So You Want To Write Humor? (Maybe This Book Will Help)


I don’t know Mike Sacks from Adam. But I got a kick out of his book, And Here’s the Kicker, which is packed full of advice and interviews from well-known humor writers.

Let’s see…I read a little something something from the likes of Dave Barry, and Buck Henry, and David Sedaris, and Allison Silverman, to name just a few. And you can go read a few excerpts for yourself over at the And Here’s the Kicker website. Plus, you’ll find all kinds of much higher-falutin’ folks than me, going on and on about Mike Sacks and his wonderful book.

But you won’t find some of my fave parts from the book at Mr. Sack’s website. Namely, the Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer. So I hope he won’t mind if I share a a few tips with y’all, every so often.

First up, a few words of wisdom from Getting Humor Published in Magazines (Okay, it’s self-serving. But come on, y’all. I’m the one who read (most of) the book.)

* Do not try too hard-or even at all-to be funny in the cover letter. Jokes in the story are fine. Jokes in the pitch are not. (Woopsies)

* Writers sometimes talk about the awards they’ve won. Don’t. (Um, woopsies, again.)

* Don’t use Mr. or Mrs. (last name of the editor here). Weird. Arcane. (Wow. Now I just feel old. And I’m kinda wondering how I ever sold a single humorous thing. I’m also beginning to understand why I haven’t sold all that much.)

Well, there’s lots more where those came from (20, to be exact). And when I find the next page, I’ll share a few from the second half of the list. As long as it’s okay with Mike Sacks. Who I’m sure is a fine fellow who’s won many awards (not that he’d ever mention them) for his fine book, And Here’s the Kicker.

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12 thoughts on “So You Want To Write Humor? (Maybe This Book Will Help)

  1. I don't know if I'll be a better humor writer, Margo, but I couldn't get enough of those interviews. Fascinating stuff about SNL or The Onion, or Stephen Colbert's show- and how these funny people came to the business of funny writing.Oh, and I KNOW, Anon. If I'm not supposed to say Mr. Editor's Name, what AM I supposed to say? Gee whiz 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tips, Cathy. I agree with Anonomyous questioning why one should not use Mr. or Mrs. when addressing the editor. So, like are Dude or Dudette the preferred titles now?DonnaP.S. My word verification is matimati. Wonder what it means?

  3. Donna, I'm afraid I don't know what matimati means-but it sounds like something you'd eat at a Chinese restaurant (I'll have the matimati and hold the MSG, please. :-)You're very welcome, Lisa! Good luck with your market!

  4. I think the interviews should include one with the person who decides these goofy verification words….how warped is your mind to use something like *worctrin* or *gerpshot*?

  5. Hello Marvelous Miss Cathy C.! Thanks for the tips and info about the book! I LOVE David Sedaris! When I read "Me Talk Pretty Some Day", I laughed out loud so many times. And I agree on those goofy word verifications. I was going to keep track of them, because they're so funny sometimes…maybe I'll do that!

  6. I'll bet there's a blog out there devoted to captchas (those verification words, for example)and their craziness!And Becky, Me Talk Pretty was hilarious-so is the Corduroy one-oh, and Holidays on Ice where he talks about the Santaland Diaries!Sedaris is definitely a laugh-out-loud writer (his interview was interesting, too-though not exactly laugh-out-loud funny 🙂

  7. Hey Cathy C. Yes, I've read those books by David S., too! Hilarious!Let's see…if you are the Scathingly Brilliant Miss Cathy C….what can we call Mr. David S. ??

  8. See, Becky? I knew we had a deep connection 🙂 As for Sedaris…Sinfully Southern? (I think he may be the only born Southern funny guy who's ever made it in the New Yorker.)

  9. Hmmm, I'm not wild about Sinfully Southern, although I haven't been able to come up with anything else! Let me put my thinking cap on and get back to you on that!!

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