How'm I funny? Funny, how? What am I, here to amuse you? What am I…like some kind of clown?? I've got Joe Pesci on the brain lately, ever since a recent girls' night out where we happened upon a funky little dance club where they played a muted Goodfellas on the big screens over and over all night. (If you didn't recognize the Joe Pesci shtick I insist you go rent Goodfellas immediately!)
Two years ago at the SCBWI L.A. conference I had a “Joe Pesci-Off” with a couple of very funny dudes who we met at the after-hours party. Maybe it was the all those pink drinks Robin and Jay kept forcing on me, but I brought my A-game that night and I was on fuego, baby! Of course I won the contest and I remember thinking that I'm definitely the right person to be writing funny children's books…since I'm so dang funny and all.
Problem is, it's really freaking hard to write funny, and keep it up for an entire book. I've only read a handful that can really make me laugh out loud. Captain Underpants, Absolutely Positively Not..., The Day My Butt Went Psycho, and Millicent Min, Girl Genius are some that come to mind. But there's not a ton of funny stuff out there for kids and there should be!
I always wanted to be known as a “lighthearted humor writer,” but the deeper I get into my second book the more I realize that I don't write funny. Not even a little bit. My first novel started out funny, but quickly took on a somber tone once I got to know my characters better. This second book is sooo not funny it's really making me wonder. Did I lose my sense of humor somewhere or is it just terribly challenging to write a funny book?
I think I'm funny. Robin thinks I'm funny. Jay thinks I'm funny. Although, my friend K.T. who's known me since college recently laughed at me…not because he thinks I'm funny, but because he thinks it's funny that I think I'm so funny. Maybe I'm not as funny as I think I am. I guess acknowledgment of the problem is the first step. Who knew I was destined to write serious books? Crazy! But I can still do a mean Joe Pesci imitation…so I got that going for me! HA!