Bring Da Novel; Bring Da Funny

I've noticed that all of my favorite writers have really good senses of humor. Only a few of them would be considered "humor writers" but all of them know when to inject humor for whatever effect they are going for. This applies to creators of any written work: comics, novels, roleplaying supplements, movie reviews, anything.

I have a theory about this. A good sense of humor comes from an ability to make connections in one's head that others might not see. The best stand-ups are the ones who are able to connect disparate concepts on the fly. A lot of the comics who make me laugh are the ones who come up with things I never would have thought of. Others specialize in the "it's funny 'cause it's true" style which points out elements which are in front of us all the time. Either way, it's all about the connections.

Good writing is about connections, too. It's not the only element that makes something good but it's an important one. For example, Spider Jerusalem, the main character in Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan discovers that the maker (a replicator-type device) in his apartment is addicted to drugs. A.I. drugs. This is pretty funny. It also shows the connections at work. Ellis first posits a future where most household appliances use artificial intelligences. Then he takes it a step further and determines that some of these AIs would become addicts. It's a commentary on the future society as well as a funny element of the setting.

Movie critics and reviewers make use of humor all the time. Tasha Robinson and the others at the Onion AV Club provide excellent examples of this. Sometimes making fun of a picture is the only way to get through it.

I've noticed that many of my favorite writers are funny in person even if they don't write funny stuff. Tim Powers is not known for his gut-busting laugh-a-thons but he has written some really good, often spooky novels. He also has a quick wit and tells funny stories at conventions.

I submit that a good sense of humor comes from a similar kind of intelligence that makes a good writer. This is a chicken/egg sort of thing: Do the connections lead to the humor or is it the other way around? Perhaps one informs and sharpens the other. There are, of course, many other things that one needs to be a good writer, this is just one that I see over and over.

This theory is by no means fully formed. It's just based on several observations I've made.

What do you think?

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