Uncyclopedia:How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid

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{{Title|How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid}}
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[[Image:Buy4cheap.biz.png|thumb|Ask for this title at Barnes & Noble and they will simply look at you like a....naw, forget it.]]
'''[[Uncyclopedia:Shortcut|Longcut]]:<br />[[UN:How you might go about writing something that is funny, rather than writing something that is stupid, which would of course in no way imply that you are stupid, although if you are, we mean no offense|UN:How you might go<br />about writing something<br />which is funny, rather than<br />writing something which<br />is stupid, which would<br />of course in no<br />way imply that you<br />are stupid, although<br />if you are, we mean<br />no offense]]'''</div>
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{{shortcut|[[UN:HTBFANJS]]}}
{{Q|Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.|Oscar Wilde|homogeneous, repeated potty humor}}
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{{Q|A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.|Emerson|the hobgoblins who come here just to write fart jokes}}
{{Q|Anybody can write a [[three word article]]. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.|Oscar Wilde|writing}}
 
{{Q|Great articles are 1% inspiration and 99% masturbation.|Albert Einstein|writing}}
 
   
In this article you will learn in 17 easy steps how to be creative, original and inimitable. The process was broken down to be so easy, even children can apply it. After reading it, you will be qualified to be funny for a living. If someone says you're not funny, you just have to show your certification.
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Welcome! This [[nutshell]] article will show [[nut]]s how to write something that is [[funny]] and not just [[stupid]] hence its name. Of course, to writers who ''are'' just stupid (and sensitive about it), we start with a profuse apology, though you too can learn to write funny [[Uncyclopedia]] articles.
   
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Once you finish reading this and write an article of your own, you will be [[Insane|certifiably]] funny; and if anyone doubts it, you can point them here and tell him you are an Uncyclopedian, and that should settle that!
   
''Note: Some of the ideas here are [[spork]]ed from [[Prolixipaedia Manual of Comedic Writing]].''
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This is a guide, not a rulebook. Each of its points has been broken somewhere, and really good writing or a really good result is something we all respect more than rules. Almost as much as threatening to publish photos of an Admin cross-dressing.
   
{| class="toccolours" style="margin: 0 auto; text-align: center;"
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==Understand the big picture==
! style="background: #ccf;font-size: 120%;"|'''This text was considered too serious, and therefore put into a box:'''
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{{Main|Uncyclopedia:Projects}}
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Uncyclopedia is a '''satire''' of an encyclopedia, as ''[[The Daily Show]]'' is of television news. This is the "frame" into which every article fits. Uncyclopedia gives your writing a big comedy push, by making it look like Wikipedia. Your writing should fit in the frame and help feed this biggest joke of all, that Uncyclopedia really thinks it is telling the truth about real-world subjects.
|Uncyclopedia gets about 300 [[Special:Newpages|new articles]] a day. <br/> Out of those 300, about 290 of them [[Special:Log/delete|die]] before they turn 1 day old.<br/> Don't let this happen to you! '''Follow the advice below.'''
 
|}
 
   
[[Image:Buy4cheap.biz.png|thumb|Now in print!]]
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How does a frame work? On ''The Daily Show,'' Jon Stewart looks like an anchorman, and delivers the same news as CNN does, but with material that makes fun of both the newsmakers and of anchormen. This is satire: the same basic content with specific, pointed, '''unexpected''' contrasts. Stewart doesn't sing funny songs or throw [[pie]]s at people's faces. His comedy preserves the frame of a news broadcast, as your articles should preserve the frame of an encyclopedia.
 
==The Big Picture: Understand the "Frame" of the Uncyclopedia Setup==
 
What makes Uncyclopedia great is that it's a '''satire''' of an encyclopedia, kind of like [[The Daily Show]] is of television news. This is called a "frame," a clever outline into which your brilliant humor can go. We actually have several "satirical frames," such as [[UnNews]], [[UnBooks]], [[Why?]], [[HowTo]] and [[UnTunes]]. This just means we've done half of the work for you, and you can fill in the rest if you understand how a frame works.
 
   
How does a frame work? Let's use The Daily Show as an example. Jon Stewart delivers the same news as CNN does, but with pointed contrasts that mock newsmakers' and anchors' foibles. This is satire: same basic content with specific, pointed contrasts. '''Humor is about unexpected contrast.''' And just as many people get their news from The Daily Show, so do many of our [[Uncyclopedia:Best_of|best articles]] have a great deal of serious, Encyclopedia-quality information; the presence of this serious information actually makes the funny contrasts possible.
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If you have funny stuff you want to write that can't fit the encyclopedia frame, we have many other projects. If you want to present a cracked version of a news release, take a look at [[UnNews]]. You can write step-by-step [[HowTo]] guides, [[UnBooks]], explanations of [[Why?]] something is the way it is, satire [[UnTunes]], and so on. Rather than a free-form website for amateur comedy, we are a series of projects in which the articles fit into various frames.
   
Consider Uncyclopedia a brilliant setup for your jokes, and the rest of this page will show you how to write the punchline.
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==Have a comedy plan==
 
==Be a Comedian: Advice About Nonsense and Opposites==
 
 
[[Image:It-clown.jpg|thumb|159px|This guy wanted to be funny, but failed to read our guide.]]
 
[[Image:It-clown.jpg|thumb|159px|This guy wanted to be funny, but failed to read our guide.]]
*'''The truth is usually funnier than nonsense. The funniest pages are those closest to the truth.'''
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:''Main article: [[Uncyclopedia:The_Creative_Process|How to get ideas for your article]]''
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The key to writing a fine Uncyclopedia article is first to decide how you are going to be funny. Preferably, not that you are going to spew a bunch of nonsense or pluck ideas out of the air. Think about your subject and decide how the page will play off the truth. For example:
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#"Erik Estrada was born in 480182525234 BC to Chuck Norris and Oprah for the sole purpose of fucking up humanity."
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#:'''Bad.''' This sentence combines an unbelievable date, memes (Chuck Norris and Oprah) that serve as noise and not yucks, and an outrageous assertion that doesn't relate to anything — with a needless swear for added laughs.
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#"Erik Estrada parlayed a successful stint with the California Highway Patrol into an acting career."
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#:'''Better.''' There is a plan here: Estrada played a cop on TV in ''CHiPs,'' and the writer might intend to deliberately confuse the actor with the role he played.
   
:*Example: "Erik Estrada was born in 480182525234 BC to Chuck Norris and Oprah for the sole purpose of fucking up humanity."
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What are sample comedy plans for an article?
::'''Stupid'''. [[Pointless drivel]]. Although possibly funny within the somewhat dry context of the page, without that contrast it lacks any kind of humor.
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*That an actor is really the character he played or thinks he is (example above).
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*That a celebrity is the exact opposite of the way we know him.
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*That the article writer hopelessly mistakes the article's subject for something that sounds similar, or for something completely unrelated.
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*That the article will explain why the things we like about a show are simply impossible.
   
:*Example: "Erik Estrada is an American television actor, known for a successful career in the California Highway Patrol following his retirement from the television, or 'prostitution' industry."
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Many articles are [[patent nonsense]]. Randomness can get a laugh the first time, but it soon gets dull. If someone types in "[[Frodo Baggins]]", he wants to read a humorous slant on Frodo Baggins, not an article on a Dutch mink farmer with laser-beam eyes.
::'''Funnier''' because it's closer to the truth. "CHiPS" was a real TV show. Blending fact with fiction, or blurring that line makes for better comedy. This is not a particularly hilarious line, but you get the idea.
 
   
Perhaps two-thirds of the articles are random nonsense. Little to nothing distinguishes them. [[Patent nonsense]] can be hilarious, it may get a laugh the first time, but it quickly gets dull. If someone types in "[[Frodo Baggins]]", the article should have more to do with Frodo Baggins than if they typed in "[[Dinosaur]]". They want to read a humorous slant on Frodo Baggins, not an article on a Dutch mink farmer with laser-beam eyes.
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If you've been handed a topic and told to come up and talk about it to the rest of the class for five minutes, that was to cure you of stage fright, not to hear your best stuff. Many articles read like five-minute blabs. The better ones are the result of advance planning.
   
'''A longer, but still clever, article is better than spamming the index full of thousands of small one liners about giraffes and bathtubs.''' It forces us to clean up the bad stuff. Please write good stuff.
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== Some basic techniques of humor writing ==
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[[File:Delonte West (Celtics).jpg|thumb|right|If your reader sets up on the right, you go left! And don't foul him!]]
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The previous section gave your article a game plan, but you still need to learn some moves to the laughter [[Basketball|basket]].
   
Keep this all in mind when you write an article, and things will be good.
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===Misdirect your reader===
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The most basic move is to keep your reader scrambling. Feint left, juke right! Set him up for a serious read and then drop absurdity on his head!
   
*If all else fails, follow rule three, unless that also fails. Then you should stop writing and become a politician.
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Be serious with the dry stuff to lull your reader into not expecting that cooler of Gatorade humor. If you wisecrack with a person's date of birth and death (like "9000 BC"), the reader will start to tune you out. Make your article look just like Wikipedia until you drop the hammer on him!
   
== Some basic techniques of humor writing ==
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Here are some examples of misdirecting the reader:
*'''Repetition'''. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then repeat it, and then say it some more. Two or three times. Example: ''In his spare time, young Luke Skywalker enjoyed driving his land speeder, whining, shooting womp-rats, cruising for chicks in Mos Eisley, whining, nerf-herding, and whining.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be careful.
 
[[Image:Votechange.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Don't be afraid to ask others what they think of your articles.]]
 
*'''Misdirection'''. A little more sophisticated and "witty" than repetition. Appear to go one direction with your writing, but end up in a completely different place. For instance: ''Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read''. - '''''Groucho Marx'''''
 
:If your readers see where you're going with your joke, it won't be as funny, but if they don't see what's coming, you can probably sift through their wallet before the paramedics arrive.
 
   
*'''Escalation''': The key to the absurd style, but all around a good technique. Start out reasonable and sensible, then become increasingly extreme, irrational, and absurd. Example: ''Among the monastic sins listed by Saint Anselm are [[sodomy]], [[bestiality]], [[masturbation]], dry-humping pillows, wearing clean underwear, touching oneself below the neck, heavy breathing, and approaching closer than 40 furlongs to a female of any mammalian species.'' Starting out absurd and staying that way is rarely funny. Absurdity can be funny, but it helps to work up to it from a serious- or at least, less-absurd- starting point. This is true whether you're dealing with a single sentence, a whole article, or putting live moray eels down your pants.
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*'''Be silly about serious things''', as does [[Segregation]] or [[Axis of Evil Hot Dog Eating Competition]]. Approach a very serious topic with outrageous lightness, the Pollyanna treatment, the loony perspective, where the "Axis of Evil" is turned into a hot dog eating competition. That's something the reader won't expect.
   
*'''Repetition'''. <span color="#990000">This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: ''Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.</span>
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*'''Be serious about silly things'''. Examples include [[Handgun]] and [[The GI Joe-Transformers War]]. Pointing your finger and going "bang bang!" is child's play. Morphing this into an article about robot Nazis surprises your reader as surely as the previous example.
   
*'''Being Self-referential'''. Again, sort of an obvious technique but it can be funny. "Repetition" repeats, "Misdirection" veers off into Australia, "Escalation" escalates. See this article's section on '''Being Self Referential'''.
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[[Image:Kingarthur01.jpg|thumb|230px|right|This is how a straight man looks.]]
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*'''Use a straight man'''. Don't be ridiculous from cover to cover. A little seriousness makes absurdity funnier. A comic routine uses a '''straight man''' for this: Marge Simpson's seriousness throws Homer's idiocy into sharp relief; Graham Chapman plays his King Arthur completely deadpan, making the rest of ''Monty Python and the Holy Grail'' that much more absurd by comparison. So some parts of your article are your "straight man": the background information, facts, and statements that seem factual. These parts build and support the jokes and make them funnier by comparison. You will sound more like a lunatic when there is a sane man in the room. Examples include [[Hiroshima]] and [[Fire hydrant]].
   
*'''Understatement'''. For instance, "many people would say that the Holocaust was not a good thing". Writing "OMG this kid in my class Joe Shmoe is so stupid!" is not as funny as taking a more understated approach such as "Joe Shmoe is not quite as intelligent as a mildly retarded woodchuck suffering from late-stage syphilis." Not that you're allowed to write about your classmates, though. An example is [[Coruscant]], a "slightly overpopulated planet". Not that the article is good, though.
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*'''Absurd sequences''': A sequence that starts out reasonable and sensible, then becomes increasingly absurd is funny. A sequence that ends exactly the way it began is almost needless. Example: ''Among the monastic sins listed by Saint Anselm are [[sodomy]], [[bestiality]], wearing clean underwear, and getting closer than 40 miles to a woman.'' Your reader expects a list of actual sins then you cross him up! It works for a single sentence, a whole article, or putting live moray eels down your pants.
[[Image:Approach01.jpg|thumb|right|275px|There are many angles you can try when writing a funny article.]]
 
*'''Reversal'''. Example: Local cancer loses battle with woman. Other example: ''Work is the curse of the drinking classes.'' - '''''Oscar Wilde'''''.
 
   
*'''Repetition'''. ''This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: ''Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.''
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*'''Absurd status''': [[Stephen Colbert]] has suggested that all good humor involves status change. For example: you are walking down the street and bump into the President of the United States. He apologizes to you profusely, gets flustered, then asks you for your autograph. That's funny!
   
* '''Circularity'''. For an example, see '''Being Circular'''.
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*'''Irony''': Sometimes, a touch of irony is great for a twist in an article. For example, if a man walking down the street is hit by an ambulance and one of the paramedics jumps out and says, "Oh God, oh God, I'm so sorry. Please, someone call 911, quick!" That could be funny. Even [[random humor]] — which this guide advises against — can be funny, if it occurs when the reader is least expecting it. [[Oscar Wilde]] being decapitated but then growing a new head is random, but funny when it happens in [[The Most Quotable Smackdown of All Time]].
   
*'''Being Circular'''. For an example, see '''Circularity'''. (again, this is a dumb but effective technique, if it isn't overused).
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===Other techniques===
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Here are some other good comedy moves:
   
* '''Be silly about serious things'''. Examples include [[Segregation]] or [[Axis of Evil Hot Dog Eating Competition]]. This mostly goes along with the misdirection rule. If your article is going to be about a serious topic, write it from a loony perspective. An article on "Axis of Evil" sounds like it would have to do with current/historical events, but throwing a hot dog eating competition into the mix isn't something you might expect.
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*'''Repetition'''. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then repeat it, and then say it some more. Two or three times. Example: ''In his spare time, young Luke Skywalker enjoyed driving his land speeder, whining, shooting womp-rats, cruising for chicks in Mos Eisley, whining, nerf-herding, and whining.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be careful.
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[[Image:Votechange.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Don't be afraid to ask others what they think of your articles.]]
   
* '''Be serious about silly things'''. Examples include [[Handgun]] and [[The GI Joe-Transformers War]]. Pretty much the opposite of the previous one. Folding your hand into a gun shape, pointing it, and going "bang bang!" isn't something you'd expect to have a grave perspective, but it can really add to the humour of the article, especially when you step back and realize "wait a minute, they're talking about robot Nazis! That's completely ridiculous!" We don't recommend you write an article on robot Nazis, however.
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*'''Imitation'''. [[:Category:Pages that look like the things they're about|Pages that look like the things they're about]] are a category we especially enjoy. So the article on [[Nihilism]] is blank; the article on [[Redundancy]] is redundant, repetitive, and repeats itself; and frankly, the less said about [[Sexual innuendo]], the better. There is an article on [[e e cummings]] all in lowercase, and many other examples. But be sure the average reader will be familiar enough with the page's subject to understand that a bizarre page style is imitation. Otherwise, plant serious hints in your article which, in passing, explain it to the reader.
   
*'''Repetition'''. <span color="#000066">This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: ''Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.</span>
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*'''Clever choice of words''' can supercharge your writing, no matter how funny it is. For more about this, see [[Uncyclopedia:Choice of Words]].
[[Image:Kingarthur01.jpg|thumb|230px|righr|Straight man.]]
 
*'''The Straight Man'''. A common beginner's mistake is to be ridiculous the whole way through. However, being serious is a vital part of being frivolous. They're yin and yang, opposites that need each other. In a comic routine, this role is served by the 'straight man'. Marge Simpson's seriousness throws Homer's idiocy into sharp relief; Graham Chapman plays his King Arthur completely deadpan, making the rest of Monty Python and the Holy Grail that much more absurd by comparison. Generally speaking, you'll need some sections of your writing to serve as the "straight man". These are all the non-joke things: the background information, facts or factual sounding statements, the stuff that builds up to and supports the jokes, the punchlines, the non-sequiturs and the bizarre twists, making them sound that much more brain damaged by comparison. If your goal is to sound like a lunatic, it helps to have a sane man in the room. Examples include [[Hiroshima]] and [[Fire hydrant]].
 
   
*'''Write in a Consistent Style'''. Uncyclopedia uses a lot of different styles. Some articles read as if they're been [[UnBooks:The Gruesome Book of Grues|written by a college professor]], many sound like they're [[Sprite comic|written by a mentally challenged 13-year-old]], and most of the... well, it's not entirely clear that these were [[PHNURR!|written by something with opposable thumbs and no fingers]]. ''However'' it usually works best to write a single article in a single style. That is, you would read it and assume a single person wrote it. It should ''not'' read like paragraph 1 is the work of a five year old girl, paragraph 2 is the work of a crotchety old man, and paragraph 3 resulted from a collaboration by an epileptic goat, a squid with Alzheimer's, and an emo kid. There are exceptions (say, writing on multiple personality disorder) but quality articles usually follow this rule. Even [[AAAAAAAAA!]] which lacks sentences, rudiments of grammar, words, and 25 of the 26 letters of the alphabet, follows this rule.
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*'''Repetition'''. <SPAN STYLE="color:#700">This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: ''Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.</SPAN>
   
*'''State the Obvious'''- This rule can sometimes be hilarious, especially when the reader isn't expecting it. Other times, it can just leave them with a soiled feeling when the joke falls flat. A good example is a picture of a gay rights protestor holding up a sign that says "'''Homosexuals are Gay'''". See? You wouldn't expect to see that. Use it sparingly; an entire article of obvious statements will just come across as kind of stupid.
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*'''Self-reference'''. Again, sort of an obvious technique but it can be funny. "Repetition" repeats, "Misdirection" veers off into Australia, "Escalation" escalates. See this article's section on '''Self-reference'''.
   
*Did I mention '''Repetition'''?
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*'''Understatement'''. For instance, "many people would say that the Holocaust was not a good thing". Writing "[[Joe Biden]] is so stupid!" is not as funny as taking a more understated approach, such as: "[[Joe Biden]] is not quite as intelligent as a mildly retarded woodchuck suffering from late-stage syphilis." It's funny that our [[Coruscant]] article describes a "slightly overpopulated planet".
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[[Image:Approach01.jpg|thumb|right|275px|There are many angles you can try when writing a funny article.]]
   
==When Writing Nonsense, be Consistent==
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*'''Repetition'''. <SPAN STYLE="color:#900">This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: ''Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won.'' Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.</SPAN>
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*'''Reversal'''. Example: Local cancer loses battle with woman. Other example: ''Work is the curse of the drinking classes.'' - '''''Oscar Wilde'''''.
   
*'''If you can't stay close to the truth, try to be consistent across many articles.''' A good example is the [[Oprah]] conspiracy series. Despite the fact that it is entirely incoherent, it's incoherent across a large span of history. This is Good.
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*'''State the Obvious'''- This rule can sometimes be hilarious, especially when the reader isn't expecting it. Other times, it can fall flat. A good example is a picture of a gay rights protestor holding up a sign that says "'''Homosexuals are Gay'''". You wouldn't expect to see that! Use it sparingly; an entire article of obvious statements will just come across as stupid.
*:Be sure your string of barely coherent prose does in fact contain at least one(1) degree of celsius between each serving — or 1/6 of a "[[Kevin Bacon]]."
 
   
*'''[[Random humor]] can be funny if it is not seen as being [[serious]].''' Keep in mind that not everyone will get the joke, and often get upset at those who write random humour. Things like [[Oscar Wilde]] dying from having someone cut off his head, and then later it grew back is random, but funny like found in [[The Most Quotable Smackdown of All Time]].
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*Did I mention <SPAN STYLE="color:#D00">'''Repetition'''?</SPAN>
[[Image:Danet.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Even [[Dante]] would have struggled at first on Uncyclopedia.]]
 
*'''Be sure to check existing articles.''' Nothing is worse than writing a brilliantly clever piece only to find that the person or object in question is portrayed completely differently on numerous other pages. Research for a moment before adding. Of course, this inconsistency might stand on its own, but it's good to know that you're not plotzing up any large "sagas".
 
   
*'''This is Uncyclopedia, not Wikipedia.''' We're not writing "the Truth" (or "Neutral Point of View") here, so the important thing is whether a given individual article is entertaining/interesting in its own right, on a stand-alone, individual basis. In fact, it can be great to have, across different articles within a topic area, a different viewpoint in each article. It keeps the creative juices going for the introduction of fresh ideas and a variety of perspectives and approaches. As well, what's entertaining can vary from reader to reader. Maybe a reader who wouldn't find the first viewpoint on a topic area as expressed in Article 1 funny might find the second or subsequent viewpoints on that topic area in Articles 2, 3, etc. funny. Also, if you try to keep to one storyline across articles just for the sake of consistency, there's the possibility that some of the various linking articles in the series may become boring, unfunny articles that aren't interesting on an individual-article basis; instead of the linking articles, consider giving these details within the main article itself.
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==Write nonsense well==
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'''Start it well'''. The start of your article needs to attract your reader by giving him a taste of the fun he is about to have. Digressions, overlong lists (including the ten other names by which the subject is known), and [[UNQUOTE|overuse of initial quotations]] kill this effect. New authors who haven't read the entire article but stick a gag into its first sentence are not helping.
   
*Try to '''avoid writing over or spoiling''' any particular article that is otherwise a good article. If you're thinking of editing that particular article, try to be '''consistent in content and style''' with the existing content in that particular article. Otherwise, the article will begin to look like a messy, random, unfunny [[hodgepodge]] (although hodgepodges can be nice, in special cases). Thus, if you have a different viewpoint or different style from that already expressed in that particular article, you should move on and find a compatible article with your viewpoint or style or else start a new article (it's easy to do), rather than writing over or adding inconsistent content.
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'''Write consistently'''. Uncyclopedia uses many different styles. Some articles have a [[UnBooks:The Gruesome Book of Grues|scholarly feel]], while others are [[PHNURR!|deliberately stupid]]. But a single article should use a single style. It distracts the reader when the style changes from section to section, as though the page were written by committee. Any exceptions should be intentional say, writing on multiple-personality disorder. Even [[AAAAAAAAA!]], which lacks grammar, words, and 25 of the letters of the alphabet, is consistent.
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*'''Which tone to use?''' Scientific paper, or slack-jawed drivel? Before starting a new article, decide what style of writing best fits your subject and your comedy plan. Try it several ways to see which seems funniest.
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*'''British or American?''' We don't care; there are Uncyclopedians everywhere. Use your own style except when that would be a distraction, given what you're writing about.
   
==Spend a Little Bit of Time==
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[[Image:Danet.jpg|thumb|left|200px|[[Dante]] was one of the first Uncyclopedians, and struggled mightily to be funny.]]
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'''Write compatibly with what was already there.''' Read the whole article and understand the original authors' choice of style, comedy goal, and region, before you edit. Don't just replace words with their opposites — you will break something! If you want to create an "alternate theory" to what's in the article, or add a section from a different point of view, create your own article, or find another article where your edit fits better. We allow multiple articles on the same subject, we don't care if they contradict each other, and we have many ways to point readers to all of them. It's invigorating to have articles with different viewpoints, especially as readers' senses of humor are different. For several [[politician]]s, we have competing articles. We do care if an article contradicts itself, because random [[hodgepodge]]s — unless intentional — repel the reader. If you find an unintentional hodgepodge, and can repair it, God speed to you!
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Make each article funny on its own. A story line that spans several articles may force the reader to read them all to get the joke. If you find yourself creating such a "story arc," consider copying in any information the reader will need to enjoy the article, even at the risk of repeating something said elsewhere.
  +
  +
==Spend some time==
 
[[Image:Contributor01.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Spend some time relaxing in your pants, with a beer and a smoke. Perhaps what you think is comic gold could do with another edit.]]
 
[[Image:Contributor01.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Spend some time relaxing in your pants, with a beer and a smoke. Perhaps what you think is comic gold could do with another edit.]]
*'''If you spent ten seconds writing it, perhaps ten people will like it. If you spent ten minutes, you might have hundreds.''' Even though we're full of lies and bullshit, the amount of work necessary to write a funny article may be on par with [[Wikipedia]]. The quality of our articles varies, but as a parody, it doesn't mean our quality standard should drop, just that our content is different.
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*'''A quality article attracts readers''' and may be [[VFHS|voted to the main page]]. Our business is parody, but that only means that our information is crap, not that our articles should look like crap! As much effort as it takes [[Wikipedia]] to track down the correct facts, it can take just as much effort to present a spoof of it that is truly entertaining.
   
*'''Moreover, simple, unadorned [[Uncyclopedia:Writing lists|lists]] are rarely funny.''' You know the type: "List of people who can't spell" or "List of stupid things." Sometimes simple lists can be useful in launching a broader idea, as in [[United States Presidents|US Presidents]], but trying to be funny by listing "people who Oscar Wilde hates" isn't, well, funny. Or useful. If you must make a list, don't make it a quickie; at least spend some time fleshing it out, like in [[Worst 100 Movies of All Time]]. Finally, make sure that most of the article's content is not a list unless "List" is in the title. A ratio of about 95% content to 5% list might be acceptable.
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*'''Research.''' It may be funny to take an article in random directions. But it's especially funny to research the real thing such as reading the corresponding Wikipedia article and write stuff that is an absurd portrayal of reality. The result will be an article that's not just something anyone could have written.
   
*'''Research.''' A good chunk of stuff on here is random, and random can be funny. But the truly great articles require a bit of research. In order to effectively parody or satirize a subject, do some research on the real thing first, and your jokes will be better and actually make sense.
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*'''Write actual prose.''' If you have several ideas, simply turning them into a list isn't as funny as when you spend the time to develop each idea. We say more about over-use of lists [[#Avoid lists|below]].
   
*'''Delete, delete, delete'''. More writing is more funny, [[Long article|right?]] Not necessarily. There's a reason why it's possible to make a living as an editor, a person whose job is mainly to delete prose and throw manuscripts in the trash: most writing is bad. Good writers understand this, and spend as much time mercilessly hacking their work apart as they do creating it in the first place, even throwing away completed novels to start from scratch. The ability to look at your own work, ask, "does this suck?" and answer honestly is one of the major differences between the pros and amateurs. Writing is as much about destruction as creation, so spend at least as much time editing as writing. Another way to think about it: writing is like cooking, it's as much about what you leave out as what you put in. When cooking a soup, you do everything possible not to put crap into it, shouldn't you do the same when you write?
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*'''Write actual articles.''' Articles that consist of a single sentence to play off the page name to play word-association or deliver a single punch line will be deleted, funny or not, because they don't support the encyclopedia "frame." Take the time to attack the subject from several different comedy directions.
   
*'''Revise, revise, revise'''. Maybe you misspelled a word, perhaps you thought of a clever joke, or a Photoshopped jpg to ice that cake. To create a really polished piece of work, you have to revisit it and smooth off all the imperfections. True, some people can hammer out a perfect first draft, but most people can't. Even Shakespeare devoted time to revising and polishing his plays.
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*'''Revise and delete.''' More is not necessarily funnier! Most writing is bad — especially most first drafts. Get a good night's sleep, then try re-reading your work as though for the first time. None of us here is paid by page count, and the quickest way to improve an article is to cut out the bad ingredients, no matter how funny you thought they were at first. Correct your own misspellings and errors, reconsider all those side-jokes, evaluate everything to see whether it feeds the article as a whole. Even Shakespeare devoted time to revising and polishing his plays.
   
==The "@#$%^&*" Rule: Being Crass or Tasteless Doesn't Automatically Make Everything Funny==
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==Tastelessness is not funny by itself==
 
[[Image:Rollbackers10.jpg|thumb|right|270px|'Did you just make a joke we hadn't heard of before?' Uncyclopedia's rollbackers are there to check on edits.]]
 
[[Image:Rollbackers10.jpg|thumb|right|270px|'Did you just make a joke we hadn't heard of before?' Uncyclopedia's rollbackers are there to check on edits.]]
*'''There's no reason to swear like a [[Drill sergeant|US Marine Drill Instructor]] or make tasteless references every other sentence.''' In many lame formula jokes, crassness and/or profanity are/is the "punchline." It's usually not funny, especially if you're hung over the next day and looking over your article. Only in very few, very rare situations is crassness what makes a funny joke funny (like 'fucking [[Razorlight|Johnny Borrell]]', because he acts like that. The rest of the article is pretty dire though). Please don't use it as your primary source of humor. This includes those regurgitated dead baby jokes, as well as jokes about regurgitated, dead babies. Come up with something original, or at least put it in an original manner, rather than rely on shock factor as a fucking crutch.
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'''Not everyone likes scatological or "toilet" humor''', so there's no reason to swear like a [[drill sergeant]] in every other sentence. In fact, many people simply find it immature and disgusting, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Obscenity can be funny when:
  +
*The reader isn't expecting it; such as a sudden swear in an article that had kept a scholarly tone
  +
*When it puts an article in the style of the thing or person it's about. If you are writing about [[Razorlight|Johnny fucking Borrell]], the swear word has a point: It's imitative.
   
*'''Not everyone likes [[Feces|scatological]], or "toilet" humor'''. In fact, many people simply find it immature and disgusting, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Just because you find the thought of defecation and [[Farting contest|farting]] hilarious doesn't mean that others do.
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Likewise calling something "gay" — like "slutty" and "greedy" and "Nazi" if you do the work to show you are making a comedy point, good. If you are dropping epithets to avoid doing work, the article won't be funny.
   
*'''Not everyone likes obscene, or explicit humor'''. In fact, some people may find it annoying, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Just because you find explicit refernces to anatomy hilarious doesn't mean that others do. Try to use humor which actually relates to the topic of the article, not humor which is meant to shock simply through its explicitness and utter unrelatedness to the topic.
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Always think about amusing the reader — '''not amusing yourself''' by shocking the reader or making him uncomfortable.
   
*'''Gay jokes.''' As of the time of this writing, there are more hits for the term 'gay' on Uncyclopedia than for the term 'the'. Adding the word 'gay' or a reference to gay parents for every person under the sun doesn't make the article funny - it makes it sound like it was written by a grade schooler. Again, come up with something original.
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==Avoid lists==
  +
[[Image:Credits01.jpg|thumb|right|230px|The difference between a logical list (sort of) and a random list]]
  +
{{Main|Uncyclopedia:Writing lists}}
  +
Sections entitled '''Trivia''' or '''Fun facts''', and other sections that are simply lists of one-liners or names, are not funny enough.
  +
*Instead of stating a funny idea as a list item, take the time to develop it into a truly funny paragraph.
  +
*Just putting a name into a list, thinking it will be funny with no additional work, is using it as a meme and not writing humor at all.
  +
*No list gets funnier merely by getting longer, and many get less funny.
   
==Avoid [[Cliché]]s (most of the time)==
+
Simple lists invite anonymous overnight editors to try to "improve" the list by adding ''just one more thing.'' Many of these editors didn't read the whole article and don't understand the whole joke; and the list becomes more and more random. Likewise, stating an "Alternate Theory" invites many more alternate theories with little to do with the original theme.
[[Image:Domestic01.jpg|thumb|right|210px|Avoid clichés. Let someone else do the washing up.]]
 
*'''Many uninventive definitions follow overused formulas.''' These include:
 
:*''the term'' ...was invented by...
 
:*''the term'' ...Is a Rock band...
 
:*''the term'' ...was president of...
 
:*Infinite loop pages. We have a category full of these, please, no more.
 
:*Articles consisting solely of "See (article)" (If you need to, put on the page: <code><nowiki>#REDIRECT[[Page name here]]</nowiki></code>).
 
:*Saying the exact opposite of reality.
 
:*''This person''...did something...''a period of time''...after his death. Just stupid, not funny.
 
:*Using a film or television quote with little or no context. This especially goes for the "Did you know...?" section.
 
:*Referencing an extra-dimension for no reason. For example: "is traditionally used to slide through the 4th dimension". Just not funny and used all the time.
 
   
*Of course there are times when there is a good legitimate reason for using such formulas but are quite often used as a quick lazy definition when you can think up a good one.
+
Lists that could be endless (such as "List of people who didn't fight him" or "List of stupid things" or "people whom Oscar Wilde hates") quickly become endless. Galleries of images often have these same problems (see [[#Use pictures wisely|below]]).
   
:*'''Example:''' The Mongoose was invented by Oprah in 1378 B.C
+
If you must make a list, discuss each list item, as in [[Worst 100 Movies of All Time]], or break it into different jokes, as in [[Worst songs to play at a funeral]].
::'''Not Funny.'''
 
   
:*'''Example:''' George W. Bush is a highly liberal communist dedicated to gay rights
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==Avoid clichés==
::'''Not Funny. Better than above, but still.'''
+
[[Image:Domestic01.jpg|thumb|right|210px|Avoid clichés. Let someone else do the washing up.]]
  +
:''Main article: [[Uncyclopedia:Choice of Words#A simple style is most encyclopedic|A simple style is most encyclopedic]]''
  +
Many uninventive definitions follow overused formulas. These include:
   
:*'''Example:''' Creationism is the idea that God was so bored out of His mind that He spent 6 days creating everything on our planet, and for good measure put in several jokes to fool us into believing it must have taken Him much longer.
+
*'''The first and second person''': Avoid using the words "I," "me," or "my." Even avoid the editorial "we," and don't address the reader directly ("you"). Accept your off-stage role as the playwright; don't put yourself into the article as the stand-up comic. As elsewhere, you can break this rule when the reader will surely not be expecting it. But it's tedious to break it so much that it looks as though you want more attention.
::'''Funny!''' Why? It's not a throwaway, plus it gives us a reason to laugh. That crazy God.
 
   
* In the 'Did you know' section, avoid using the words 'I', 'me', or 'my'.
+
*'''Nonsense numbers.''' Avoid extremely large numbers, like 2193732483249 or 9999999999999. A [[42|smaller, but round number]] can be funnier.
  +
**This includes assertions that more than 100% of a population is something or other: please exaggerate in more clever ways than simply using a statistic that can't be true.
  +
**'''Ridiculous dates''' simply confuse the reader; they don't make your article funny. This includes saying someone did something after the year you say he died. Unless your article is about time travel, you're not going to make someone laugh by choosing ridiculous dates; you'll just make him conclude it's not worth the time.
   
*If a joke immediately pops into your head after three seconds' worth of pondering, assume it will occur to many, many people as well, and a large fraction of them will probably make it in other pages. Result: unfunny repetition.
+
==Avoid stagnant jokes==
:*In particular: dear god, please lay off the Star Wars jokes, and saying so-and-so is a Sith, and such-and-such did whatever with [[Chewbacca]].
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[[Image:Roundhousekick2.jpg|thumb|right|Never ever talk about this guy's habit of roundhouse kicking people, places and things or else, well...]]
  +
"Stagnant" is like the inside of your refrigerator after the power has been out for a couple days. Stagnant things aren't automatically unfunny like the clichés discussed in the previous section; they have become unfunny just by being repeated to death.
   
*'''Extremely large numbers.''' (like 2193732483249 or 9999999999999) should be generally avoided. Sometimes a [[42|smaller, but round number]] can be funnier. This includes assertions that more than 100% of a population is something or other: please exaggerate in more clever ways than simply using a statistic that can't be true.
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You see, if the [[newbie]] sees that a lot of our articles deal with [[kitten huffing]] (it was funny in 2007), and he works that into his new article, people don't say, "Look! the new guy fits in because he writes about kitten huffing just like we do!" They say, "Look! the new guy can't write humor but only imitate." So '''be original.''' The more you see an ingredient used in articles, the further back in your comedy Spice Rack you should reach.
   
*'''Ridiculous dates''' simply serve to confuse the reader; they don't make your article funny. Remember: you want the reader to actually ''read'' your article, not just look at it, decide that it is nonsense or incoherent, and leave. Unless your article is about time travel, you're not going to make someone laugh by choosing ridiculous dates; you'll just make them stop reading.
+
There is nothing you absolutely have to avoid, if you have an obvious good reason or a very clever writing style. But anyway, avoid these things:
   
*'''Celebrities''': Really now, did celebrities do ''everything''? If you feel the need to insert a famous person into an unrelated article, make it one that is applicable to the topic - for example, saying "Eminem was the daughter of [[Pat Sajak]] and Mickey Mouse" is [[pointless drivel]]; however, "Eminem is the son of Dr. Dre and Queen Latifa" is much better, as while Eminem is obviously not their child, it parodies his adoption of black culture. Always remember to have a specific point for your words; if you don't have a point (except to write randomness), the reader's not going to see one, and they're going to tune your article out.
+
'''Pop culture.''' Don't expect instant Funny because something is going viral on the Web, is popular on TV, or is a high-grossing movie or a popular anime.
   
*'''Obscure origins''': How many articles have a "history" header that begins with "Nobody really knows where whateveritis came from"? Probably a lot, I'd guess. It takes time and creativity to invent a humorous origin for your topic, but it's worth it to avoid this cliché.
+
'''Caricatures.''' Unless you have a brilliant and original take on the subject, there has been enough about chavs, emos, basement-dwellers, nerds, gays, and so on.
   
*'''Listcruft''': Trivia sections, fun facts sections, and sections that are nothing but a simple list of one-liners or a list of names are likely to get removed from the article because this format is so overused and misused. Anybody can come along here and add to any list without understanding the whole joke, with the result that the list becomes more and more random and filled with old memes and/or vanity (names of unnotable people). Please avoid creating lists within your article if at all possible: make them into paragraphs instead.
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'''Memes.''' There are a few to be sure to avoid: [[Chuck Norris]], [[Russian Reversal]], [[Mr. T]], [[Steve Ballmer]], [[Kanye West]], [[kitten huffing]], and [[your mom]]. [[Captain Obvious]] and [[Captain Oblivious]] have worn out their welcome as ways to insert unfunny stuff in articles and call it funny. Also some new Hitler, Darth whatever, or Jesus.
   
==Avoid Stagnant Jokes==
+
If you must insert a celebrity into an unrelated article, have a point in mind. For example, saying "Eminem was the daughter of [[Pat Sajak]] and Mickey Mouse" is [[pointless drivel]]. But saying "Eminem is the son of Dr. Dre and Queen Latifa" might parody Eminem's adoption of black culture. Have a comedy goal and make everything in the article help you get there.
"Stagnant" is like the inside of your refrigerator after the power has been out for a couple days. Stagnant things aren't automatically unfunny like the clichés discussed in the previous section; they have become unfunny just by being repeated to death.
 
   
'''Stagnant jokes that interfere with the operation of Uncyclopedia may get you banned.''' These include redirecting featured pages and blanking of any page.
+
'''Pranking the reader.''' Yes, typing {{Tl|USERNAME}} into an article gets changed to the reader's Uncyclopedia username, and he gets all nervous about who typed '''his name''' into an article and how we already know so frickin' much about him! This joke is all worn out. Likewise, the many pieces of Wikicode you can type into an article to make it display differently on every different reading, mean you are amusing yourself and not the reader. Other techniques that don't amuse the reader but at most amuse you at his discomfort are pages that redirect or circle back to themselves and pages that seem to repeat the same thing forever (there is a [[:Category:Infinite loop pages|complete set]] of these). Your humor should not have to rely on techie tricks like these; it should just be, like, '''funny.'''
   
Lesser classes of stagnant jokes will just go away. It's an argument over taste that you are going to lose, unless you have an obvious good reason or a very clever writing style.
+
[[File:George_Bush_smiling.jpg|thumb|right|200px|My fellow 'merkins'. Remember: Dubya is no longer the US president.]]
+
'''Stagnant themes.''' Once you have chosen an article to write, its '''theme''' is the (funny) point you are trying to make. Some themes have become stagnant by overuse:
'''Pop culture.''' [[:Category:Tedious pop culture references|Tedious pop culture references]] are stale, including:
+
*That the writer of the article doesn't know about the subject, that he doesn't care, or that [[nobody cares]]. This has been done well a few times, but it instantly keeps your article from looking realistic, and it's no longer clever enough to justify that.
*Anything to do with [[Snakes on a Plane]], or [[TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL|300]], or 300 snakes on a plane.
 
*[[Emo]], Vin Diesel, Leeroy Jenkins, Killing Kenny (or Ran Cossack) jokes.
 
*Everything that has ever appeared on your chat browser in the last 24 months, or sites such as the [[4chan|Chans]], Something Awful, [[eBaum's World]], [[YTMND]], College Humor, [[VG Cats]], Ctrl+Alt+Del, Penny Arcade, or pretty much any other webcomic or web cartoon in existence. Especially [[Homestar Runner]].
 
*Stating that your secret animated or [[furries|furry]] hero ([[Dora the Explorer]], SpongeBob, [[Barney]], etc.) is evil.
 
*Runescape jokes about <s>thirty</s> forty-somethings living in their parents' basement.
 
 
[[Image:Roundhousekick2.jpg|thumb|right|Never ever talk about this guy's habit of roundhouse kicking people, places and things or else, well...]]
 
'''Memes.''' Weaving a lot of Uncyclopedia [[meme]]s into an article is not a substitute for being funny, and few people will think it's funny. Examples of memes are:
 
*Shoop da woop or FIRIN MA LASER.
 
*[[Russian Reversal]] "jokes".
 
*Overuse of quotations by [[Oscar Wilde]], [[Steve Ballmer]], [[Kanye West]] and [[Mr.T]].
 
*Linking to [[AAAAAAAAA!]] or [[Nobody cares]].
 
*Everything and anything to do with Chuck Norris, especially facts.
 
*Your very own made-up version of Hitler, Darth whatever, or Jesus.
 
*[[Your mom]], mother, momma, etc.; also, [[Vandalism|Your face]].
 
*Anything about [[Wikipedia]] being a communist, liberal, whatever...
 
*My Sojourns.
 
*References to [[Kitten Huffing]].
 
[[Image:Credits01.jpg|thumb|right|230px|The difference between a logical list (sort of) and a random list]]
 
'''Stagnant Themes.''' Once you have chosen an article to write, its '''theme''' means how you will treat the subject of the article, what the point is that you want the article to make. There are some themes that have become stagnant by being tried too often. Again, unless there is a good reason or you apply unusual cleverness, avoid the following themes:
 
 
*That a female you are writing about is a slut or a whore.
 
*That a female you are writing about is a slut or a whore.
 
*That a state or region you are writing about is a [[Soviet Union|Soviet]] republic.
 
*That a state or region you are writing about is a [[Soviet Union|Soviet]] republic.
 
*That the subject you are writing about is involved in a struggle between [[God]] and [[Satan]].
 
*That the subject you are writing about is involved in a struggle between [[God]] and [[Satan]].
*Vulgar or obscene treatment, notably getting raped, notably anal rape, etc.
+
*Vulgar or obscene treatment, especially rape, especially anal rape. If there isn't a good reason it fits into your article, it's not funny by itself.
*Anything to do with ninjas or pirates.
+
*How this person, thing, politician, or sports team is just shitty. Displaying how cleverly you can insult something instantly turns off the half of your readers who like it, and probably won't inspire the half who already hate it.
*Articles about how an unnotable town sucks. If somebody on the other side of the globe has probably not heard of the town, don't bother writing a whiny article about it.
 
*An intentionally bad article. If an article is bad it's bad.
 
*An obscure band that few people know about at the other side of the world.
 
   
'''Stagnant Articles.''' There are entire classes of article that have been tried so many times that they are stagnant. Don't even start on an article about any of the following:
+
'''Stagnant articles.''' There are entire classes of article that have been tried too many times:
*A made-up sequel of a popular movie or video game--the way you would have written it. For example, your new take on [[World of Warcraft]] or the [[Mario]] Brothers.
+
*A made-up sequel of a popular movie or video gamethe way you would have written it or a new Pokémon or text adventure.
*A new pokémon.
+
*A new Wacky War or Wacky Religion.
*A new [[Game|text adventure]].
 
*A new war. Especially one that involves uncyclopedia and wikipedia, Star Wars, Star Trek, Hitler, communists, or one that involves animals such as Badgers and mongooses.
 
*A new worst 100 list.
 
*An article about a food created by some bastard company.
 
*Anything that does not exist (e.g. [[This page does not exist]]). A lot of them had been QVFD' and are in the Protected titles list. If you attempt to make anything like this we may block you because it is just pure stupid and spammy.
 
   
==Don't plagiarise==
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'''Nonexistent things.''' Any article you create on a person or thing that doesn't exist — any article whose title is a pun — is an article no one is going to look up in this or any other encyclopedia. The reader has to guess your punch line to read your joke! Instead, anchor the article to something that ''does'' exist. Inside your article, you can change its name to your heart's content, and even use {{Tl|Title}} to make the page pretend it had a different name.
Simply don't. You will be banned.
 
   
==Meta-Humor isn't always as funny as you think it is==
+
'''Stagnant jokes that interfere with the operation of Uncyclopedia may get you in trouble,''' such as redirecting or blanking other people's work. Nominating [[UN:VFD|Votes for deletion]], for deletion (or someone else's talk page): Stagnant! Been done! Over 9000 times!
While we love to poke fun at ourselves and make light of some of the more rampant phenomena on this site, '''not every event, person, or trend on this site is worth documenting.''' This extends to creepy articles about users, references to otherwise insignificant and unhumorous events, and attempts to generate "trends" within The Uncyclopedia. There are few times that general phenomena are worth their own article and are limited to large-scale phenomena, such as [[Making Up Oscar Wilde Quotes]]. Furthermore, these articles must be well executed, lest they completely destroy its original humor. Think of it this way: Meta-humor is like fine, aged wine, it must not only have been around for a long time, but also has to have intrinsic value in order for it to be any good. Century-old bad wine is one hundred years old, but it's still bad <strike>metaphor</strike> wine.
 
   
==Use In-Jokes Sparingly==
+
===Pages that look like the things they're about===
  +
[[:Category:Pages that look like the things they're about|Imitative pages]] are a big part of our history, but imitative is not funny by itself, nor even clever. Of course a page on [[Green ink]] is going to have green text, but that plays the same minor role as a photo with a funny caption. It is a comedy play where the stage props are funny too, as opposed to a play that relies on its props to make it funny.
   
*'''Just 'cause it's funny to you and three of your friends doesn't make it funny to us.''' Most in-jokes are "had to be there" moments, or rely on several other situations/experiences to understand exactly what makes it funny. They're hard to explain, and fail to be humorous in a stand-alone situation. This does not apply, however, to Uncyclopedia in-jokes. Since you are writing articles for the Uncyclopedia, it's perfectly acceptable to use [[Uncyclopedia:Best_of|Officially Established Uncyclopedia-Originated In-Jokes]]. It adds personality to the site, and distinguishes it from other wannabe parody wikis.
+
Transforming a long article to be in the accent or impediment of its subject makes it harder to read, just to tell the same joke over again, as a list (see [[#Avoid lists|above]]) might. An old version of [[Eclipse]], where text from Wikipedia was "eclipsed" by a big black disc that made it unreadable, was a feat for the author, but not funny for the reader. It may be a no-brainer how to write an article on "Mistake" just make a lot of mistakes but no-brainers are rarely good reads.
   
Another exception are "specific jokes". For example, the Call of Duty article is full of jokes that only those who have played one or more of the Call of Duty games can truly appreciate. This is totally fine, so long as these sorts of jokes don't spread too far from their domain of interest.
+
[[Section blanking]] is an article whose humor is more than just a list of blank sections. Even in [[AAAAAAAA]], the one simple joke is cleverly pulled in many different directions.
   
*Further note: '''Do not try to establish a foothold for your pre-existing in-joke here.''' Unless it's a true diaphragm-cramper, it's not worth your time (as it will likely get deleted) or ours (we could [[kitten huffing|huff 20 kittens]] in the time it takes to delete your cruft.)
+
==Don't steal stuff==
  +
[[File:Distillery01.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Come up with your own stuff.]]
  +
Uncyclopedia is here for you to write original comedy — not merely to catalog funny stuff that someone else did somewhere else. This almost always means we don't want a link to your favorite YouTube video. Writing an article about a comedy act or movie, a YouTube channel, or a web meme, will not last here unless you write funny stuff about it, instead of describing how funny it already was. You can pursue a theme that was pursued somewhere else, if you add something new. But writing about something "For Dummies" steals a clever slogan that a company was using, probably for the exact humor purpose you plan to use it for.
   
*And while we're here, '''don't be vain.''' Articles written about your fanfic, or your story characters, or your goddamn story setting, WILL be deleted as a rule. So will articles about how much your school sucks, or how your town is a pisshole, or what an idiot your friend is. This is not your personal backstory site- create your own damn wiki if you want to list the ancient history behind your character's armor's codpiece or whatever. If you are going to make an article about something of your own, that is if you have a BURNING, UNQUENCHABLE DESIRE to do so (this is not everyone), '''do a good job on it'''. Make it fit in here- if something seems out of place it's goin' bye-bye. A prime example of how to make your vanity work is [[Camp Fuck You Die]].
+
If you get a photo onto your computer, you can copy it onto Uncyclopedia by just going to [[Special:Upload]], following the instructions, and remembering the name you gave it.
   
[[Image:Tony blair pimp.JPG|right|thumb|As a general rule, this is how '''not''' to retouch a picture]]
+
Most of our photos are stolen. This brazen theft is covered by two legal doctrines with fancy names. The first is ''fair use,'' which means the subject is a celebrity or was in the news. The second is ''penny ante,'' which means: Who has the money to sue such a small-time website as this?
   
==Use Pictures Wisely==
+
But stealing photos to steal their comedy is just wrong, as is plagiarizing entire articles from other comedy websites. This includes most "Motivational Posters," scanning in an entire comic strip or an article from ''The Onion,'' or something you saw on the Web that was already funny so you don't have to do any work. It's far better to take a photo from a newspaper website with no humor at all and write your own caption to make it funny, or take an existing picture and photoshop it so that it is funny. That's original comedy. If you are caught repeatedly plagiarizing articles from other comedy sites, the articles will be deleted, and you will be banned.
*A picture is a perfect complement to a good joke. '''But only if it is well made'''. Chopping up a picture of Tony Blair's face in MS Paint is not well made (unless you're making the picture look bad for a satirical purpose). Taking time on the picture and using a professional program such as the [[GIMP]] or [[Photoshop]] to make it is advisable, although some of you will be able to knock up decent images on Paint. Most importantly, don't use an old picture that you found on the internet, no matter how sure you are that no-one else will have seen it, use your own imagination to produce something better.
 
*Don't think that a 'chopped picture is absolutely necessary. Take a normal picture that otherwise would have no comedy value, put it into the context of your article, and add a funny caption, and suddenly your boring picture is hilarious.
 
   
==Bias Is '''Not''' a Replacement for Humor==
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==Avoid in-jokes==
  +
{{Main|Uncyclopedia:Vanity Policies}}
  +
[[File:Injokespecials01.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Checking on the level of in-jokes at Uncyclopedia Central...like this picture caption.]]
  +
'''Just because it's funny to you and three of your friends doesn't make it funny to us.''' In-jokes and had-to-be-there-moments assume the reader had special situations or experiences to understand the humor. These won't amuse most Uncyclopedia readers, who may be anywhere in the English-speaking world. For example, articles on things like [[Call of Duty]] must be especially good to overcome the fact that only gamers can truly appreciate them. '''Don't use Uncyclopedia to try to start a new in-joke.'''
   
*'''''Never'' substitute bias in place of humor.''' While biases and points of view are allowed, often to the extent of ''encouragement,'' on Uncyclopedia, simply writing something like "The Big Mac is a piece of dog shit on two buns" or "Man United are considered by everyone to be the best athletes in the history of mankind" is not funny by itself. Instead, explain, in lavish detail, what makes these things so great or terrible. Remember, you aren't the only person on this planet. Try to keep your stuff funny, but not insulting.
+
'''Avoid vanity.''' We usually quickly delete articles about your fanfic, your story characters, or your story setting. Personal story-arcs (related articles that matter to each other but to no one else) can only live inside your own userspace.
   
*Also note that that when an admin deletes overt, explicit bias, he or she does ''not'' necessarily disagree with you on that subject. '''It is rarely personal.''' He or she is responsible for keeping additions streamlined and in the spirit of the rest of the article, as well as the Uncyclopedia.
+
Likewise articles about your school or college, and especially about your school club, fraternity, or dormitory. These are not [[UN:CM|notable]] to most Uncyclopedia readers.
   
*'''Not everyone on the planet is male.''' Given that approximately one-third of Uncyclopedia readers are female, it can be a risk to write as though the reader is a male. This may seem like such an obvious point, and yet it is frequently overlooked. Even if it doesn't necessarily alienate female readers, chances are they still will not find it funny, so don't do it without an actual conceptual reason. Likewise, jokes about women needing to be in the kitchen or about how all a woman is supposed to do is make sandwiches is not only idiotic, but it's pathetic.
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'''Don't write about Uncyclopedia itself.''' Articles about other Uncyclopedians and events that happened on this website are certain not to be notable to average readers; their audience is limited to your fellow Uncyclopedia authors. Make sure your goal is humor not establishing yourself as an insider. You are welcome to ridicule life on Uncyclopedia at the [[UN:VD|Village Dump]], being sure to use the BHOP section if it isn't an important point about the website or its policies or future.
   
==Outright sarcasm is '''Not''' a Replacement for Humor==
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==Use pictures wisely==
::''(This is an adjunct to [[#Bias Is Not a Replacement for Humor|Bias]] and [[#Be a Comedian: Advice About Nonsense and Opposites|Opposites]].)''
+
[[Image:Tony blair pimp.JPG|right|thumb|As a general rule, this is how '''not''' to retouch a picture]]
*'''Clearly stating what is either right or obvious in a sarcastic manner comes off less as funny, and more as politically resentful or bitter.''' Take, for example
+
''(See also: [[UN:IMAGE]])''
  +
*A picture is a perfect complement to a good joke, '''but only if it is well-made'''. Chopping up a picture of Tony Blair's face in MS Paint is not well-made (unless you're making the picture look bad for a satirical purpose). Taking time on the picture and using a full-featured program such as [[GIMP]] or [[Photoshop]] is advisable, although some people can knock out decent images on MS Paint.
  +
*Don't use an old picture you found on the Internet, no matter how sure you are that no one else has seen it. Use your own imagination to produce something better. For more about this, see the section [[#Don't steal stuff|Don't steal stuff]].
  +
*'''Galleries''' of photos, especially photos unrelated to the article, have the same problem we described about [[#Avoid lists|lists in general]].
  +
*Don't think you have to be an artist! Take a normal picture with no comedy value, add a caption that is funny and that relates to your article, and suddenly your boring picture is hilarious.
   
:*'''Example:''' America had some goodwill in the world. Who would want that? After all, you can’t take goodwill to the bank. (Or can you?)
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==A final coat of polish==
::'''Bad.''' Sounds more like someone is annoyed with foreign policy and is letting it out here. It has all the subtlety of an amped marching band, and seeks to hammer the point in sarcastically, rather than ease it in with humor. Such text is overtly political and serves no purpose than to vindicate one side and irritate the other, seeming as if the author is upset or otherwise disenfranchised. It's blunt and relatively humorless, and while editorializing can be funny, this passage only ends up killing the humor of the rest of the article.
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*'''Speeling adn, gramor?:''' Unless you're misspelling words on purpose, perhaps poking fun at the [[stupid|hard-of-thinking]] or [[myspace|kids on social networking sites]], make sure your words are spelled correctly and your grammar is good. Copy and paste your article into MS Word to see misspellings, or ask for personal help at [[UN:PROOF]]. And avoid chat abbreviations unless you have something in mind, LOL.
   
:*'''Example:''' The Crusades were a series of military campaigns first initated in the 11th through 13th centuries by King George I of Texas, (the burning Bush of Moses fame) and continued by his heir George II. Intended to subjugate the Muslim people of the Middle East and brand the holy mark of W upon their foreheads, it also allowed America to cast aside any concern it had for goodwill and credibility and march Don Quixote-like into Baghdad with trumpets blaring and red, white and blue flags flying. God bless America!
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*'''Style''': Unfortunately, there is no ''Elements of Style'' for writing humor, and it would be difficult to write one, since humor often comes from breaking the rules. However, there is an ''Elements of Style'' for writing in general, which is called ''The Elements of Style''. To the extent that knowing the craft of writing makes you a better humor writer, this book (sometimes just called "Strunk and White" after the authors) is worth picking up, reading, and then gluing to your forehead for quick reference. George Orwell’s essay ''Politics and the English Language'' is also useful, short, and to the point.
::'''Good.''' Why? Because it's certainly more lighthearted, and definitely more subtle. It's not explicitly political or sarcastic, qualifying more as satire. While not laugh-a-minute, it certainly doesn't sound like someone's angry or frustrated. This seems like it was typed by Someone Who Was Trying To Be Silly. It also sounds more official and professional, and it's closer to truth without actually ''being'' truth.
 
 
*Basically, blunt, straight sarcasm is '''not''' humorous, especially when other people do it better as satire.
 
 
==In The Style Of...==
 
 
For some articles, doing the article in the style of what the article is about can be amusing. For example, the article on [[Nihilism]] is blank. The article on [[Redundancy]] is redundant, repetitive, and repeats itself, and frankly, the less said about [[Sexual innuendo]], the better. Other good examples include [[Braille]], [[Zork]], [[Nethack]], [[Zen]], [[Misleading]], [[Random Insanity]], [[Subtilty]], [[Redirection]], [[J.D. Salinger]], [[Igpay Atinlay|Pig Latin]], [[Alliteration]], [[Vladimir Nabokov]], [[H. P. Lovecraft]], [[James Joyce]], [[Onomatopoeia]], [[Binary]], [[ROT13]], [[e e cummings]] and many more.
 
 
Don't just rely on this alone, though, unless you are absolutely sure that the article can stand on its own by taking the style of the topic. [[NetHack]] and [[James Joyce]] are good examples of where it can stand on its own, because all throughout the article, it maintains the appropriate style (NetHack having the appearance of a game of NetHack, and James Joyce mimicking his manner of writing which can be incomprehensible to people unfamiliar with it). With [[J.D. Salinger]], on the other hand, the article has to be supplied with more than just the speaking style of the main character of The Catcher in the Rye. As it has this, it is a very good article.
 
 
== Other possible sources for humor ==
 
*'''Status Change.''' [[Stephen Colbert]] has suggested that all good humor involves status change. For example: if you are walking down the street, and bump into the President of the United States and he apologizes to you profusely, gets flustered, then asks you for your autograph, that's funny.
 
*'''Irony.''' Sometimes, a touch of irony is great for a twist in an article. For example, if a man walking down the street is hit by an ambulance and one of the paramedics jumps out and says "Oh God, oh God, I'm so sorry. Please, someone call 911, quick!" That can be a source for possible humor.
 
 
==Advice==
 
*'''Remember [[#Be a Comedian: Advice About Nonsense and Opposites|rule one]]'''. If something is coherent, and closer to the truth, it is funnier than pure nonsense.
 
 
*'''Often, official, professional-sounding prose''' kicks the humor up a bit. Consider your tone as you write articles. Would an authoritative, encyclopedic tone make this even better, or would slack-jawed drivel work best as its own sort of irony? Do outbursts work? Try different styles to see if it improves your content.
 
 
*'''Speeling adn, gramor?:''' Unless you're misspelling words on purpose, as one would in order to poke fun at [[stupid|the mentally inferior]], or the lack of typing prowess of [[myspace|kids on social networking sites]], really, ''really'' try to make sure all your words are spelled correctly, and that all your grammar makes sense. Copy and paste your article into MS Word, if it helps, or send it to [[UN:PROOF]]. Aim abbreviations are also something to generally avoid.
 
 
*'''Writing about Writing''': Unfortunately, there is no ''Elements of Style'' for writing humor, and it would be difficult to write one, since humor often comes from breaking rules instead of following them. However, there is an ''Elements of Style'' for writing in general, which is called ''The Elements of Style''. To the extent that knowing the craft of writing makes you a better humor writer, this book (sometimes just called "Strunk and White" after the authors) is worth picking up, reading, and then rereading, and then fusing to your cerebral cortex in a dangerous medical experiment of questionable ethics. George Orwell’s essay "Politics and the English Language” is also very useful; both are short and to the point.
 
 
*'''Can't think of any ideas for your article?''' Try this article: [[Uncyclopedia:The_Creative_Process|How to Get Ideas For Your Article]]
 
   
   
 
<div style="text-align:center;">'''Please help contribute to a funnier and [[Witty humour|wittier]] Uncyclopedia. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.'''</div>
 
<div style="text-align:center;">'''Please help contribute to a funnier and [[Witty humour|wittier]] Uncyclopedia. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.'''</div>
   
==See also==
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{{Writing funny stuff}}
*[[Uncyclopedia:How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid THE IMAGE VERSION|How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid THE IMAGE VERSION]]
 
*[[Beginner%27s_Guide/Acceptable admins|What to do if your Article Dies]]
 
*[[How to be stupid and not just funny]]
 
*[[Rogue Punchlines]]
 
*[[Repetition]]
 
 
 
[[Category:Uncyclopedia|How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid]]
 
   
 
[[da:Spademanns Leksikon:Vær sjov, ikke dum]]
 
[[da:Spademanns Leksikon:Vær sjov, ikke dum]]

Latest revision as of 11:41, October 19, 2014

Buy4cheap.biz

Ask for this title at Barnes & Noble and they will simply look at you like a....naw, forget it.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
~ Emerson on the hobgoblins who come here just to write fart jokes

Welcome! This nutshell article will show nuts how to write something that is funny and not just stupid — hence its name. Of course, to writers who are just stupid (and sensitive about it), we start with a profuse apology, though you too can learn to write funny Uncyclopedia articles.

Once you finish reading this and write an article of your own, you will be certifiably funny; and if anyone doubts it, you can point them here and tell him you are an Uncyclopedian, and that should settle that!

This is a guide, not a rulebook. Each of its points has been broken somewhere, and really good writing or a really good result is something we all respect more than rules. Almost as much as threatening to publish photos of an Admin cross-dressing.

edit Understand the big picture

Main article: Uncyclopedia:Projects

Uncyclopedia is a satire of an encyclopedia, as The Daily Show is of television news. This is the "frame" into which every article fits. Uncyclopedia gives your writing a big comedy push, by making it look like Wikipedia. Your writing should fit in the frame and help feed this biggest joke of all, that Uncyclopedia really thinks it is telling the truth about real-world subjects.

How does a frame work? On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart looks like an anchorman, and delivers the same news as CNN does, but with material that makes fun of both the newsmakers and of anchormen. This is satire: the same basic content with specific, pointed, unexpected contrasts. Stewart doesn't sing funny songs or throw pies at people's faces. His comedy preserves the frame of a news broadcast, as your articles should preserve the frame of an encyclopedia.

If you have funny stuff you want to write that can't fit the encyclopedia frame, we have many other projects. If you want to present a cracked version of a news release, take a look at UnNews. You can write step-by-step HowTo guides, UnBooks, explanations of Why? something is the way it is, satire UnTunes, and so on. Rather than a free-form website for amateur comedy, we are a series of projects in which the articles fit into various frames.

edit Have a comedy plan

It-clown

This guy wanted to be funny, but failed to read our guide.

Main article: How to get ideas for your article

The key to writing a fine Uncyclopedia article is first to decide how you are going to be funny. Preferably, not that you are going to spew a bunch of nonsense or pluck ideas out of the air. Think about your subject and decide how the page will play off the truth. For example:

  1. "Erik Estrada was born in 480182525234 BC to Chuck Norris and Oprah for the sole purpose of fucking up humanity."
    Bad. This sentence combines an unbelievable date, memes (Chuck Norris and Oprah) that serve as noise and not yucks, and an outrageous assertion that doesn't relate to anything — with a needless swear for added laughs.
  2. "Erik Estrada parlayed a successful stint with the California Highway Patrol into an acting career."
    Better. There is a plan here: Estrada played a cop on TV in CHiPs, and the writer might intend to deliberately confuse the actor with the role he played.

What are sample comedy plans for an article?

  • That an actor is really the character he played — or thinks he is (example above).
  • That a celebrity is the exact opposite of the way we know him.
  • That the article writer hopelessly mistakes the article's subject for something that sounds similar, or for something completely unrelated.
  • That the article will explain why the things we like about a show are simply impossible.

Many articles are patent nonsense. Randomness can get a laugh the first time, but it soon gets dull. If someone types in "Frodo Baggins", he wants to read a humorous slant on Frodo Baggins, not an article on a Dutch mink farmer with laser-beam eyes.

If you've been handed a topic and told to come up and talk about it to the rest of the class for five minutes, that was to cure you of stage fright, not to hear your best stuff. Many articles read like five-minute blabs. The better ones are the result of advance planning.

edit Some basic techniques of humor writing

Delonte West (Celtics)

If your reader sets up on the right, you go left! And don't foul him!

The previous section gave your article a game plan, but you still need to learn some moves to the laughter basket.

edit Misdirect your reader

The most basic move is to keep your reader scrambling. Feint left, juke right! Set him up for a serious read and then drop absurdity on his head!

Be serious with the dry stuff to lull your reader into not expecting that cooler of Gatorade humor. If you wisecrack with a person's date of birth and death (like "9000 BC"), the reader will start to tune you out. Make your article look just like Wikipedia until you drop the hammer on him!

Here are some examples of misdirecting the reader:

  • Be silly about serious things, as does Segregation or Axis of Evil Hot Dog Eating Competition. Approach a very serious topic with outrageous lightness, the Pollyanna treatment, the loony perspective, where the "Axis of Evil" is turned into a hot dog eating competition. That's something the reader won't expect.
  • Be serious about silly things. Examples include Handgun and The GI Joe-Transformers War. Pointing your finger and going "bang bang!" is child's play. Morphing this into an article about robot Nazis surprises your reader as surely as the previous example.
Kingarthur01

This is how a straight man looks.

  • Use a straight man. Don't be ridiculous from cover to cover. A little seriousness makes absurdity funnier. A comic routine uses a straight man for this: Marge Simpson's seriousness throws Homer's idiocy into sharp relief; Graham Chapman plays his King Arthur completely deadpan, making the rest of Monty Python and the Holy Grail that much more absurd by comparison. So some parts of your article are your "straight man": the background information, facts, and statements that seem factual. These parts build and support the jokes and make them funnier by comparison. You will sound more like a lunatic when there is a sane man in the room. Examples include Hiroshima and Fire hydrant.
  • Absurd sequences: A sequence that starts out reasonable and sensible, then becomes increasingly absurd is funny. A sequence that ends exactly the way it began is almost needless. Example: Among the monastic sins listed by Saint Anselm are sodomy, bestiality, wearing clean underwear, and getting closer than 40 miles to a woman. Your reader expects a list of actual sins — then you cross him up! It works for a single sentence, a whole article, or putting live moray eels down your pants.
  • Absurd status: Stephen Colbert has suggested that all good humor involves status change. For example: you are walking down the street and bump into the President of the United States. He apologizes to you profusely, gets flustered, then asks you for your autograph. That's funny!
  • Irony: Sometimes, a touch of irony is great for a twist in an article. For example, if a man walking down the street is hit by an ambulance and one of the paramedics jumps out and says, "Oh God, oh God, I'm so sorry. Please, someone call 911, quick!" That could be funny. Even random humor — which this guide advises against — can be funny, if it occurs when the reader is least expecting it. Oscar Wilde being decapitated but then growing a new head is random, but funny when it happens in The Most Quotable Smackdown of All Time.

edit Other techniques

Here are some other good comedy moves:

  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then repeat it, and then say it some more. Two or three times. Example: In his spare time, young Luke Skywalker enjoyed driving his land speeder, whining, shooting womp-rats, cruising for chicks in Mos Eisley, whining, nerf-herding, and whining. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be careful.
Votechange

Don't be afraid to ask others what they think of your articles.

  • Imitation. Pages that look like the things they're about are a category we especially enjoy. So the article on Nihilism is blank; the article on Redundancy is redundant, repetitive, and repeats itself; and frankly, the less said about Sexual innuendo, the better. There is an article on e e cummings all in lowercase, and many other examples. But be sure the average reader will be familiar enough with the page's subject to understand that a bizarre page style is imitation. Otherwise, plant serious hints in your article which, in passing, explain it to the reader.
  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.
  • Self-reference. Again, sort of an obvious technique but it can be funny. "Repetition" repeats, "Misdirection" veers off into Australia, "Escalation" escalates. See this article's section on Self-reference.
  • Understatement. For instance, "many people would say that the Holocaust was not a good thing". Writing "Joe Biden is so stupid!" is not as funny as taking a more understated approach, such as: "Joe Biden is not quite as intelligent as a mildly retarded woodchuck suffering from late-stage syphilis." It's funny that our Coruscant article describes a "slightly overpopulated planet".
Approach01

There are many angles you can try when writing a funny article.

  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.
  • Reversal. Example: Local cancer loses battle with woman. Other example: Work is the curse of the drinking classes. - Oscar Wilde.
  • State the Obvious- This rule can sometimes be hilarious, especially when the reader isn't expecting it. Other times, it can fall flat. A good example is a picture of a gay rights protestor holding up a sign that says "Homosexuals are Gay". You wouldn't expect to see that! Use it sparingly; an entire article of obvious statements will just come across as stupid.
  • Did I mention Repetition?

edit Write nonsense well

Start it well. The start of your article needs to attract your reader by giving him a taste of the fun he is about to have. Digressions, overlong lists (including the ten other names by which the subject is known), and overuse of initial quotations kill this effect. New authors who haven't read the entire article but stick a gag into its first sentence are not helping.

Write consistently. Uncyclopedia uses many different styles. Some articles have a scholarly feel, while others are deliberately stupid. But a single article should use a single style. It distracts the reader when the style changes from section to section, as though the page were written by committee. Any exceptions should be intentional — say, writing on multiple-personality disorder. Even AAAAAAAAA!, which lacks grammar, words, and 25 of the letters of the alphabet, is consistent.

  • Which tone to use? Scientific paper, or slack-jawed drivel? Before starting a new article, decide what style of writing best fits your subject and your comedy plan. Try it several ways to see which seems funniest.
  • British or American? We don't care; there are Uncyclopedians everywhere. Use your own style except when that would be a distraction, given what you're writing about.
Danet

Dante was one of the first Uncyclopedians, and struggled mightily to be funny.

Write compatibly with what was already there. Read the whole article and understand the original authors' choice of style, comedy goal, and region, before you edit. Don't just replace words with their opposites — you will break something! If you want to create an "alternate theory" to what's in the article, or add a section from a different point of view, create your own article, or find another article where your edit fits better. We allow multiple articles on the same subject, we don't care if they contradict each other, and we have many ways to point readers to all of them. It's invigorating to have articles with different viewpoints, especially as readers' senses of humor are different. For several politicians, we have competing articles. We do care if an article contradicts itself, because random hodgepodges — unless intentional — repel the reader. If you find an unintentional hodgepodge, and can repair it, God speed to you!

Make each article funny on its own. A story line that spans several articles may force the reader to read them all to get the joke. If you find yourself creating such a "story arc," consider copying in any information the reader will need to enjoy the article, even at the risk of repeating something said elsewhere.

edit Spend some time

Contributor01

Spend some time relaxing in your pants, with a beer and a smoke. Perhaps what you think is comic gold could do with another edit.

  • A quality article attracts readers and may be voted to the main page. Our business is parody, but that only means that our information is crap, not that our articles should look like crap! As much effort as it takes Wikipedia to track down the correct facts, it can take just as much effort to present a spoof of it that is truly entertaining.
  • Research. It may be funny to take an article in random directions. But it's especially funny to research the real thing — such as reading the corresponding Wikipedia article — and write stuff that is an absurd portrayal of reality. The result will be an article that's not just something anyone could have written.
  • Write actual prose. If you have several ideas, simply turning them into a list isn't as funny as when you spend the time to develop each idea. We say more about over-use of lists below.
  • Write actual articles. Articles that consist of a single sentence — to play off the page name to play word-association or deliver a single punch line — will be deleted, funny or not, because they don't support the encyclopedia "frame." Take the time to attack the subject from several different comedy directions.
  • Revise and delete. More is not necessarily funnier! Most writing is bad — especially most first drafts. Get a good night's sleep, then try re-reading your work as though for the first time. None of us here is paid by page count, and the quickest way to improve an article is to cut out the bad ingredients, no matter how funny you thought they were at first. Correct your own misspellings and errors, reconsider all those side-jokes, evaluate everything to see whether it feeds the article as a whole. Even Shakespeare devoted time to revising and polishing his plays.

edit Tastelessness is not funny by itself

Rollbackers10

'Did you just make a joke we hadn't heard of before?' Uncyclopedia's rollbackers are there to check on edits.

Not everyone likes scatological or "toilet" humor, so there's no reason to swear like a drill sergeant in every other sentence. In fact, many people simply find it immature and disgusting, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Obscenity can be funny when:

  • The reader isn't expecting it; such as a sudden swear in an article that had kept a scholarly tone
  • When it puts an article in the style of the thing or person it's about. If you are writing about Johnny fucking Borrell, the swear word has a point: It's imitative.

Likewise calling something "gay" — like "slutty" and "greedy" and "Nazi" — if you do the work to show you are making a comedy point, good. If you are dropping epithets to avoid doing work, the article won't be funny.

Always think about amusing the reader — not amusing yourself by shocking the reader or making him uncomfortable.

edit Avoid lists

Credits01

The difference between a logical list (sort of) and a random list

Sections entitled Trivia or Fun facts, and other sections that are simply lists of one-liners or names, are not funny enough.

  • Instead of stating a funny idea as a list item, take the time to develop it into a truly funny paragraph.
  • Just putting a name into a list, thinking it will be funny with no additional work, is using it as a meme and not writing humor at all.
  • No list gets funnier merely by getting longer, and many get less funny.

Simple lists invite anonymous overnight editors to try to "improve" the list by adding just one more thing. Many of these editors didn't read the whole article and don't understand the whole joke; and the list becomes more and more random. Likewise, stating an "Alternate Theory" invites many more alternate theories with little to do with the original theme.

Lists that could be endless (such as "List of people who didn't fight him" or "List of stupid things" or "people whom Oscar Wilde hates") quickly become endless. Galleries of images often have these same problems (see below).

If you must make a list, discuss each list item, as in Worst 100 Movies of All Time, or break it into different jokes, as in Worst songs to play at a funeral.

edit Avoid clichés

Domestic01

Avoid clichés. Let someone else do the washing up.

Main article: A simple style is most encyclopedic

Many uninventive definitions follow overused formulas. These include:

  • The first and second person: Avoid using the words "I," "me," or "my." Even avoid the editorial "we," and don't address the reader directly ("you"). Accept your off-stage role as the playwright; don't put yourself into the article as the stand-up comic. As elsewhere, you can break this rule when the reader will surely not be expecting it. But it's tedious to break it so much that it looks as though you want more attention.
  • Nonsense numbers. Avoid extremely large numbers, like 2193732483249 or 9999999999999. A smaller, but round number can be funnier.
    • This includes assertions that more than 100% of a population is something or other: please exaggerate in more clever ways than simply using a statistic that can't be true.
    • Ridiculous dates simply confuse the reader; they don't make your article funny. This includes saying someone did something after the year you say he died. Unless your article is about time travel, you're not going to make someone laugh by choosing ridiculous dates; you'll just make him conclude it's not worth the time.

edit Avoid stagnant jokes

Roundhousekick2

Never ever talk about this guy's habit of roundhouse kicking people, places and things or else, well...

"Stagnant" is like the inside of your refrigerator after the power has been out for a couple days. Stagnant things aren't automatically unfunny like the clichés discussed in the previous section; they have become unfunny just by being repeated to death.

You see, if the newbie sees that a lot of our articles deal with kitten huffing (it was funny in 2007), and he works that into his new article, people don't say, "Look! the new guy fits in because he writes about kitten huffing just like we do!" They say, "Look! the new guy can't write humor but only imitate." So be original. The more you see an ingredient used in articles, the further back in your comedy Spice Rack you should reach.

There is nothing you absolutely have to avoid, if you have an obvious good reason or a very clever writing style. But anyway, avoid these things:

Pop culture. Don't expect instant Funny because something is going viral on the Web, is popular on TV, or is a high-grossing movie or a popular anime.

Caricatures. Unless you have a brilliant and original take on the subject, there has been enough about chavs, emos, basement-dwellers, nerds, gays, and so on.

Memes. There are a few to be sure to avoid: Chuck Norris, Russian Reversal, Mr. T, Steve Ballmer, Kanye West, kitten huffing, and your mom. Captain Obvious and Captain Oblivious have worn out their welcome as ways to insert unfunny stuff in articles and call it funny. Also some new Hitler, Darth whatever, or Jesus.

If you must insert a celebrity into an unrelated article, have a point in mind. For example, saying "Eminem was the daughter of Pat Sajak and Mickey Mouse" is pointless drivel. But saying "Eminem is the son of Dr. Dre and Queen Latifa" might parody Eminem's adoption of black culture. Have a comedy goal and make everything in the article help you get there.

Pranking the reader. Yes, typing {{USERNAME}} into an article gets changed to the reader's Uncyclopedia username, and he gets all nervous about who typed his name into an article and how we already know so frickin' much about him! This joke is all worn out. Likewise, the many pieces of Wikicode you can type into an article to make it display differently on every different reading, mean you are amusing yourself and not the reader. Other techniques that don't amuse the reader but at most amuse you at his discomfort are pages that redirect or circle back to themselves and pages that seem to repeat the same thing forever (there is a complete set of these). Your humor should not have to rely on techie tricks like these; it should just be, like, funny.

George Bush smiling

My fellow 'merkins'. Remember: Dubya is no longer the US president.

Stagnant themes. Once you have chosen an article to write, its theme is the (funny) point you are trying to make. Some themes have become stagnant by overuse:

  • That the writer of the article doesn't know about the subject, that he doesn't care, or that nobody cares. This has been done well a few times, but it instantly keeps your article from looking realistic, and it's no longer clever enough to justify that.
  • That a female you are writing about is a slut or a whore.
  • That a state or region you are writing about is a Soviet republic.
  • That the subject you are writing about is involved in a struggle between God and Satan.
  • Vulgar or obscene treatment, especially rape, especially anal rape. If there isn't a good reason it fits into your article, it's not funny by itself.
  • How this person, thing, politician, or sports team is just shitty. Displaying how cleverly you can insult something instantly turns off the half of your readers who like it, and probably won't inspire the half who already hate it.

Stagnant articles. There are entire classes of article that have been tried too many times:

  • A made-up sequel of a popular movie or video game — the way you would have written it — or a new Pokémon or text adventure.
  • A new Wacky War or Wacky Religion.

Nonexistent things. Any article you create on a person or thing that doesn't exist — any article whose title is a pun — is an article no one is going to look up in this or any other encyclopedia. The reader has to guess your punch line to read your joke! Instead, anchor the article to something that does exist. Inside your article, you can change its name to your heart's content, and even use {{Title}} to make the page pretend it had a different name.

Stagnant jokes that interfere with the operation of Uncyclopedia may get you in trouble, such as redirecting or blanking other people's work. Nominating Votes for deletion, for deletion (or someone else's talk page): Stagnant! Been done! Over 9000 times!

edit Pages that look like the things they're about

Imitative pages are a big part of our history, but imitative is not funny by itself, nor even clever. Of course a page on Green ink is going to have green text, but that plays the same minor role as a photo with a funny caption. It is a comedy play where the stage props are funny too, as opposed to a play that relies on its props to make it funny.

Transforming a long article to be in the accent or impediment of its subject makes it harder to read, just to tell the same joke over again, as a list (see above) might. An old version of Eclipse, where text from Wikipedia was "eclipsed" by a big black disc that made it unreadable, was a feat for the author, but not funny for the reader. It may be a no-brainer how to write an article on "Mistake" — just make a lot of mistakes — but no-brainers are rarely good reads.

Section blanking is an article whose humor is more than just a list of blank sections. Even in AAAAAAAA, the one simple joke is cleverly pulled in many different directions.

edit Don't steal stuff

Distillery01

Come up with your own stuff.

Uncyclopedia is here for you to write original comedy — not merely to catalog funny stuff that someone else did somewhere else. This almost always means we don't want a link to your favorite YouTube video. Writing an article about a comedy act or movie, a YouTube channel, or a web meme, will not last here unless you write funny stuff about it, instead of describing how funny it already was. You can pursue a theme that was pursued somewhere else, if you add something new. But writing about something "For Dummies" steals a clever slogan that a company was using, probably for the exact humor purpose you plan to use it for.

If you get a photo onto your computer, you can copy it onto Uncyclopedia by just going to Special:Upload, following the instructions, and remembering the name you gave it.

Most of our photos are stolen. This brazen theft is covered by two legal doctrines with fancy names. The first is fair use, which means the subject is a celebrity or was in the news. The second is penny ante, which means: Who has the money to sue such a small-time website as this?

But stealing photos to steal their comedy is just wrong, as is plagiarizing entire articles from other comedy websites. This includes most "Motivational Posters," scanning in an entire comic strip or an article from The Onion, or something you saw on the Web that was already funny so you don't have to do any work. It's far better to take a photo from a newspaper website with no humor at all and write your own caption to make it funny, or take an existing picture and photoshop it so that it is funny. That's original comedy. If you are caught repeatedly plagiarizing articles from other comedy sites, the articles will be deleted, and you will be banned.

edit Avoid in-jokes

Injokespecials01

Checking on the level of in-jokes at Uncyclopedia Central...like this picture caption.

Just because it's funny to you and three of your friends doesn't make it funny to us. In-jokes and had-to-be-there-moments assume the reader had special situations or experiences to understand the humor. These won't amuse most Uncyclopedia readers, who may be anywhere in the English-speaking world. For example, articles on things like Call of Duty must be especially good to overcome the fact that only gamers can truly appreciate them. Don't use Uncyclopedia to try to start a new in-joke.

Avoid vanity. We usually quickly delete articles about your fanfic, your story characters, or your story setting. Personal story-arcs (related articles that matter to each other but to no one else) can only live inside your own userspace.

Likewise articles about your school or college, and especially about your school club, fraternity, or dormitory. These are not notable to most Uncyclopedia readers.

Don't write about Uncyclopedia itself. Articles about other Uncyclopedians and events that happened on this website are certain not to be notable to average readers; their audience is limited to your fellow Uncyclopedia authors. Make sure your goal is humor — not establishing yourself as an insider. You are welcome to ridicule life on Uncyclopedia at the Village Dump, being sure to use the BHOP section if it isn't an important point about the website or its policies or future.

edit Use pictures wisely

Tony blair pimp

As a general rule, this is how not to retouch a picture

(See also: UN:IMAGE)

  • A picture is a perfect complement to a good joke, but only if it is well-made. Chopping up a picture of Tony Blair's face in MS Paint is not well-made (unless you're making the picture look bad for a satirical purpose). Taking time on the picture and using a full-featured program such as GIMP or Photoshop is advisable, although some people can knock out decent images on MS Paint.
  • Don't use an old picture you found on the Internet, no matter how sure you are that no one else has seen it. Use your own imagination to produce something better. For more about this, see the section Don't steal stuff.
  • Galleries of photos, especially photos unrelated to the article, have the same problem we described about lists in general.
  • Don't think you have to be an artist! Take a normal picture with no comedy value, add a caption that is funny and that relates to your article, and suddenly your boring picture is hilarious.

edit A final coat of polish

  • Speeling adn, gramor?: Unless you're misspelling words on purpose, perhaps poking fun at the hard-of-thinking or kids on social networking sites, make sure your words are spelled correctly and your grammar is good. Copy and paste your article into MS Word to see misspellings, or ask for personal help at UN:PROOF. And avoid chat abbreviations unless you have something in mind, LOL.
  • Style: Unfortunately, there is no Elements of Style for writing humor, and it would be difficult to write one, since humor often comes from breaking the rules. However, there is an Elements of Style for writing in general, which is called The Elements of Style. To the extent that knowing the craft of writing makes you a better humor writer, this book (sometimes just called "Strunk and White" after the authors) is worth picking up, reading, and then gluing to your forehead for quick reference. George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language is also useful, short, and to the point.


Please help contribute to a funnier and wittier Uncyclopedia. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.
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