Prolixipaedia Manual of Comedic Writing
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On December 19th 2005 the Wiki compendium of things literary, Prolixipaedia, published a list of techniques useful for writing satirical and comedic prose. The original author of this text, Gottfried Leibniz, had just a tad too many other projects, such as writing philosophical texts, discovering calculus and arguing with Newton about it, formulating the binary system, reforming the Christian Church across Europe, being a diplomat for his homeland, writing countless letters to intellectuals and countesses, and studying for all those night courses he had.
Nevertheless, what follows was Sporked from Prolixipaedia in order that Uncyclopedians may mock and deride it...and add their own ideas about this shilly sit. It pretends to be a list of techniques used in so-called "funny writing". Content is not addressed, mind you. You may find content about hog farming funny, or content about buggery being funny, or just content with buggery, are ye, ya butt pirate (and t'ain't much else, we suppose). We do not care about your filthy tastes, you dirty bastard. What we are concerned with are the mechanics of writing.
Henceforth: Maestro, give us some unordered lists, if you please.
edit Simple Techniques
edit Silly names
- Baron Diaper von Rumpspittle
- Miss Muncey Tweeze
- Mrs. Grabya Throttlerooster
- Raymond Luxury-Yacht
- Milo Minderbinder
- Unction Bungerlin
Such names should be easy to read and pronounce (with the exception of "Raymond Luxury-Yacht," which is pronounced throat wobbler mangrove), but silly. One pattern (among the many possible) is to combine blunt cloddish words like bog, rump, flog, scun, ham, bun, and so forth, with poncy multisyllabic words like spittle, frogger, porridge, piddle, and whiffle. But there are many alternate possibilities. Don't forget the scholarly degrees:
- Professor Peaseporridge, PhD, EKG, WMD, est, ESQ.
edit Escalating lists
- Miss Muncey Tweeze enjoyed tennis, knitting, reading Dickens, gunplay, Viking raids, cannibalism, and defenestrating members of Parliament.
- Among the monastic sins listed by Saint Anselm are sodomy, bestiality, masturbation, dry-humping pillows, wearing clean underwear, touching oneself anywhere below the neck, heavy breathing, and approaching closer than 40 furlongs to a female of any mammalian (or reptilian) species.
Variation: list with repeating items
- Famous products of northern Finland include frostbite, mammoth pelts, boggy fens, frostbite, reindeer droppings, spam, frostbite, moss, frostbite, frostbite, and frostbite.
Variation: serious list with a ringer thrown in
- Josef Stalin is remembered for creating a savagely repressive secret police system, exiling tens of thousands to die in Siberia, orchestrating famines in which millions died, writing an exquisite arrangement of "Ain't I Blue" for clavichord, and having thousands of Soviet intellectuals imprisoned and tortured.
edit Funny words
(Of course a word one reader thinks hilarious may make another go "Huh?". Nothing is perfect.)
- Defenestrate (= to throw someone from a window)
- Piddle, diddle, widdle
- Flatulate (= to fart)
- Eructation (= a belch)
- Discombobulate (= to put someone off their game)
- Prolix (= wordy)
Made-up funny words ought to at least look good
Special case: some animal names seem to be intrinsically funnier than others
edit Malapropisms, fractured clichés, misquotations
- Of course the flaw in the positivist argument will be obvious to the salacious reader.
- Never count your chickens until you have two birds in the bush.
- Abcess makes the heart grow fonder
- Early to bed, early to rise makes Jack a dull boy
- You dirty bastard. You dirty BASTARD! You dirty, dirty, DIRTY BASTARD!
- Grandma had a pair of soft cuddly titties. I mean kitties!
- It's not the size of the carrot...it's not the size of the carrot...it's not the size of the "carrot"...that makes the lady rabbits happy.
edit Advanced Techniques
- The Japanese Minister of Seaweed told the Sydney Times, "Irlesplective of statement made by Honourable Undersecletary for Squid Tentacles, is no longah possiber for Nippon-sei to lereglate...legarate...relegate our plofits to whims of intelnationar markets."
- As the Scottish philosopher John Locke said, "Yer nae a philosophical thinkin' mahn wi'out ye can eat ten stone of squid tentacles at one go."
Variation: dialect interrupted by pretentious non-dialect
- In the novel "Huckleberry Hound" by Mark Twain, the protagonist ruminates on the nature of humanity: "Now I started in to ponderin' about Jim and me. I wuz white and he wuz blacker'n a tar-kettle, but in the final analysis Socratic humanist dialectics inescapably led me to consider Jim a fully rational, fully human entity. Then I seen a catfish had done swallered the gizzards on my trotline and I quit ponderin' on Jim and commenced to haulin' thet catfish up onto the raft."
And the reverse:
- Despite protestations to the contrary, rationality can never be fully compatible with the conception of knowledge as ultimate reality. In sober truth, the author would instead contend that he gots his punkin haid stuck so fur into a derned pile of cowflop that the combined logographs of Kant, Hegel, and Hume cannot dislodge it.
edit Impossible acts and/or things
- Dame Brucie Ringlespot was arrested for embezzling 50 million pixels from Adobe Inc. He had intended to use them to corner the international markets in chartreuse, ecru, and burnt sienna.
- When calculated to 8 decimal places, the Golden Ratio (1.61803399) actually tastes more like chocolate than chocolate itself.
The difficulty of course is that stuff that is genuinely impossible and also funny is simply not in the standard operating procedures of most brains.
- Winnie Churchill was fated to die at 6:12 PM on a Sunday; however, an obtuse angle attacked him and ate 1 hour and 20 minutes so he passed away at 4:52 instead. (note: impossible but not very funny)
[tish] "There are three things," said General Eisenhower, "which will keep America free. Three things upon which our people can depend to preserve liberty. Three things which, should they fail, may plunge America into the abyss of totalitarianism. However..." The great warrior paused, peering out across the darkening Atlantic toward the invisible but never forgotten battlefields of Normandy.
[boom] "...No one knows what those three things are."
The boom is the easy part. It's the damned tish that takes the work.
edit General Advice
edit Include details, for God's sake
Basic writing technique, straight from The Art of Fiction
- 1A. The Vikings sailed to England and stole underwear from the English.
- 1B. The bearded, blood-crusted Vikings sailed their Chris-Craft yachts to ports like Stainesbury and ripped the silken undergarments from the cowering, teary-eyed English nobility.
edit Active verbs
- The wind was blowing hard, and the shingles were coming off the roof and were skittering across the forecourt like bats. Oscar Wilde was in his satin dressing gown when he answered the door, and he was shaking like a man who had eaten a blacksnake.
- The wind blustered and shingles tore from the roof and skittered across the forecourt like bats. Oscar Wilde answered the door in his wine-red dressing gown, shaking like a man who had eaten a blacksnake.
Choose yer rhyme scheme, cowboy.
- The moon, you say, is round;
- Your feet are on the ground.
- I think I'll moon your mom,
- And set you up the bomb.
- You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
- See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the Dancing Queen
And give a thought to rhythm too.
- Will you go to Flanders field
- and see what crumpet that may yield?
- Sister Sue Vera is salty and sweet
- She really likes it when boys lick her feet.
- Galloping, galloping, the hangman rides
- Rubber galoshes and a sheep's insides
- Carried in baskets, and in jars and pails
- Fixed to his horsie with nine inch nails.