Today's post is courtesy of PEZmama, who is blogless for the moment. I'm trying to convince her to take it up again. Help me out, y'all.
Humor Writing Part I: The Emphatic “Yo.”
I know the story. I was a blogger myself. You’ve got something to say, and you want your readers to laugh, but you’re just not sure you can pull off the humor. Before you resort to using bad puns and too. many. periods. may I make a suggestion?
The emphatic “yo” might be your answer.
But be warned: the emphatic “yo” isn’t for everyone.
I hear you out there: How do I know if the emphatic “yo” is right for me?
Well, I’m glad you asked because I have developed a simple test to help you determine that very thing. All you have to do is read the following sentence out loud:
What are you talking about?
Now. How many T’s did you just pronounce?
If you said three, then the emphatic “yo” is for you.
Why? Because humor at it’s best isn’t just about saying something funny. It's also something unexpected. It doesn’t surprise anyone to hear “yo” from a person who would normally say “wud’r you talking abou(-uh)?” That kind of person is casual with her language. “Yo,” also a casual word, isn’t funny when she says it, because no one is surprised to hear it.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, I write. On a blog. My readers can’t hear me pronouncing my T’s.
So let’s look at this metaphorically, okay?
If you’ve written any statement akin to it’s Monday, my day to clean out the refrigerator, then your readers know that you pronounce your T’s.
If you’ve told your readers about the elaborate, color-coded Excel chart that you use for scheduling your family’s activities, and encouraged them to make one of their own, then you pronounce your T’s.
If the menu plan that you are (likely) posting every week contains entrees with more than two words in their names, then you pronounce your T’s. (You know who you are, all you “braised chicken with mango-pineapple salsa” freaks.)
If you have already determined what unit studies you will be doing with your children over the summer, then you pronounce your T’s. (And probably your ING’s as well.)
So, if you have done (or secretly wish to) any of those things, then I think you could really pull off the emphatic “yo” and get the laugh you were looking for. But you have to do it carefully. You can’t just throw it in there all willy-nilly.
Here are a few tips:
1. For heaven’s sake, don’t use a stupid pun: I bought a Duncan yo-yo, yo! Believe me, this is not funny.
2. Don’t go overboard. Use the “yo” only once. More than that and it’s like listening to your kid tell a knock-knock joke for the twelfth time. It makes people want to poke out their eyeballs.
3. Don’t go all homey on us. None of that word to y’ motha’ garbage.
4. Nine times out of ten, it’s funniest at the END of a sentence. What gives it the extra punch is when it comes at the end of something that you really would say: Tonight I am making braised chicken with mango-pineapple salsa, yo! (Did you catch it? Totally unexpected = funny.)
So, try the emphatic “yo” the next time you want to say something funny. And, because I live to serve, I’m going to give you this final tip, free of charge. Throw this one at your readers and they’re going to crown you the queen of comedy. When your readers (inevitably) start making comments like “LOL! Did you just say ‘yo’?” you just tell them,
What can I say? ‘Das how I roll.
I guarantee they'll be falling off their chairs. Yo.