Tickling funny bones


The next genre that the creative writing course looked at was Comedy, and as usual I’ll be adding my own take on the discussion in this post. All genres of course vary widely and engender varied reader responses, but comic writing is particularly difficult as humour is very personal: what’s funny to one person can leave another cold. Whether your tastes veer towards physical slapstick and the comedy of cruelty or the maybe more subtle mental ribtickling of wordplay, puns, riddles and exaggeration it pretty much all relies on what the writer Arthur Koestler (in his 1964 study The Act of Creation) called “bisociation”. Essentially this is the bringing together of at least two normally unrelated concepts in an unexpected way, the metaphorical equivalent of an unlooked-for slap in the face that either provokes an understanding smile or a shocked reaction in an explosive guffaw.

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