So Betty Wryte-Goode interviewed me for her column on Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. Of course she misquoted me. She might have been awestruck like these folk from Life of Brian.
Here’s what I remember from the interview.
BWG: Tell me about Humor.
Headley: Humor’s different than writing mystery, sci fi, or road signs. The rule of humor is that it has no rules. Humor thrives on almost out-worn taboos, and twisted thinking. If you think too straight, no web site will screw you up enough to be funny.
BWG: Then how does a humor writer prepare? Isn’t there anything online that will help you? How about Cracked?
Headley: Not screwy enough.
BWG: There’s George Takei’s I’m not right in the head.com. Is it helpful?
Headley: These sites are great if you’re looking to be entertained, but I found out the hard way that stealing other people’s stuff is usually not a good idea.
BWG: Oh dear! Is there nothing online that helps you prepare?
Headley: Sure, there’s stuff. The news is always good. Some humor writers go straight to the off-beat news sites like…
(alright, I drew a blank here,)
but I think it’s better to go for the straight stuff. Well, there really isn’t any straight stuff anymore, but the sources that are supposed to give you the straight stuff like Reuter’s or UPI. If you’re going for processed news, you should definitely choose one from column A and one from column B. If you go to MSNBC, or CNN, you should also go to The Blaze or Fox News. You can’t get too political – well, you can, ‘cause there are no rules, but it’s a hard row to hoe if you’re trying to make someone laugh, and convert them to your cause. How many funny Jehovah’s Witnesses have you met?
Headley: Really? Do you remember any of their shtick? I knew there was something about that 144,000 thing that had potential.
BWG: I’m sorry, I don’t remember, but stealing from them is “not usually a good idea,” right?
Headley: Sometimes I make exceptions.
BWG: This interview is supposed to be about helping other writers, remember?
Headley: Okay, as long as you promote my book. You’re going to promote my book, right?
BWG: At the end. So once you have the news, what do you do?
Headley: Think like a dog.
BWG: Pardon me?
Headley: It doesn’t have to be a dog. You can think like a cat, canary, giant squid – any creature that comes into contact with humans. The giant squid probably isn’t so good, ‘cause all it would be thinking is, ‘humans in a can – are they tasty? Do they go well with a kelp garnish?’ There’s not really a lot of range in thinking like a giant squid.
Cats are better.
BWG: Explain, please.
Headley: Animals are funny. If you don’t believe me, check your Facebook page and count how many posts you see of cats and dogs doing funny things, or giving funny looks. Animals are funny because they think better than we do. Most of what they think makes sense. That’s pretty twisted thinking to most humans ‘cause most of what we do is stupid. We puzzle and amuse animals and they return the favor. You want to make something funny, think like an animal.
BWG: Perhaps you might give us an example.
Headley: Think of any old story like Jack and the Bean Stock. Now think of it from the perspective of the golden goose, or the cow that Jack sells for the beans. You straighten out the story when you think like an animal, which means it sounds all twisted to humans.
BWG: But most of your work that I’ve read is from a human point of view.
Headley: That’s the final twist. Put that animal thought into a human brain. You want to break the ice during stand up? Try licking your arm and batting the back of your ears with the saliva.
The added benefit is then you don’t have wash behind your ears later.
BWG: Oh… Well, thank you Headley Hauser for all these wonderful ideas.
Headley: Don’t forget the book plug!
Of course she got this blog plug wrong, but at least she (in an understated way) did plug my book… so, (sigh) thanks, Betty… I guess.