Humour Writing for Dummies

As a writer, I often have to deal with hordes of maniacal fans, both male and female, ranging in age from the young, to the middle-aged and even those from the Simi-Garewalosaurus era. Some fling their earthly possessions at me while others (read: ‘Hot women’) fling themselves at me.

That’s when the alarm clock screams.

I realise that I’m two hours late, and what’s worse, I don’t think The Boss will accept my usual excuse of ‘Aliens abducted me to further their research on a cure for AIDS. My special DNA holds all the answers, they said to me.’

There’s a time when honesty *is* the best policy. There’s a time to be a man. I stride up to The Boss’ volcanic expression and say in a level voice:

“There’s a mouse under your chair.”

Chaos ensues, as people scamper onto chairs, desks and other people’s backs. Tardiness forgotten, I live to write another day.

Which brings me to the topic of this article. Humour Writing. Although I possess well-informed views on serious issues such as poverty, nuclear proliferation and the names of Abhiash’s unborn children, I still prefer irreverent humour as a release for my Freudian complexities. It fascinates me that an idea born in the deep recesses of my mind can cross borders, reach out and make the reader think, “What WAS he smoking when he wrote this?”.

It is this fascination that makes me want to share the professional secrets I’ve gathered over a career spanning around 9 months, 22 days(and counting). Here goes…

The Beginning:

If you look back a couple of paragraphs, you’ll notice that the main point of the article(i.e humour writing) is a good 3 light years away from its beginning. This separation allows you to ramble like a drunken lover, about things that don’t really matter. A friend of mine loves to use the term ‘verbal masturbation’. Why is it this way? Simply because if humour writers knew what the hell they were writing about, they’d get to the point and be done with it. And that would be no fun.

For e.g

Maximus Stupidus

I write humour. Humour writing is fun. I went to the zoo yesterday. Mummy says I should have stayed there.

Ashish Shakya, Class II-B

See what I mean?

The Subject:

This is the most important part of a humour article and requires copious amounts of research. The first step, naturally, is to get some food. Food is the source of all inspiration. As Michaelangelo famously said, ” I’m not painting that goddamn ceiling till I get a pizza!”. Dominos obliged (in less than 30 minutes), and as a result, the Sistine Chapel came to be renowned worldwide for its ability to give people a crick in the neck.

The next level of research includes browsing through newspapers, scouring through web feeds and amusing co-workers by belching out Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The quest for inspiration can go on for days, as writers immerse themselves in a deep, meditative trance punctuated by peaceful snores. Inspiration, like death, can strike anytime – in your sleep, in the bus, on the pot etc. But it usually strikes when The Boss gently reminds you that failure to submit the article soon will result in your (insert name of appropriate body part here) being (insert unprintable act here).

The article begins to take shape amazingly fast now.


Contrary to popular opinion, metaphors do not lie between metathrees and metafives. Metaphors and similies, if used wisely, can pump up the humour quotient of your article.

For e.g, consider the following sentence:

” My college principal is ugly and stupid.”

Although it conveys heartfelt opinion, it’s quite bland. You could jazz up the sentence to read like this:

” My college principal is the fruit of Gollum’s dalliance with a dodo.”

Disclaimer: The above technique can be injurious to your academic life. It is best performed by trained professionals who’ve finished college, and have collected the necessary marksheets, certificates and caution money.

So there you have it. All that I know about humour writing lies before you. Looking back at it, I realise that I don’t know much. But I do know this: If you can’t think up a subject for your article, you can always write an article on ‘How To Write A Humour Article’.

PS: Maximus Stupidus is the column I write for JAM (apart from many other articles). Will post here every fortnight, along with my usual ramblings.


6 responses to “Humour Writing for Dummies

  1. That was a very informative post.Thankyou so much for those guidelines. They will certainly make me a better writer.Cheers…!

  2. I sure hope 'Amit Panhale' (above) did not mean that for real!! 😛

  3. Thanks for putting up your posts. It's really a pleasure to read your articles.

  4. Thanks for putting up your posts. It's really a pleasure to read your articles.

  5. I really love to read all this articles, make me laugh a lot knowing that sometimes you have to be funny to smile and face this life.

  6. Read all your blogs. I repeat. ALL of your blogs!!!
    And reached all the way to your first blog post !
    What to do now? 😦

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