I Am Not Funny
Posted February 11, 2011on:
I tried something different with my political writing this week: I used humor.
This is a terrible idea, as anyone who has ever tried to be funny knows.
During the 2008 campaign, there was a moment when John McCain tried to write an editorial for the New York Times and had it sent back for editing. As someone who has dealt with editors and I thought this was hilarious, so I whipped up a piece about John McCain having an angry email exchange with the editor at the Times in which he ranted, typed in all caps, and put random words in quotes. Because he is old, you see! In light of that, I thought the email address I gave him, email@example.com, was particularly brilliant. I sent it in to the Hartford Courant and they ran it.
It was a total bomb, and looking back on it, I can see why. The humor wasn’t all that subtle, and the ageist jokes were less amusing than they were kind of mean. I don’t think my mother liked it very much, either. The experience did give me a lot of respect for people who can write consistently funny stuff, day in and day out. It’s not easy. I can’t imagine trying to write funny columns or routines all the time, much less try to be funny in a format as long as, say, a book.
Every once in a while, though, I want to try something that isn’t either serious, horribly depressing or dry and analytical. I think we’ll call that “expanding my horizons,” since that sounds a lot better than “plea for attention.”
Let me know what you think!