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On sustained nuttiness.
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:07 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 4

Do you think longer humorous pieces benefit from the insertion of (relatively) serious matter once in a while, so that the humor "pops" more when it hits? Or can even long comedic novels deliver non-stop risible content without causing laugh fatigue?


Or do you think both methods work, assuming they're well written? Do you have a preference?


(As I'm posting this in a "Comedic" forum I feel I should end with a joke. So I will:


Why do mice have such small balls?
Because very few of them know how to dance.


Thank you, thank you. Try the veal.)

Mimi Speike
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:59 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Oh hell! I guess I'll jump in here.


The best humor has something serious to say. My humor involves substantial issues twisted into farce. I don't quite get what you mean by sustained nuttiness (verses intermittent nuttiness?) as if it were a choice, to be turned on and off at will. My humor is situational humor. It emerges from the telling of the story, of its own volition. I make no determination about what it should consist of. I discover opportunities and exploit them, that's all.


The undeniable absurdity of my tale drives the humor, although I do enhance it with what at first glance might be deemed scholarly/historical material, but which quickly degenerates into nonsense thanks to the involvement of a pompous, intellectually-gifted cat.


What's the name of your book? I'll look for it to pop up.


--edited by Mimi Speike on 9/11/2013, 9:27 AM--

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:58 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 4

Hi Mimi - thanks for jumping in!


Yep, I was indeed making a distinction between sustained and intermittent nuttiness. Think of, say, almost anything by Monty Python. Almost any given work of theirs is one humorous setup, line, or situation after another. They're all ceaseless parades of ridiculousness without any dramatic interruptions. That's what I consider "sustained nuttiness". "Intermittent" is, er, all the other stuff. Kinda like what they call "dramadies" on TV, those situational comedies that incorporate stretches of somber dreck in between punch lines.


Anyway, thanks for your thoughts! I certainly agree with your implied premise that pompous, intellectually-gifted cats can do a lot of damage. I'm sure it makes your novel all the more hilarious.


I haven't titled mine yet, as I'm still in the early stages. On my working copy I've just titled it after my blog, "Dangerspouse" which might not be a bad thing to stick with as I've already got a built-in audience. But we'll see.


Thanks again for responding!

Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:04 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

You have to create a satisfying narrative. The humor must serve the story, not the other way around.


Take a look at the work of JoeTeeVee, on this site. He creates a whacky world and works it for all it's worth. It's manic, non-stop nuttiness that owes as much to the point of view and style of expression as to the plot itself. Tell your tale; let the humor find its rhythm by itself.


--edited by Mimi Speike on 9/12/2013, 2:02 PM--

Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 4:47 PM
Joined: 9/8/2013
Posts: 4

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check his stuff out. Much appreciated.
Toni Smalley
Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 5:31 PM
...I don't get the mice joke...
Toni Smalley
Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 5:56 PM
I think you might have come up with new writing terminology: "sustained nuttiness" and "intermittent nuttiness." I like it! LOL!  love how Mimi described this: "You have to create a satisfying narrative. The humor must serve the story, not the other way around." When I'm working on my comedic fantasy WIPs, I have to watch myself. Sometimes I get off track and focus solely on the humor, but Mimi is right, the "humor must serve the story." I suppose if you are going for a Monty Pythonesque comedy, throw the rules out the window, and cheese it up and make it nonsensical. By the way, I love those movies! My favorite is The Holy Grail, and I have a few seasons of Flying Circus on DVD. Good luck with your WIP happy

--edited by Toni Smalley on 9/18/2013, 5:58 PM--

J.M. Berenswick
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:43 AM
I find that my humor pieces are more likely to be sustained nuttiness when they're based in a world of my own creation and intermittent nuttiness when they have a basis in reality. It also depends on whether or not humor is meant to be the primary focus. If it is, the nuttiness is sustained. If not, I tone it down. It boils down to whatever story I'm trying to tell at the moment.
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:58 PM
Joined: 4/17/2014
Posts: 1

I would prefer to be amused by every letter of every word that you write.


Perhaps we must take genres into account? Crafting an Absurd reality and then stepping out of it might be a bit jarring...

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:25 PM

Comedy operates via contrasts and the unexpected. The very best comedy is that which makes your jaw drop in surprise before you fall to the floor laughing.


Sustained nuttiness is like whipped cream, no real substance. Only if it, like tension, continues to build toward a peak is it successful if continued. And that, inherently, says there must be periods of seriousness—humor and recovery—that are analogous to scene and sequel in more serious fiction.

Zach Heher
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:02 PM
If you're looking for sustained nuttiness look no further than my posting of Weird News! I would greatly appreciate any and all comments.

--edited by Zach Heher on 4/18/2014, 12:04 PM--


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