And this seems to be the trick question.
There are funny characters and then there are funny stories and because you have one doesn’t mean you have the other. And funny situations/premises are easier to write than creating a character that pops on the page and makes the reader laugh.
Here are some of the pitfalls a writer could fall into when writing a funny character:
- It’s only knee deep (as in cracking jokes) and the funny seems forced.
- Too much funny and not enough heart and the funny falls flat.
- Adding quirks (as in dress or mannerisms) just makes a character quacky.
- As with everything, if the funny is not intrinsic to the story then it’s just fluff.
I have noticed one thing about some comedians. Behind all the jokes, laughter, and funny is a world of hurt. (Okay, maybe not always, but often.) Cracking jokes and making people laugh usually covers the broken soul inside. Funny is a great self-defense mechanism and a way to avoid talking about the real issues, the real hurt. And that might be a great way to add heart to your funny character.
Thanks for some great comments on my post last Friday, Bring on the Funny Girls. My commenters came to some great conclusions. Does it really matter which sex writes a funny character? Well, no. I just found it extremely interesting that not many males write funny girl protags, just female side kicks and secondary characters.
So, today, instead of listing characters you found funny; go deeper, and tell me why they were funny.