I found myself in a pub on a recent Saturday afternoon studying a banana skin and talking about farts. All in aid of making my writing more humorous, you understand. But is it possible to learn how to be funny? That was what I was here to find out.
I'm sure most SCBWI members will know Mo O'Hara as the author of the My Great Big Zombie Goldfish series. Mo is an officially multi-talented funny-person as she has also written several picture books, performed sketches at Edinburgh and written comedy for Radio 4. If anyone can teach me how to be funny, she can.
|Mo O' Hara|
Mo recommended we should consume comedy in all forms - live, TV, radio, and not just comedy for children either. Even the more grown-up sort of laughs would help us to get in the zone and see how the funny stuff is structured. However, children's comedy has slightly different rules - no meanness allowed here!
After Mo's introduction, we started to look at creating comedy characters. We came up with our own animal heroes and villains by thinking about their character traits, jobs and objectives. We also role played to understand character status, with Cath Howe miming a very convincing CEO of a multinational company.
Mo's experience with improv theatre helps her to come up with funny plotlines. Her big tip? Never shut an idea down - at the brainstorming stage you must keep saying yes to your ideas, and then ask 'what now?' Censorship is not your funny friend.
|Mo O' Hara|
By now it was 4pm. My sides were aching, my notebook was full and my brain was bursting. It was time to wrap things up, so Mo left us with a quote from Tina Fey:
Comedy is truth, plus time, multiplied by monkeys, divided by one fart You can't really argue with that. Now I'm off to watch some more Blackadder and punch up my latest WIP.