I was perusing the internet for…does it even matter? At this point in our society does one even need to qualify why one was exploring the internet? Isn’t it just a given 70% of the time (which is probably a lowball percentage)? Anyway it wasn’t porn and let’s leave it at that.
I was perusing the internet and came across a list of “funny words to help you write funnier stories” and I got about as far as the first three (in case you wondered: bamboozled, bevy, and bazinga —worth noting that the last one isn’t even an actual word) before I stopped reading and thought to myself: this is what people are using to create humor? No wonder Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and Castle are in the top ten highest rated comedies of 2012 (via imdb). For that matter, NCIS (which for God knows why is listed as a comedy) is rated six spots higher than one of my favorite TV comedies, the late 30 Rock — which people tell me is just an NYC-inside-joke heavy, fast-talking “smart” non-comedy for pretentious assholes — but I suppose that’s what I get for letting my waiter make conversation with me when he should be in the back figuring out how to not mess up my drink a second time and what the hell he’s gonna do with a liberal arts degree in communication.
I’m hardly an expert on the matter, but to me using a list of funny words to help “funny-up” your writings is the equivalent of using a fart to open up your stand-up comedy routine — it probably gets a bit of a chuckle initially, but then people are just left with the stench of your actual content (both figuratively and literally in that example). Also, “fart” was shockingly absent from the aforementioned list of funny words, which makes me question the legitimacy of the entire thing.
I don’t really have a particular point I’m trying to make here, and I guess I applaud anyone who’s so committed to trying to be funny that they’re changing their entire vocabulary, but it all just seems a either too forced (when was the last time you heard someone smoothly work the word “kinkajou” into their everyday vernacular…it just sounds like an awful racial slur) or altogether ineffective (I can’t imagine a scenario where adding “viper” to something gets a huge laugh…unless we’re reminiscing about the AWESOME mid-90s TV series of the same name, which is no laughing matter because that show was amazertron — amazertron also absent from the list).
I guess in the end I see this all as an extension of a pet peeve of mine, which is when people are just trying too hard to be “that guy” (ironic that that’s my pet peeve, I know). Maybe my advice to you (this is an advice column, right?) is if you want to bring extra humor/laughter to your stories — whether they’re written or just spoken amongst your friends — just let it happen somewhat naturally and enjoy the camaraderie of your companions…if they’re your friends then you probably laugh about a lot of the same things already.
…Unless you’re trying to be a comedy writer/performer, in which case you better be able to crank out 20 jokes in two minutes that are better than everyone else’s or you’ll never work in this town again! (Also, I already use bevy in my everyday parlance, and let me tell you, it kills).
But what do I know, I wrote this entire thing freeform in about a half hour just because I really wanted to make the pun I used for the title. I have a problem, send help.
Maybe we should create our own funny word list, leave your suggestions for funny words for the official funny words list in the comments, or just listen to anything Joe Pesci says (that’s your dated reference for the day, kids. Google it).