Friday, January 23, 2009

A Load Of Nonsense!

Introducing the How To Be Funny course...

Ever wanted to write jokes, gags, one-liners?

Every time you see a comedian on stage, you can bet there's another person behind every clever word that comes out of his or her mouth.

We sometimes forget that joke tellers need people to sit down and write those jokes for them. And that includes one of my favourites types of joke, the limerick.

Limericks are easy to write once you get the hang of it. Typically they're five lines long with a rhyme scheme a,a,b,b,a. Here's a famous example by Dixon Merritt:

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican

Part of the fun with limericks involves playing with language, and even sometimes corrupting the rhyme scheme altogether, such as this corker by W.S. Gilbert:

There was an old man of St. Bees
Who was horribly stung by a wasp
When they said, “does it hurt?”
He replied, “no, it doesn’t –
It’s a good job it wasn’t a hornet”

Or this well-know anonymous sample that pokes fun at the structure of limericks:

There was a young man from Japan
Whose limericks never would scan.
When asked why this was,
He answered "because
I always try to fit as many syllables into the last line as ever possibly I can."

Limericks are lots of fun, for sure. But they're also quite creative. Finding words that rhyme (or don't!) and still managing to write something interesting can tax the best of us.

This is just one of the techniques you'll find in the How To Be Funny course. There's also information on Spoonerisms, tongue twisters, and puns; tips on comedy timing and creating jokes out of thin air; and techniques for incorporating comedy into your social life.

It's a great book, full of useful tips for budding comics, writers or otherwise. I've read it myself, and it tickled my funny bone.

Hopefully it'll do the same for you :)

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