How to Make Funny

It beats being a bummer

“EastVille Comedy Club — Sarah Silverman” by ZagatBuzz is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I used to write the words “Make Funny” on top of all my stories. If I didn’t write it down, I forgot to be funny. I ended up with sad and meaningful stories, which was a bummer.

“If you can figure out the punchline,” I’ve always said, “you don’t spend all night crying into your bar rag.”

Looking back, it was curious that I scribbled Make Funny on the top of my stories. They were about death, romance, and family. They were depressing, heart-wrenching, and filled with angst and regret. They were literary buzzkills. They were dying for comic relief.

Make Funny. What I should have been writing was “Get over it” because that’s what I meant. I was hinting, to myself, that if I could find out what was funny, I wouldn’t be a sad sack smoking Marlboro Lights and dating poets.

I would finally be bioluminescently joyous. People would stop me in the street and demand my dewy skincare regimen.

If I could Make Funny, the superpower of the punchline would swoop in and eviscerate all my troubles. Finding funny was the opposite of singing the Blues. I wanted to chew it up and digest it.

When I wrote Make Funny, however, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing at the time. My 20/20 retrospect told me later. It said, “You were dropping breadcrumbs to your future happiness.” I thanked myself, and we hugged on it.

I love the idea of a tragic story rewritten and edited into comedic form. I wonder if that’s what Shakespeare was thinking too. We’re so alike. “I’m going to make this tragic,” he probably told his busty corsetted barmaid. “But I’m slipping some jokes in there so I can get laid.” That’s what I wanted too. Me and Shakes.

After quoting Shakespeare, there’s not much else to say. Oh! I’ve got something. Make Funny. It’ll cheer you up and maybe get you laid.