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Scott Adams writes on writing humor

Dilbert creator Scott Adams writes about writing humor on the Wall Street Journal.

The topic is the thing. Eighty percent of successful humor writing is picking a topic that is funny by its very nature. My story above is true, up until the exaggeration about the French fry in the sinus cavity. You probably assumed it was true, and that knowledge made it funnier.

Humor likes danger. If you are cautious by nature, writing humor probably isn’t for you. Humor works best when you sense that the writer is putting himself in jeopardy. I picked the French-fry story specifically because it is too risqué for The Wall Street Journal. You can’t read it without wondering if I had an awkward conversation with my editor. You might wonder if the people in my story will appreciate seeing my version of events in The Wall Street Journal. I wonder that too.

Community Comments

#1 Pete McDonnell
October/14/2010
@ 12:26 pm

Adams writes funnier stuff than most of what’s out there. He can get 4 jokes into one Sunday strip, which is 3 more than most of the other strips. One exception is Sherman’s Lagoon, which is also generally good for a laugh or two..

#2 wade brumett
October/14/2010
@ 1:26 pm

WOW the first doccumented nasal cavity concussion from a french fry. Yank, trioka even.

#3 Beth Cravens
October/15/2010
@ 1:58 pm

Good thing I have my own office. Funny guy

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