Humor is Hard

Even harder after the past 5 years.


Why is it so difficult for most on-air talent to make listeners laugh?

For starters, in most cases, no two people think the exact same thing is funny. That’s one reason stand-up comedians are in such demand and paid so well.

Being able to make everyone laugh is a gift.

Secondly, the easiest form of humor is making another person the object of your jokes, and this often has a hint of cruelty if not handled perfectly.

So, I’d like to recommend you read the book Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. Ms. Strout won a Pulitzer for the original Olive Kitteridge.

HBO turned that book into a mini-series. You might have seen it.

Ms. Strout’s gift is that she manages to uncover aspects of almost every one of her major characters that are humorous but without any bullying or making their idiosyncrasies the target of her humor.

There’s a deep empathy in the way she exposes their flaws and foibles.

In the end, it’s her compassion for the human condition that makes these books, and her characters, so unforgettable.

And I think it’s a skill you can learn if you’ll invest the time and energy to try.