May 2008

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Humor is so subjective, it's impossible to please everyone. Personally, I like your blog and comic (although I'm not a fan of F Minus.) These tips were great, and you're right for the most part, at least for modern humor. I don't have much of a funny bone in writing, but I'll see if this post helps. Thanks, Scott!


Brevity rocks.

jerry w.



It's funny in that that's the same grade I'd give it on a day to day basis.

Lost in the shadow of "Pearls before swine" and so many others, and not going to see the sun soon.

Cathy was funny once, years ago......


My favorite F Minus strip was the one where the warriors were shooting arrows with suction cups, and then the suction cups came off, changing warfare forever...

Billy B

It's too bad that you can't fix the world with humor, but you can't. It's only a band aid for dealing with it.
Billy B

Sir Mike Tallon

He's great. Here was my favorite:


As a Zombie fan, I found June 30th to be particularly funny. July 7th was also quite good. Some of them just totally missed though, not even a chuckle, because they were to corny, wordy, or subtle.


I didn't find F Minus all that funny. Here's a few better comics: (I know this was linked earlier, but it deserves all the recognition it can get.)


"Steelhead Salmon" is funnier than "King Salmon". (But perhaps only to those of us who live under the space needle.)


So I guess F Minus is also syndicated by United Media.
Very bad Adams...

Joe Cooper

I loved F Minus, especially the one where they're in the desert with the slot machine and the water vending machine. Brilliant!

I also wanted to point you toward this: Cruel humor mostly!

Michael Casey

Your 2-of-6 rule is interesting, Scott, but I was never convinced that it implies causation rather than simply correlation. I feel like it's missing something key; I'm reminded of your dismissal of the popular humor formula [bad stuff + surprise + someone else]: "If that were true, serial killers would be winning all humor competitions." Naughty + cruel could be a rape, cute + familiar could be a baby, etc.

You cleverly weasel out of this problem by employing your one-size-fits-all 80/20 rule. This is clever because YOU DON'T SAY WHAT THE OTHER 20% COULD BE. It could be *anything*. At first whiff, getting to 80% on two of the six sounds reasonable, given the broad range of those essentials (and, of course, the 80/20 rule), but on close inspection it becomes clear that there are waaaaay more not-remotely-funny things than even almost-funny things that can emerge from that formula. My weasel sense was tingling something fierce.

Now I've realized the genius behind your formula. The formula is indeed a formula, but it doesn't work the way you advertised it. You ingeniously designed it to *provoke* funny thoughts in the minds of us readers; you were gambling on our own ability to draw up comedy given a few bare-bones contexts. Once we start thinking about cuteness and cruelness and bizarreness, our brains will sooner or later stumble upon something funny, like bazooka bunnies (get Rayman Raving Rabbids for your kids, btw). Our brains automatically filter out the non-funny stuff, like "just a baby". You encourage the mindset of experimentation, which is what all humor needs, and we take over from there.

So what's the remaining 20%? Why, the very same thing you were using to share your formula: hypnotism.


I read them all. They're alright.


I only read a couple weeks of F-. I like it. I really like his imagination. But there's a LOT of range as to whether any given comic may or may not be funny. That's probably why you told us to read through his archive.

His Ben Franklin comic put me in stitches. So great. The 1/2 guy on the airplane, also good. But the guy fishing at marine world? Incredibly bad. Beyond lame. So, lots of range.

On average, it's as funny as any other comic.

I might buy his book. If there are at least a handful of Ben Franklin-quality comics in there, it would be worth wading through the stinkers to find them.

J Jetzen

I think that "kumquat" may be the funniest word of all time.

You can say that word in any group, in any situation, and at least one person will laugh.

Thanks for the humor tips. I knew there was a formula for this, but never quite knew what it was.


Oh, and another thing, its not funny when its a-a-almost funny, like F Minus.


Nope - F Minus was not the slightest bit funny, even if you say so. I did not laugh, snicker, or smile on the inside. It's torture when the guy is obviously trying to be funny, and not succeeding. Like a nurse trying to give you an injection with a blunt needle.

I assumed this is just a way of checking out the competition, or another free will experiment.


I agree with poster Enough Wealth. F Minus is reminiscent of the Far Side and looks promising.

Another relatively new strip that is good is The Pajama Diaries by Terri Libenson. Yes, it covers the same ground as Baby Blues, but there’s enough humor in family situations to go around!


You did use the recognizable part in your post. The Shish Kabob situation and the scene in the bath room. No one has ever experience a full Shish Kabob, but had tried. And everyone knows what goes on in the bathroom.

Ward Newcomb

Thanks for the advice. I must say though, that I am disturbed that you think canoe is a funny word. Some of my best canoes are friends.

But in keeping with your previous Mongolian post, there was a segment on the evening news last night showing the world's tallest man meeting the worlds smallest. Have to wonder how big his ganbaatar is. Can't say, however, that I have same level of curiosity.


Your Mongolian post was terrible, Scott. I cringed just reading it . . . Silly penis euphemisms are on par with fart jokes in the bottom of the low-brow humor barrel. The humor felt forced and obvious, and now I know why: it was constructed according to this set of rules. Your best posts have a spontaneous, unpredicatable quality to them that makes them special.


Thank you.

When I get laughs from my writing, it is always by accident. I seldom understand what it is that people find funny about my minor or major tragedies. They probably think I'm exaggerating.

I've bought books on how to write humor. The publishers probably laughed a lot as they counted their money.

I tend to kill humor by drowning it in words.

Now if my novel is published and becomes famous, I'll owe you. Damn! Where do I send the check?


Poor Natalie!!

jerry w.

Great description on how to be funny.

Sadly, it was in the least funny post you've done in a long time.

single jane


look at what I found through using the stumble tool in my firefox thingy-

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