Monty Python Monday!

In my quest for humor (I’ll write more about my week off later) I decided to let my fingers do the walking and hunt up a Monty Python clip which one of my friends had mentioned the other day.  Being a late bloomer when it comes to Monty Python (I shall never forgive my parents for all the lost years during which I could have been experiencing the wondrous British hiliarity) I had only seen the Parrot Sketch a couple years ago after I bought my husband a three disc set of Monty Python for Christmas.  First, the clip: 

Second, how that strikes me with writing:  You take an ordinary occurrence and twist just one thing ever so slightly and then you suddenly have comedy gold.  The dead parrot sketch begins on such a simple thing – a complaint about a dead parrot  and bad customer service – then evolves into discovering the conspiracy to sell a dead bird.  Customer complaints are seldom funny, nor are the customer service providers, but when you find out the parrot was nailed to the perch – hilarity.

When writing it’s easy to get caught up in the want of being clever, to get bogged down in expectation and to push one’s self to be OMGWTFBBQ HILARIOUS, but Monty Python offers us the best advice in my opinion:  Take an ordinary situation, make one element unexpected, then let it play out.

And one more clip: 

What technique works best for you when injecting humor into your works?  Do you inject humor into your works?  Is it necessary in all pieces?

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12 responses to “Monty Python Monday!

  • Teresa

    I love humor and laughing. I want to make people laugh. from my writing, I may plan to insert humor at certain places, but frankly the humor that surprises ME most and is the funnniest comes from my characters and situations. They come up with it.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Teresa – That’s an excellent and wonderful point. Spontaneity and individuality of characters needs to lead the humor sometimes. 🙂 [Heller opted for plot driven, black humor in “Catch – 22” which worked to some extent.]

  • Jemi Fraser

    The British have the most creative insults! My folks are Scottish – my mom and her brother used to play the insult game a lot. No repeated words allowed – some of them are hilarious – great vocabulary expander. She knew the word primordial from a very early age!

    • kimberlyloomis

      Jemi – Lol! That’s awesome! So true. I think through watching “Fawlty Towers” and, of course, Monty Python, my vocabulary grew immensely.

  • Carol Kilgore

    A lot of strange things strike me as funny, so I try to transfer that to the page. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

  • DL Hammons

    I LOVE Monty Python! In fact, their humor factors into my novel (the six friends the novel revolves around call themselves “The Knights Who Say Ni”.

    My favorite sketch is “I’m here for an argument.” 🙂

  • Hart

    My writer’s group actually has a pact to include a Monty Python line somewhere in every novel. In my first it is ‘Because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” (in response to a history assignment)

    I LOVE their humor, but you’re right–part of what is so funny is the understatedness sets up a FABULOUS contrast–the unexpected is funnier than the slapstick.

    My parents were likewise lame… low class, young and uneducated… fortunately one of my best friends had parents who’d gone to Berkeley and so were far more hip.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Hart – I currently am enamored with your writer’s group. That’s just awesome. Now, you quote that part and my mind jumps to “History of the World” and the ever famous: “The inquisition, the inquisition…” Mel Brooks is another one whose humor almost always worked for me.

  • Corra McFeydon

    You know, I’ve never once watched Monty Python. I can appreciate humor, but I don’t know how to put it in my work.

    I’ve used a funny character before, but not in an attempt to write humor. He was just funny and kept stealing scenes. It was never on purpose.

    Alas, I killed him. The story was a drama, and his character didn’t fit. A stealer of limelight!

    In my latest manuscript, I do want to inject a humor character. I think it helps to balance a scene. Not too dark–so long as he doesn’t take over. 😉

    – Corra

    from the desk of a historical writer

    • kimberlyloomis

      Corra – Sounds like his death was a necessity. Was it a funny death?

      Just crack the whip on the new humor character and tell him to behave or else his/her fate will be the same as the one that came before him. 😉

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