My friends know that I love to laugh, so they're always recommending "hilarious" books that I'm "sure to love." But while the books pull an occasional smile out of me, hardly any of them are truly funny.
Hey, I want to laugh. I'm ready to laugh. So why is it that so few writers can make me do it?
What's really hilarious (or pathetic, depending on your point of view) is that I love writing funny things in my books and here on the blog. Some people totally get my bent sense of humor and laugh with me. Others don't. Sometimes my attempts at humor here on the blog have failed so miserably that people have taken offense, obliging me to smooth ruffled feathers by explaining that I was going for a laugh, not someone's jugular vein.
I've tried to analyze what's funny to me and what isn't. I'm crazy in love with the offbeat humor of P. G. Wodehouse, but I rarely laugh at the outrageousness of Dave Barry. Why is that? Because I picture Wodehouse shrugging and saying, "Laugh if you want. It's nothing to me." But I always feel as though Dave Barry is poking me in the ribs and saying, "C'mon, laugh! You know you want to. All the cool kids are laughing."
If you want to manipulate my laugh reflex, you're going to have to be subtle about it. If you try too hard, you'll never win my heart. But toss off a clever line and act unconcerned about my reaction and I'll take the bait every time.
What about you? What books and writers make you laugh? And more importantly, why?