’t find you funny , you just mocked them!!! People do have a quasi expectation of privacy. Also remember there is no eraser on the internet. If you’re going to mock friends or those clost to you, call them and ask them if you can mock them…most of the time it’ll be yes.

LW: Or just date someone for a week and use that to shit about your ex-husband. Your ex will never know and you get to tell a funny story.

Luvvie: my family reads my blog. I do not write content that I can’t show to my grandmother.

Question: Using that how do you adjust your content depending on who’s reading it?

LW: I am writing for myself or an audience who shares the way I am living or enjoys the way I’m living. I am a fully formed sexual being who loves and believes in everything I write. People will judge you regardless, so n the end it’s about the truth. The only thing you have control over is the honesty in your writing and not how it is perceived by others.

JB: Remember the worst publicity is no publicity. Ann Coulter will say anything but we’re paying attention. If you have an opinion and want to take a side, whatever it is go with it and stick to it. If you’re going to pander to everyone’s needs, shut it down – you’ll never please everybody.

LW: Car that drives on the middle of the road it causes accidents. Stay on the left or stay on the right.

Question: What do you do when your blog is contradictory to your job? Blog under a differ name or anonymously.

Questions: How do you make serious topics like politics and illnesses funny? LW: I write about everything. The first time I had sex I got pregnant – I wrote about it! Things that are painful come with hindsight – share your experience and give people the wisdom you found. No one can deny the humor you found from a dark experience.

How do you make jokes about tragic experiences? Take a tragic experience and write about it in a way that you’re not cheapening what happened.

For example, The Onion went balls out for 9/11 – all the talk show hosts apologized for the humor prior 9/11 --- being proud of what you write. In your humor writings pick topics correctly instead of being snark filled.

Question: Women and their visibility in comedy, there are so many charges that it’s a sexist environment.

LW: (LW is one of the procreators of daily show.) It’s not a women thing, its a nerd thing. Take gender out of it – people don’t focus, hone or write in that style because there are very few avenues or paths leading down that road. It’s a hard subject matter to write about.

Luvvie – favorite show Scrubs and one of the writers is a woman, the author of Chronicles of a Girl in College. She the only woman in the room full of male writers and she’s not considered funny…but she is! She has to fight tooth nail to get anything out.

JB: There are many brilliant women, and its not about politics. We encourage all of you to please don’t stop reading or supporting women. Believe that #s make a difference. If we keep reading each other, and supporting each other and it will get really hard to ignore us…numbers are hard to ignore. Support those you think are funny. Get your non-blogger people to read funny women bloggers. It gets to a point, where even Hollywood cant ignore you. Support women you think are funny in everyway!

LW: We as women, our curiosity is our greatest asset. We love a billion things, and we’re not afraid. We want to go go go. Writing about things, honing who you are and your vice. That’s what will make you a stronger writer and standout. Pay attention to stuff that flows out of you. That’s what you’ll be creative, articulate and smart about.

JB: certain things I do and don’t do—I make references to not cooking, no housekeeper. Try to change the things you use to describe yourself. You may watch a certain show and may almost always reference that show to describe and experience. Learn to change it around….think about what you are trying to describe, step out of the box and use a different reference. Review your posts go back over a few and you may notice you repeat things. To have a long writing career you will have to get more creative.

Luvvie: I Invent words. For example I recently invented setbackery. Think about words and make them up in a not so Sarah Palin way.

Questions: Would you recommend improv classes in terms of humor development?
If people are constantly saying there’s a lot of humor in your writing, keep writing to build the humor. Taking a class is like HW. Or like jumping off diving board and trying to perfect your dive. A lot of time you wont be very funny, but it takes practice.

LW: Often times I think I’m hilarious, but people don’t think so. With humor believe it, hone it, and sell it – if you believe you are funny, deliver it with confidence and it will be funny.

JB: if you want to be a comic actress then yes to improv class can be beneficial. I’ve written stuff 6-7 times and still think it sucks. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Others may think you are hilarious when you don’t think you are! I go by my heart. My heart is hilarious. Trust your gut. Know how to take criticism, most of all from yourself. Have a funny girl posse – I have 4, and they have said no, this is not funny!

LW: Also keep in mind, people like commentors are douchy. They can be jealous or you may have just hit a nerve in their life somehow. Write for the people who like you and that will weed out those who don’t.
Question: How do you translate funny out loud and translate funny into your writing?

Luvvie: I go on rants – I copy paste and there is my post. Just write. My writing comes off like I speak. I always hear “I can hear your voice when I read your post.”

Question: Any thoughts on pushing the envelope? How far is too far?

LW: Know your audience. There is never a too far if you write what you believe. It will always be offensive to someone. “I think” will offend a power structure. Asserting a POV, can offend someone. Who’s to say how far you can take something. interpretation is everything and you will never know how something will be interpreted.

Question: How consistently are you funny on your blogs/tweets Do you ever write serious posts? Or is funny just a natural mode of expression?

LW: I do both – from my career to stand up to talking about work or the things around me. I use humor in my Tweets but I also post links to news stories.

Luvvie: When I started a blog and it wasn’t suppose to be a humor blog. I just blogged and people were laughing at me. My Tweets are foolish even rancid. Twitter is a spot for random observations in the world.
Question: I write a life blog and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s deep, dark and tragic. What do you feel about the editing process?

LW: No one is really naturally funny. It’s a skill is to make it look or read effortless. Don’t beat yourself up about revising. But at the same time don’t try to out clever yourself.

JB: When I sit down and try to make something funny, I go to that vague title of book. I go for the inane, because that’s what I know. I’m not deep and will never will be. Who you are is what makes you funny…if we all sounded the same where would the world be?

LW: JB is hilarious because you are honest. You pay attention to your life and your perception of yourself is accurate. Your insight about yourself is brilliant.

Often times we try to write from the person we wish we were and you don’t do that. What we are far more interesting than what we just write honestly and it’ll come out.

Questions: How do you craft a post and where does your inspiration come from? Or even the process of putting a post together? How do you go about the writing process?

JB: Blog from personal experiences. I see humiliating experiences as a seed. Write about what happened leading up to the experience, then about the actual experience and the aftermath.

LW: If it’s a new story that inspires me, I ask a lot of questions. I tend to write about stuff I hear. My content mostly is things people often think but never say or ask…

JB: Also, don’t worry about making it long. Give your readers a break. Brevity is your friend.

Question: How do you deal or handle something you thought was really funny but no one else does?

LW – I try to not write material where I know my audience. Also delivery and timing is key. Deliver with confidence.

Know your audience. Choose material for audience that you know they are well read upon.