Wednesday 30 November 2011

Not funny

I've just been reading an author's description of her own novel. Hilarious, she says it is. Just hilarious.

Now why is it that saying one's own book is hilarious kills the joke stone dead? Surely it's for other people to say whether or not the writing is that funny; not the author. It's a bit like over-use of exclamation marks; it just doesn't work.
But then I find that any book that's labelled "laugh-out-loud-funny" just isn't. Humour should be a wonderful discovery the reader makes for him/herself.

But I'm probably just being a curmudgeon. We old people are like that sometimes. Especially when we (or one of us) have/has tripped over and injured ourselves this morning. We old people do that. We fall over.

Which reminds me of a story of my (doctor) son's. Years ago, he was admitting an elderly patient to hospital. One of the questions he had to ask was whether or not the patient had had any falls.

Son: Have you had any falls?
Elderly man (after a long, thoughtful pause): Well, I fell off a wood pile during the war.

I shall now go and apply more arnica to my wounds and try to cheer up. I might even look for something hilarious to read.


  1. That's up there with "Have you lived here all your life?"
    answer: "Not Yet!"

  2. Sorry to hear you fell, and I agree with you about the "hilarious" books - they rarely are even remotely funny in my opinion. Maybe I am just a grumpy old librarian instead of the graceful elderly lady I wish I was :-)

  3. I don't like to be told things are funny - I'll be the judge of that thank you very much.

  4. I hate being told that something is funny.

  5. Completely agree with you, Frances. If told something is funny, I usually find it's not.

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  7. We seem to be in agreement over this. I recently read a book which made me literally cry with laughter, and I have tried (rather unsuccessfully) to recommend it without telling people how funny it is.

    Thanks for all the comments.

  8. Quite right. Funniness should come upon you when you lest expect it. I always worry when someone is going to tell me a joke in case I don't get it, and end up with a silly non-grin on my face.

  9. Oh dear. I fear this may have been me that provoked this post. 8-(

    I did make that claim about my work in progress - although in my defense I didn't make that claim until I'd shown it to a very stern (and critical) friend who laughed out loud in many places.

    But I agree, I hate it when it isn't true.

  10. No, Broken Bir. It certainly wasn't you. Oh - and thanks for joining!

    (Do I get a prize as well, or would that be greedy? Oh, and what was/is the prize, by the way?)

  11. Yup, the reader is the sole arbiter of what is funny. Similarly, ‘enjoy!’ sends me running.