Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am not a funny gal

Two guys walked into a bar, no wait, it’s a priest and a rabbi entered a bar, um, no that’s a cop and a monkey are in a car and the monkey says, um…

OK, I can’t remember jokes for the life of me. Five minutes after the punch line I would be hard pressed to retell the joke to someone else, and if I did remember how it went I would not be able to deliver it right. Guess I am just not a funny gal. Sarcastic, yes, and witty at times, but not funny. Some people are born with the gift. My sister’s second husband could have made millions as a stand up comedian. He was, hand’s down, the funniest person I have ever known. Watching a B-movie with him was a hysterical experience! He had the gift. His son, my nephew, inherited that gift and is almost as funny as his dad.

One thing I learned hanging around with the jokesters of our family is not only will you have a great time, but everyone becomes funny! It is like the funny-aura oozes out and infects those surrounding until we are all bursting with witticism and wisecracks. Humor feeds off of laughter and grows stronger and more potent. This is an important lesson for me when it comes to my writing. Since I am not inherently a funny gal, I could probably never write a farce or slapstick novel. But, I do understand the natural humor that arises in everyday life among people who know each other well, especially if one has the gift. I also know how important humor is in stressful situations after working for decades in the ICU. It is this normal, innate humor that I inject into my novels. Of course it helps that I have created a couple of characters who remind me a bit of my brother-in-law!

An excerpt from Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy

“My husband claims to be as poor a proficient on the violin, yet now I begin to speculate he may not have been totally forthright. How would you evaluate his skills, Colonel, as one artist assessing the other?”

Richard smugly appraised his faintly frowning cousin. “Ah, Mrs. Darcy, you place before me an interesting dilemma. If I judge his talents paltry, then we shall all take pity and not wish to embarrass him by prevailing upon him to play, thus depriving us entertainment, but he shall thank me and be in my debt. If, however, I laud his gift, extolling the unsurpassed skill he wields, then all shall beseech him to grace us with a tune to our delight but I shall likely be soundly pummeled once alone.”

They all laughed. Mr. Lathrop chimed in with his soft voice, “I shall save you, Colonel. Darcy has not seen me for many months so would not likely horsewhip me.”

“Do not be too confident, Lathrop,” Darcy interrupted with a growl.

Undeterred, Mr. Lathrop continued with a grin, “Darcy often played at Cambridge and is quite good, although he abhors performing for crowds. Except for that one time, remember, Darcy?”

All eyes were on Darcy, brows raised in question. Richard stifled a chuckle and Mr. Lathrop was grinning broadly.

“This is blackmail,
old friend.” Darcy said, trying not to smile.

Mr. Lathrop spread his hands innocently, “Simply a reminder of what is possible with the appropriate … influences.”

“What manner of
influences, Mr. Darcy, pray tell?” asked Mrs. Lathrop with a dimpled smile. All were staring at Darcy with varying degrees of humor with the exception of Georgiana who was frankly baffled.

Excerpt from Loving Mr. Darcy starring my favorite fellow, Dr. George Darcy—

He shrugged. “Then why are you not riding your horse?”

Darcy stopped abruptly with a glare. “Because you, Doctor Darcy, ordered me not to until you examined me and gave the approval.”

George arched both brows in surprise. “Did I really say that?”

“Yes, you did,” Darcy said through gritted teeth.

“Hmmm, how odd.” George was stroking his chin in perplexity. “Although it does sound like something I would say, is that not so, Raja?”

“Yes, it does sound like you, George,” Dr. Penaflor was grinning, sparkling teeth flashing.

“If you declare it so, William, then I believe you. What I should have said is that you may resume all normal activities once no further pain is felt.” He clapped Darcy on the shoulder, the left one, with a brilliant smile. “How is that? Happy now?”

Darcy was staring at him open mouthed. With a final glare and shake of his head, he pivoted and stomped into the parlor. George met Lizzy’s glittering eyes, winking broadly and grinning as he gallantly offered an arm.

Excerpt from My Dearest Mr. Darcy starring Dr. Darcy once again, but also showing humor in a stressful situation—

She curtsyed and left, passing George Darcy in the sitting room. He approached with casual strides, tea cup in one hand and muffin in the other, dressed in a flowing garment of canary yellow with green edging. “I was informed that babies are birthing hereabouts? Elizabeth! You are still pregnant!” He stopped abruptly on the threshold, feigning shock.

“Yes, Uncle, we thought we would wait for you. Now that you have arrived, perhaps you can work your magic and speed the process along?”

“Alas, my dear niece, magic does not reside in these hands. Only staggering expertise and superior knowledge. William, you do intend on dressing and shaving? Your baby’s eyesight will suffer if greeted by such a frightful vision.”

“And your brash appearance is benign?” Elizabeth interjected.

“Babies love bright colors. Stimulates the retina.” He had crossed to the fireside chair positioned across from Lizzy, sitting and extending long legs nonchalantly as he bit into the muffin.

Yes, I do love that man! Now, perhaps you can share some of your favorite humorous bits? Make us laugh, make us laugh, make us laugh!


  1. I love a book that's full of the gentle humor that arises as the characters themselves see the humorous side of what is taking place.

  2. I'm like you, Sharon. I couldn't remember a joke if it killed me. Love your excerpts! Subtle humor is fun. We laugh a lot at the front counter of our library. Our staff has fun. It's infectious. I hope it never changes. I've worked in dour work environments. It takes years off your life. Taking a moment to enjoy the humor in life is so important. Love your post and love your Dr. Darcy!!! Your books are keepers!

  3. Love the excerpts. Very funny, indeed!

  4. Thanks ladies! I agonized over what to write for "humor month" since being funny just isn't an easy task for me. I guess it is always better to let our characters speak for us since they are inevitably better all the way around! LOL!

  5. I love books, straight or humorous, it doesn't matter to me as long as their well-written and has a decent plot. Life is innately funny, so even in the most serious books must have a little humor and finding humor in otherwise serious characters is a wonderful thing.

  6. LOVE that Dr. Darcy, Sharon! Thanks for sharing a bit of his wit. ;-)

    JOKES?!?! I LOVE JOKES! I could probably tell them for hours... of course most of them are not fit for our PG rated blog, but if you wanna hear some risque jokes, just email me!


  7. Loved your excerpts, Sharon! Thx so much for sharing. And yes, the men that surround me are always cracking jokes, and it is infectous most of the time. One of their fav sayings is "Welcome to five seconds ago" if someone doesn't get one of thier jokes right away. My son hit my DH with that, and my other son added "And to your left you can see the point." :} I love my boyos!

  8. Sharon,

    You really know how to make Darcy come alive! As for humor, well of course, I think I'm funny but will not ask for a show of hands!

  9. Love the excerpts, thanks so much for sharing them!

    Sheesh, considering Sourcebooks just contracted me for three romantic comedies, I'm surprised to find I have zilch to contribute to any of these posts on humor. I must have used it all up on my own blog and manuscripts.

    But I'm certainly enjoying what others have to add!


  10. Great excerpts, Sharon.

    You know how I am with humor. I love it!

  11. Hey all! Sorry I have been absent today. This was a sleeping day for me, so I am just getting the time to respond. Thanks for all the comments and encouragement that I DO have a funny bone! Nice to know. :)

    You are right about humor being a part of life, Robin. Even people who are super serious will have their moments of cutting loose.

    Thanks Cindy! I love him the best and it makes me happy when he is appreciated by others. I would ask you to send me your jokes but I would never be able to do them justice! Get them prepared for when we are together in Nashville. ;-)

    Hi Kathryne! Isn't it great being surrounded by funny people? I should have mentioned my son, who is 17 with a dry wit that will have us frequently spitting food or clutching our side.

  12. Thanks so much, Amelia. Of course I adore Mr. Darcy and love to show his humorous, loose side. He isn't as obvious as Dr. Darcy in his playfulness, but he has a subtle wittiness that shines especially when he is with people he is comfortable with. And I think you are hysterical! :)

    Tawna! A new SB author!! How fabulous is that? Welcome aboard. I am sure you must be a very funny gal to tackle a romantic comedy. Best of luck!

    Yes indeed, Linda, we ALL know about you and humor. LOL!

  13. Hi Sharon,

    A very entertaining essay!! And funny too! Ha! See you are funny without even realising it!
    I love the excerpts you have chosen to point out the humour in your novels. I will add that I absolutely love the part when Dr George Darcy first comes to visit the newly wed Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy and makes fun of Lizzy's inability to cqall him George! He is a total card! I also absolutely love Richard and Darcy together, they really click for me, their chatter is very funny and entertaining!
    TSBO devotee

  14. Ah, I'm in a decidedly un-funny mood today, so I think I'll just read everyone else's comments to get my giggles.

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