This past weekend I had the privilege of seeing one of the best written, most witty musical comedies ever penned on Broadway: Something Rotten. I’ve mentioned many times on these blog pages that I can’t write “funny.” I can be funny in real life, but putting the laugh on the page is torture for me. Not so much the writers of Something Rotten. From the opening line to the last curtain call, you will laugh. Uproariously. Belly-quiveringly. Soul-shakingly.
The story tells the tale of William Shakespeare’s fictional rivals, The Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel. They want one hit, just one fabulous play to be produced so they can throw their success in Will’s face – as he does unendingly and fabulously in their’s and every other playwright of the era’s faces. This Will Shakespeare is no meek little Bard. No, he is conceited, arrogant, mocking, self-serving, and more than anything, hysterical.
All the characters were so well written and so thought-out I was jealous. The writers of this play could be best selling fiction authors if they chose – any maybe they were in another life – I have no idea. But this jealousy got me thinking: how come I can’t write funny?
I can do tears and emotions like no one’s business. I can take a heart wrenching incident and get it on the page so that the reader starts to well up and reach for a hankie. I can talk to people and make them hold their sides in laughter, but I can’t translate that to the page.
Weird, isn’t it?
So, are you funny? Can your write funny? I’m interested in how authors go about being funny on the page. Let’s discuss….