I’m turning off the keyboard on my humor dispatches. Remember, I was only trying to summon a wry smile.
Alas, along with that luncheon special, Tripe-4-Two Tuesdays, Funny Friday in the Monitor will no longer be available after this week as the paper transitions to an online daily and a weekly print edition. While Funny Friday has only been part of the paper for four years, as one of its writers, I hope it has provided a respite from the downward tendencies of GM stock.
I have tried to generate chuckles, with results ranging from a couple of guffaws to an equal number of “huhs?” Along the way, I’ve also discovered that aiming for laughs can be dangerous.
The response to an article I wrote about creating a holiday for men – a Guy Day – was so vitriolic that I actually considered, to use a Godfather term, “going to the mattresses.” (If you want to catch up on the nastiness, just head over to Jezebel.com and type in my name. Keep the kids far away from the computer.)
The other piece that had me cowering in a bunker was about crying babies on airplanes. The notion that children were entitled to scream as they flew around the globe was one I was not familiar with. But after all those threatening notes, I was more than willing to agree that I was not only wrong to kvetch on the subject, but should, as penance, be forced to attend their children’s pageants for the next five years.
The real difficulty for humor writers is finding subjects that are as funny as what’s in the news. It’s hard to beat, for example, the University of Texas paying millions for Norman Mailer’s car repair bills and other material in the name of collecting his letters. Or New York nursery schools interviewing 2-year-olds to see if they are worthy applicants. And what can you say about Mickey Rourke that Mickey Rourke hasn’t said funnier?