Actors today try to avoid comedy because if you write a comedy that’s not a success, the lack of success is immediately apparent because the audience is not laughing. A comedy is a big risk.
I love Cary Grant…for many reasons. :) And that quote above is one of those reasons.
I adore the quote almost as much as I adore the man. I really do. Because comedy is one of my faaaavorite things. Movies, books, really stories of any kind—and people!—who make me laugh, they’re the best. So I just can’t help infusing my own stories with what I hope are funny moments and plenty of witty banter.
And that’s why I often say I write rom-com rather than straight contemporary romance.
Don’t get me wrong…romance is a rather big factor in my books. I mean, when you’ve got a cute guy and smiling girl on the cover, there better be a little romance inside, yeah?
But to me, the humor is just as important. It’s one of my favorite things to write…but just like Cary Grant says, it’s also, perhaps, the riskiest. Or at least one of the iffiest. Because I’m constantly wondering, what if I’m the only one who thinks this is funny?
Romance can take its time in a story.
A spiritual theme or overarching story question can slowly gel in a reader’s mind, even after they’ve finished the story.
But the humor? That’s yes or no, in the moment. It either makes the reader laugh…or it doesn’t. And humor that falls flat is just plain painful.
And yet…humor done well is worth the risk, I believe. Why?
Because—and I’ve probably said this all over the interwebs, so forgive me if I’ve got the broken record thing going on—laughter paves the way for truth.
At least for me.
It gets me all comfortable and settled in. Laughter is an impulsive, in-the-moment response…in some ways, it’s one of our realest expressions. Because we don’t control it or think it out beforehand. We don’t prepare for it. We just…laugh.
There’s a genuineness to it…and I think that’s why it’s so good at prepping me for the bigger stuff—the deeper thoughts and longer threads of conversation that make for amazing relationships.
And I think that’s why I love humor in stories so much. Because it pulls an immediate, impulsive response from readers that connects us to the story, to the characters, to the moment. And suddenly, we’re settled in and ready for the deeper pieces—the nuggets of truth, the direct or indirect spiritual themes, the serious moments that will hopefully have us thinking days after we reach “The End.”
Too…I just like to laugh. :)
How about you? Do you prefer a dose or more of humor in the books you read or movies you watch? Do you think there’s something to the idea that laughter paves the way for truth and deeper conversations?