"There are very few good judges of humor, and they don't agree." Josh Billings
I've posted several articles on writing humor. One thing most everyone will agree with is that writing humor is hard work. You have to spend a lot of time looking for just the right word or phrase or device to put the sizzle in you writing.
- "The Comedy Thesaurus - 3,241 Quips, Quotes and Smartass Remarks" by Judy Brown organizes these funny lines by category. "
- Milton Berle's Private Joke File" book does the same, claiming to index over 10,000 items. I didn't count them myself, but I'm sure Uncle Miltie wouldn't exaggerate.
- The Internet is a bottomless pit of guffaws. To mention just a few: Jokes 2 Go.com has some funny lists sorted by category and Mike Durett's About.com Guide to Humor has a list of humor categories.
What I do when I need a funny quote is I type in the key words of the topic plus "humor" and hit the Google button. That usually gets me what I want. For example, I recently Googled for a quote about American politics and came up with a line by Ronald Reagan, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
I'll mention three places this can work for you. The first is at the beginning of your piece (as I did in this article) and starts you off on a good note.
A second place is in the middle, particularly using a quote about a key word in your topic such as, "Now I want to talk about computer programming, which, as Ron Heuse once said, "is a lot like sex. One mistake and you could have to support it the rest of your life."
The third place to use humorous quotes is (bet you guessed this) at the end. It can be a good way to summarize your message and leave the reader remembering your piece with a smile. And, so saying, I leave you with James Thurber's line, "Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility."
By the way, when you're trolling the Internet for humor, I'd like to point out that Anonymous was a pen name I used to use. I don't need that anymore, so I'd appreciate it, if you use one of my quips, you use my real name.
John Philipp is a weekly humor columnist for four Marin County, California newspapers and has won numerous humor and memoir writing awards. His humor columns are posted at http://johnphilipphumor.gather.com/.
His wisdom (with Phil Prank's cartoons) is posted at Thought~Bytes http://thoughtbytes.gather.com/