Those of you who have had the misfortune to be in a bar with me (and really, who hasn't?) know that I laugh easily. I laugh because:

A. I'm usually drunk.

B. I'm deranged.

C. You are a funny person.

Often, it is all of the above.

But what makes a person funny? What is it that makes one person twist a thought just so, and say the line so right, that it surprises us and makes our diaphragm convulse. What is it about people who write funny, so that the alignment of words, the rhythm of the language, makes us laugh?

Dick Cavett has a column over at The Times that runs that question around. You might need a subscription to read it, and if so, I apologize. But here's part of it:

"It took Bob Hope’s longtime head writer, Mort Lachman, to put into words a thing I had only sensed. “Comedy writing can be a fairly easy life,” he said, “and you’ll make absurd amounts of money if you have two things: a sense of humor and the ability to turn on the comic you’re writing for in your head.”

The reason I bring this up is that so many of you are funny writers. You know who you are. You can compose a line or conjure up a word or scene that's absurdly right. You listen to that voice in your head and instead of finding medications that will make it stop, you encourage it. You give it to a character who speaks in a certain way and sees the world in a certain light.

I don't write funny. Not intentionally. It's just that the people in my head are funny people. They say funny things and I write them down. I'm often as surprised as you are.

I like that. It's one of the great things about this job. I only wish the comic inside my head made more money.

What about you? When you write a funny line, is it a struggle? Do you sweat over it? Or does it just pop out? And what about those writers who think they're funny, but sadly for us all, they're not? Can they learn funny or is it like music, you either have the ear or you don't?

And who are your favorite funny writers? Who do you go to when you need a good laugh?

Tell me something funny. Then go read Cavett's piece on comedy writing. I'll either be here when you get back...

...or I'll be at the bar. Look for me.

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Yeah, Toni, but what about the pig? Did he have to stay on the balcony listening to you guys making bacon all night?
Poor Honda ended up in the jail cell. It was a close call as to whether it was going to be him or my husband, and luckily, it was the very very unhappy pig. I don't think the concierge was all that thrilled, either. I can't imagine how they explained the extremely loud pig squeals the rest of the night and the next morning to the guests checking in for the convention that weekend.
Yeah, it could have been Ned Beatty.
Dear god, I'd forgotten that story. Thank you for making my morning.
You're welcome. Though I started to tell the breast-milk story.
I think Stephen King is LOL hilarious. Mark Twain. Flannery O'Conner. That's the kind of humor I like. The grotesque. The absurd.

I saw Jay Leno in a small club back before he was famous. He'd been on Letterman a couple of times, but hadn't done Carson yet. He made me cry.
Once, on Spring Break at Daytona Beach, um, wait a minute, I better check the staute of limitations for crimes in Florida. ..............I guess I have to wait a couple more weeks to tell this one.
Spring Break? Knowing you, Karyn, there's video on it. And you probably earned your beads.
There are those who earn beads and those who earn the Bead Factory. Honey, I'm holding the Bead deed.
'nuff said.
I'm not worthy...I'm not worthy...
People who make me laugh are not those who say something so absurd, you find yourself laughing more out of shock than anything else. Those who I find genuinely funny are saying something I can completely relate to. They are talking humorously about real life, making me laugh while at the same time making me realize, "Oh my gosh, that is SO true!"

Paul Reiser wrote two hilarious books: Couplehood and Babyhood. I can relate to pretty much every aspect of both books because for one, I'm part of a couple, and, secondly, I have it on very good authority I was once a baby (and have several times since been accused of acting like one). This one par in Couplehood will always stay in my mind: Paul's talking about how you and your wife go out with a few other couples for dinner. People take turns talking about some funny event, and then it gets to be your turn and you start telling your story, and after a minute or two, you look around and realize that people have gotten distracted w/the menus or whatever. Bottom line - NOBODY IS LISTENING!

Except your wife. Who was there with you when this funny event happened. She is sitting there, paying 100% to your story, nodding intently.

And she was there! So what do you do?

You continue to tell the story... to HER!.

Anyway, I fall to the ground laughing - literally - whenever I read passages from either of these books. Which is why I automatically lie face down on the carpet whenever I begin to read one of them. I mean, I'm going to end up in that position anyway, right? No sense waiting until the last minute.

And Dave Barry cracks me up. I have an old book of his "The Best of Dave Barry," and it is my "Bathtub Book." Every night, I pour myself a Coor's Light (yeah, I know - VERY high class), fill my tub with hot water and bubbles, and read from his book. This guy is "laugh out loud" funny, and when I laugh, it's not one of those demure and timid little feminine giggles. It is one of those throw-your-head-back-laugh-from-your-toes-until-you-nearly-hyperventilate-type experiences. That's the kind of laugh my children hear when they pass by my locked bathroom door every evening.

"Daddy, why does Mommy laugh hysterically everytime she takes a bath?"

My husband just shrugs. Cause honestly? He doesn't know why. And I think is too scared to ask.
I want Dave Barry as my next door neighbor. Some people are in touch with their inner child and he's definitely one of them. He sees things through his eyes that so many people can relate to but few actually see it for themselves.


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