A Funny Thing About Romance Novels…

Ever since I spent some mental time with King Charles II and his witty court poet, John Wilmot, I’ve been pre-occupied with the notion that humor is serious business. Yes, good humor is vastly entertaining, but humor has power, too.

Tim AllenOne of the things you learn in conflict manager school is that underdogs know a lot more about overdogs than conversely. Ask your kids to describe you, and you’ll hear things about yourself you never noticed, vivid details, major personality traits, habits… they’re watching you, those little people. Similarly, the abused party in a violent relationship has a finely tuned sense of the abuser’s every mood, quirk, and preference. The abuser will seldom have (or be able to afford) that keen a perception of the abused partner.

Eddie murphyAsk members of a social minority about the majority, and they will know exactly what’s eaten on certain holidays observed by the majority, what rituals happen in the homes of the majority on that day (generally). The minority can tell you where the majority is likely to shop, what music they listen to, where they go on vacation. Not so much the other way around.

Comedians exploit this. Think of how many comedians in this country are from minorities or from Canada. In Britain, one of the most popular (and funny) comedians is Billy Connolly, a Scot whose delivery is occasionally foul-mouthed and not without political impact–but he makes you laugh. Even when he’s dealing with topics that flatter no one, he makes you laugh. And he makes you think, because under all that humor is usually an uncomfortable truth.

bill cosbySome readers do not respect romance as a fiction genre. Without ever having read a romance, they will dismiss a $1.37 billion industry as “bodice rippers,” a term that went of fashion two decades ago. When Eloisa James recommended five romantic summer reads for NPR, some of the comments responding to her suggestions were ungracious, to say the least.

Eloisa is an Oxford educated, Ph.D-toting, Shakespeare scholar who teaches at Fordham University when she’s not hitting the New York Times bestseller’s list with her historical romances. My sense is, had she been recommending five gourmet noodle casseroles, or five vacations spots for families with teens, or five ways ways to make your lawn mower quieter, the comments would have been more respectful.

Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly

But romance is a little like that minority comedian–never taken seriously, not a threat to “serious” literature, but operating from an astute grasp of what’s important in life, and what needs to be written about. Romance delivers a happily ever after, but the price of admission to that HEA is a tale that requires flawed people to struggle hard against their limitations, prejudices and fears, even when all hope is lost, even when love alone is all that sustains them.

Fluffy stuff, the basic romance novel. Cheap entertainment that doesn’t mean anybody any harm, on one level–and yet, for those of us who read them, they make us think–about what’s important, about who’s important to us, and about what matters in life. Fluffy stuff, indeed.

Who or what makes you laugh? Share a link if you have one, and to one commenter I’ll send an ARC of “Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait.”

 

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80 comments on “A Funny Thing About Romance Novels…

  1. 1
    Barbara Elness says:

    I’ve always liked British comedy, such as Monty Python, Jeeves and Wooster, and Fawlty Towers, and I like comedians like Adam Sandler, Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld. People who are good-hearted funny, not mean spirited or insulting.

    • 1.1

      My daughter took a shine to Python when she was in early adolescence, and we can still trade lines–I like that, that humor gave us something in common. Same with Mel Brooks movies. “We’re men! We’re men in tiiiiiights!” sung a la musicale is enough to make either of us smile.

  2. 2
    Tracey says:

    I am told I have a warped sense of humor. I laugh at British humor, horrible puns, corny jokes, my funny dog…I laugh at lots of things. But I get the biggest belly-laugh from laughing at myself. Usually at something that sounded so good in my head, but didn’t come out of my mouth right. I do that alot.
    I love humor in romance novel. The sarcasm and wit. Humor makes a person more “real”. I cannot imagine a world without humor and love. They seem to go together.

    • 2.1

      Tracey, it strikes me that humor is a bit like anger, in that, with anger, there’s often a more complicated emotion right under it–fear, grief, self-loathing, bewilderment. Humor can also sit on top of more complicated emotions, but they can tend to be more positive–love, curiosity, joy de vivre, loneliness.

      And as for the quirky humor… I have it too, and one person explained it to me as indicative of strong visual/spatial thinking skills. We “see” or “feel” the funny, much more quickly than people who think in words or logic will “comprehend” the funny.

      Kinda made sense.

  3. 3
    Deirdre says:

    I laugh most readily at the pure silliness my young boys show. I have a serious job with lots of heavy reading, and I will laugh out loud when some human silliness pops through the layers of formailty, like pop culture references, commentary, or rhymes. I do not usually enjoy humor that depends on the humiliation of others so many “funny” movies put me off. I love it when movie characters do something ordinary folks never can – making Office Space one of my favorite funny movies.

    • 3.1

      “I believe you have my stapler.”

      I’m fussy about my humor too. The whole Home Alone approach–humiliation, slapstick violence, the same, “I’m smart and the bad guys are dumb” joke over and over and over…. I don’t understand why people pay money for that, or expose their kids to it.

      Which, of course, makes me weird.

      • 3.1.1
        Sue says:

        OMG!! I OWN a red “my stapler”!! It was given to me as a parting gift from my staff when I left a job … none too soon!

  4. 4
    Jennie Basset says:

    Laughter really is the best medicine. I’ve observed many an interaction improve with a quick joke. I’m a fan of stand-up comedians like Jim Gaffigan, Mike Bergiglia, and Louis CK.

    • 4.1

      When my daughter was dealing with God awful depression (and what depression isn’t?), she came across Dave Barry’s books. The sound of her belly-laughing (lampshade, anybody), was about the most reassuring thing I could have heard, for her or for me.

      The very best medicine.

  5. 5
    Manuela says:

    Billy Conolly, I always have to get tissues and take a break so I can get back to breathing when I watch him. He is hillarious, I cry and can’t breathe and I have to be careful not to pee my pants. I love that his anecdotes are taken from real live situations and can happen to any of us.
    Apart from him I like anyone who is witty. The Australian comedians are quite good, too. Tim Minchin, Tom Gleeson, Julia Morris, Paul McDermott, Magda Szubanski just to name a few.

    • 5.1

      Billy Connolly has such a stark juxtaposition of foul-language and merry wit, he’s kinda startling. Eddie Murphy can strike the same note, but the first time I recall being helpless with laughter… Bill Cosby, and not a cuss word to be heard. I would have been about eight years old.

      • 5.1.1
        Tracey says:

        I was able to see Bill Cosby, live, in Vegas in 1985. I laughed until I hurt! For days after, I would think about something he said, and laugh out loud and everybody would stare at me. Which made it even funnier. And you are correct; not a single cuss word.

      • 5.1.2
        Manuela says:

        Yeah, I know he is very bad, but noone tells a story like he does with all the details and the mimic and the sounds. Unfortunately I have never seen Bill Cosby as a comedian although I used to watch the Bill Cosby show (German dubbing). I thought it was funny but more situational comedy. And I may have missed things that got lost in translation. 🙂

  6. 6
    Linda Thum says:

    I like videos of animals & young children. Natural things which give me a warm feeling as I smile. I hate slapstick.

    • 6.1

      I don’t get slapstick, is the way I put it, Linda, and I think some of it generational. To my parents, Laurel and Hardy was hilarious.

      Were they that disempowered they had to see comic violence to provoke a laugh? Was it the Depression? The Roaring Twenties? I dunno. Just not my cuppa tea?

  7. 7
    Martha Eddy says:

    My favorite type of humorous is intellectual. I want something that makes me think, laugh and groan. Puns are my favorite!

  8. 8
    Peggy Wright says:

    I very much agree with your observation about romance literature and the value of main stream reviewer. I think that the tale would have to be over 100 years old for some people to get it as literature. A little annoyance of mine, I suppose as I read so much of it. I’m a lousy reviewer and certainly feel I’m never able to give my favorite authors books the degree of respect they deserve with my few words. But Eloisa James is one I’ve singled out more than once as giving me a laugh, sometimes a chuckle, sometimes a belly roll laugh. I also have hesitated to read a book once in a while by a review. Just hate that because a review generally doesn’t hold my level of enjoyment in the book. I have friends that see nothing except the titillation of the romance. I see reviews that complain there is not enough in each book.. If you think back to the good romantic comedy we most of us grew up with in the 50’s that’s my idea of humor with romance. Choose any Myrna Loy, Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers romantic comedy and you will see my point. Little graphic stuff allowed then. Conversation, dress design, set design, and chemistry between the stars, that carried the day. It still carries the day in the historical romance novels I enjoy with a bit more, and Your novels as well as Eloisa, Mary Balogh, Well you know I’ve got a heck of a list and could continue, but I may go off tangent again. I really want to say humor makes me smile especially in my Romance books. Thank you kindly, off to work now after a 3 day weekend and Beckman, Mary Fran and Matthew. If I only had more time…

    • 8.1

      I’m fascinated by Indian romances, Polly, because they have a HUGE following, and the tale (or film) will be considered racy is there’s so much as a kiss in the final scene. The H/h smile, glance, yearn, glance some more, and may not even touch, but the pull of those stories for that culture is enormous.

      And Cary Grant is still considered one of the hottest icons we have…

      • 8.1.1
        Olivia Searcy says:

        I’ve had the best time on YouTube, looking at clips of Carol Burnett, ‘I Love Lucy’,Robin Williams and ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’. About a month ago, I was watching clips of Blazing Saddles, History of the World, Part 1,Monty Python and ‘Are You Being Served.’ I had the best laugh! Like many others here, I am drawn to intelligence or outright silliness, but I am put off my mean, crude or humiliating humor. Growing up, I heard a lot of Richard Pryor, Moms Mably, Redd Foxx and George Carlin. Bill Cosby too, (although he was a bit tame for my father, whose taste ran more toward off color jokes.) I find I am more drawn to comedy from my adolescence and early adulthood. I connect much less with contemporary comedians.

        But I do love this… David Tennant makes me smile on this one… and Catherine Tate is hilarious.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmj4CeUT-Mg

  9. 9
    Polly says:

    Jeanne Robertson has the funniest, cleanest humor I have ever heard. Her Bungee Jumping in Canada makes me laugh until I cry, every time. Check her out on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1sMIa_eC2Y ) for a wonderful belly laugh. Humor is essential in life and it is the little things that work. Somewhere out there, there is also a great hour or more of comedians with disabilities that shows the points you were making about the little details. You have to be a comedian first (timing, delivery) but the show they put together using comedians with disabilities is another well worth watching, and again you will laugh and laugh.

  10. 10

    Some clips from Comedians with Disabilities:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCZ3jE5j4Vs

    They use humor to deal with what it’s like to have disabilities, much like the court jester was the only one who could get the king to hear the truth some times… great stuff, Polly. Thanks!

  11. 11
    Hope says:

    Well first laugh that comes to mind usually always comes from Monty Python memories. I adored them. I am not into too raunchy but if you have a point, I laugh. I adored George Carlin for his take on society and the glorious use of language.

    And frankly I was re reading an historical, Married by Morning that mixed some serious angst with really chuckle worthy moments between the two main characters

    In a word? I love to laugh and many times do!

    PS Grace? This one looks to be a huge winner, of course as all yours are but I sense some lovely vulnerability with Jenny. And with that headstrong loving family , a share of laughter

    Cannot wait

    • 11.1

      George Carlin knew exactly how to make the king listen to uncomfortable truths by clothing them in humor, and self-deprecation. Lilly Tomlin had the same gift.

      Anne Gracie, among romance authors, has a particular gift for juxtaposing the funny and the profound, and she does it in a historical context, suggesting …there’s genius at work.

      And some of worst fits of the giggles in my family were in the car on the way to a funeral. Now why is that?

  12. 12
    Nicole Laverdure says:

    I love watching Rowan Atkinson perform! He is a “natural” !
    He always make me laugh to much, than even my mascara will start running! There was also a British show of this married woman who was a funny and her husband so patient with her, she was hilarious..can’t remember the name of this series.
    By the way, Grace, I really enjoyed reading your book Once upon a Tartan. I hope other books will come and visit me! Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait seems very nice to read!

    • 12.1

      Rowan Atkinson has a gift–he’s one of few comedians who can do an entire routine without saying a word, and that has become rare.

      I HOPE Lady Jenny lives up to her Windham antecedents–her book isn’t that funny, for all it’s a Christmas book–but Once Upon a Tartan is very dear to my heart. Really looking forward to that one!

  13. 13
    Sheryl says:

    I love comedy! I love watching stuff by Eddie Murphy, Mel Brooks, Jim Carey, Will Farrell, and Adam Sandler. There are so many more, but those jumped out at me. I love watching the old comedies like Police Academy and Blazing Saddles. Can’t wait to read about Jenny.

    • 13.1

      Blazing Saddles was a work of genius. It’s hard to appreciate that now, because some of the political humor was subtle and is now dated, but it’s both a funny and interesting movie.

      Must go watch again–thanks, Sheryl!

  14. 14
    Moriah says:

    I absolutely love Arrested Development, especially the first 3 seasons. The show is never very PC and sometimes makes you cringe as you laugh, but the running jokes throughout the series are fantastic. As many times as I’ve watched the episodes, I still find new things to laugh at.

    • 14.1

      Humor can be very subversive–the inside joke has a power to bind together, and to powerfully exclude. I’ve heard the terms “black humor,” “Indian humor,” “women’s humor,” and wondered what’s really so darned funny, if only a minority of us can get the joke?

      But then I hear a good horse joke…

  15. 15
    Sharlene Wegner says:

    Well, school is out for the summer, but I love listening to my 13 yr old daughter telling me funny stories about things that happen in school or funny things her teachers or friends say. It is great to hear her laugh, too!

    • 15.1

      I’ve never seen my dad laugh so hard as when he recounted overhearing one of my brothers, deep in the throes of adolescence, sitting on the front stoop late at night philosophizing with some of his moto-cross buddies. Mom and Dad’s (open) bedroom window was right over the porch, and oh, the virtuosic profanity those young philosophers were capable of…

      Now if they’d only put that energy into their school work…

  16. 16
    Deb Foster says:

    If you’re talking British comedy, two of my favorite British series are The Vicar of Dibley and Are You Being Served. Dawn French was absolutely great in her role as the vicar.

    • 16.1

      And many people claim Richard Armitage’s role in Vicar as Harry Kennedy (2006-2007 seasons), was some of his best work. Funny, understated, warm… lovely stuff!

  17. 17
    Bonnie says:

    When I’m in the mood for comedy, I go for a silly movie. My all time favorite silly movie is Airplane. (Don’t call me Shirley.) I’m another one who loves Mel Brooks. Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles History of the World – love ’em. As for comedians, I really enjoyed Jeff Dunham with the grouchy Walter. Although, when I saw him live, he tended to really take humiliating a couple audience members to an extreme level, I thought. So I won’t see him again.

  18. 18
    Georgie says:

    Humor, especially unexpected “in a book” humor is the one thing that will keep me coming back very often to an author for more. It’s not that common. It warms the heart and gives outlook a shake up.. Positive motivation for me. The rant at Eloisa James reminded me of an instance, where my B-I-L was at my house (about 40 years ago), found me reading as usual, grabbed my book to see what I was reading – From then on out, he teased me relentlessly. THERE YOU ARE READING “Nurse Kelley Goes to Rome” again! I know not historical but the same idea, romance reading has been considered “slumming” my whole life… HIDE it under the bed, under the table, in front of another book – You would think we were reading “playboy” (that would have been more acceptable I think at times) .

    • 18.1

      One theory for why romance readers are the first adapters for e-reading devices is that the readers don’t want anybody seeing those steamy covers.

      This struck me as ridiculous–I can read what I want to read–but then, I live a relatively private, self-directed life. If I had to put up with people rolling their eyes at me on the train every morning, my view might be very different.

      To the extent that romance is not about sex (though it can encompass sex), I can’t understand why stories about love and personal responsibility would be denigrated. To the extent that our culture is not very mature regarding sex, and much romance doesn’t do a good job with its character arcs… well, yeah, maybe…

      And here I could rant about covers that objectify men as well as women, but I won’t. Much.

      • 18.1.1
        Mary T. says:

        Recently I was reading a romance novel when my little 5 year old niece pointed to the cover and wanted to know “why that lady was taking her clothes off”. The cover had a picture of a woman with her dress partially undone in the back. I told her that I thought the lady didn’t know that her dress was coming undone (smile).

        There are some novels in this genre that are little more than porn. The novel I was reading was NOT one of them. I do wish that the folks who decide on the covers would give a little more thought to what the book represents.

  19. 19
    Larisa says:

    George Carlin has made me laugh so hard, long & often. Once I heard Monty Python described as Catnip for Nerds decades of giggles made sense, especially the years of watching the films with friends. Dame Edna, Eddie Izzard and other Brits are a sure bet. Seeing Lily Tomlin’s one woman show is in my top ten theater-going experiences. Mark Twain is still wickedly spot-on, and as performed by Hal Holbrook a evening guaranteed to make my sides ache with Laughter. Then there are the Muppets, when I stop laughing with the Muppets I’ll know I’ve stopped living. Nor can I imagine my childhood without those Bill Cosby records with Fat Albert, driving a stick shift in San Francisco, soap box cars and that that heart. Oh! Dick VanDyke (sp) manages to be sly and work the pratfall.
    I don’t get the humor in movies anymore, the Home Alone and Something about Mary ilk. Rude & Mean don’t make me laugh. Aladdin with Robin Williams, absolutely.

  20. 20

    Saw Holbrook in college, and he’s terrific with wonderful material. Here’s a clip of him doing the “lying” segment. Priceless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnF-7bqyKuo

  21. 21
    Sarah R. says:

    My boys make me laugh daily, especially the twins. There is just something in the way they talk so matter of fact and how they take everything so literally because they don’t understand figure of speech. I often find myself in fits of laughter because of something they have said like my son, Matthew asking me when he first made an appearance in this world as opposed to asking me what year he was born.

    As for comedy I like it when it makes fun of the way we are in everyday life because, really, we are quite funny in the way we go about daily life. The comedian Sinbad has long been a favorite of mine and here is a brief clip of him addressing a couple issues that women have with men.
    http://youtu.be/ru0g5UfrDNA

    • 21.1

      Richard Pryor also got a lot of mileage out of the differences between women and men, as did Bill Cosby. And the, um, funny thing about all of their routines is that they’re making us laugh about things that are SO TRUE.

  22. 22
    Amanda V says:

    My husband always makes me laugh with a funny story or he breaks out into a funny dance at the strangest times.. just to make me laugh. It’s silly comedy I like best, not raunchy or cruel. I avoid the embarrassing and hurtful.

    • 22.1

      I’m not a fan of the Three Stooges, for that reason. Much of their comedy is having them make each other look stupid, stupider, and stupidest. I just can’t see it. Red Skelton made me laugh HARD without putting anybody down, ever.

  23. 23
    Krysten M says:

    I like everday life comedians, or ones who make fun of quirks people have.. John Pinette is hysterical. And Jeff Dunham, the guy who does comedy through ventriloquism (but only his first shows) is pretty funny too. You know it’s good when you’re laughing so hard your stomach hurts and you start crying.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4PCF70HBkU

    • 23.1

      Yep–that bellyache laughter is great stuff, to the point where there’s such a thing as laughing yoga. You don’t even have to find something funny for the simple act of laughing to be doing you some physiological good.

  24. 24
    LSUReader says:

    My grandkids make me laugh. The youngest, at four-months, has just begun to enjoy giggling when we pick him up or tickle him a certain way. It’s very infectious. The one-year old chortles when something strikes him as funny. The sound alone makes the rest of us laugh.

    I do like comedians, too. And Monty Python’s musical Spamalot is just so funny. I cried from laughing so hard when I saw it.

  25. 25

    My granddaughters make me laugh. They are 4, 6, and 9 years old.
    Their perspective is hilarious at times. We went out on our pontoon to watch fireworks display on the 4th and the questions and observations about what was goig on around us was hysterical.
    My favorite Regency Romance books have a little humor injected into the story line!

    • 25.1

      I love eavesdropping on kids. One of my friends told me that one of the hardest things about being a parent was sometimes not laughing at your kid. Oh, man, was that true!

  26. 26

    My granddaughters make me laugh. They are 4, 6, and 9 years old.
    Their perspective is hilarious.
    My favorite Regency Romance books have a little humor injected into the story line!

  27. 27
    Amy Conley says:

    My grandchildren make me laugh. I never know what will come out of their mouths.

  28. 28
    Tonya Lee says:

    I like comedians Adam Sandler, Eddie murphy,all the guy on “The Big Bang Theories” they make me laugh so hard there are tears in my eyes. I also like Bill Cosby and there are many more that I like and make me laugh. I think everyone should laugh at least once a day because it make you feel better! 😀

    • 28.1

      As a divorce mediator, people expect me to be SERIOUS, and while a divorce is never frivolous, one way to make it less awful is to approach it (in some cases) with some irreverence or humor. I think there’s a sense that if the mediator is relaxed, then the entire process feels more manageable, and funny-laughter is one way to signal that we’re in a safe place.

  29. 29
    Tonya Lee says:

    I like comedians Adam Sandler, Eddie murphy,all the guy on “The Big Bang Theories” they make me laugh so hard there are tears in my eyes. I also like Bill Cosby and there are many more that I like and make me laugh. I think everyone should laugh at least once a day because it make you feel better! 😀

  30. 30
    catslady says:

    My all time favorite comedian was George Carlin. I was lucky to have seen him live. He really makes you think and was not afraid to discuss any topic and usually went again the common opinions. As to current TV, I really enjoy The Big Bang! My favorite reads make me laugh and cry.

    • 30.1

      Sometimes, I’ll be reading in one of my published books, and come across a line that’s… funny! I’m always so surprised, and the more serious the character (Westhaven, this means you), the more effective the humor.

      And yeah, George is another example of the jester being the one who could speak truth to the king.

  31. 31
    Molly R. Moody says:

    I enjoy some comedy but I don’t like the vulgar language and lewd comments that many commedians, and many people find funny. I’ve found many funny little things in your books Grace, though you may not have meant them to be funny, as well as in other romances. I’m reading London’s Last True Scoundrel by Christina Brooke and I cracked up laughing when a ceiling fell on the bed in the room the hero was staying in at the heroine’s ancestral home. I could just picture him stark naked and covered in plaster dust. You show a picture of Bill Cosby and he was one of my mother’s favorite commedians whom I also enjoy. His Noah and the Lord is, to my way of thinking, his best peace, especially the part where God asks Noah “How fast can you tread water Noah?”.

    • 31.1

      I agree with you, Molly, that the foul language gets ridiculous, and this is a frequent criticism of Billy Connolly. When you use profanity THAT much, what purpose does it serve? It’s just a bad habit.

  32. 32
    Beth Irwin says:

    I’m old enough to remember Red Skelton. Dad used to let me stay up late in my PJs to watch him. Klem Kadididlehopper and Gertrude & Heathcliff, two seagulls will still leave me howling to the point of tears. Modern, profanity laden stuff – not so much.

    Love Bill Cosby for similar reasons.

    And it’s a tad non-PC of me, but the ventriloquist who first brought us Ahmad the Terrorist…well, I was active duty. What can I say? Even the Persian Diversion, until recently the man in my life, was grinning.

    • 32.1

      The Persian Diversion? Hooboy.

      Humor that makes fun of enemies has been around as long as we’ve had enemies. I recall in college having take part in a “race relations” training. Supposedly at random, we were handed out tokens worth more or less money, and these tokens controlled pretty much 90 percent of your chance for success in the game (akin to many factors present in our lives at birth, including race and gender).
      One of the first characteristics to emerge among the have nots was deprecating humor toward the haves. Another was a dialect unique to the have nots ABOUT the haves…. very interesting exercise.

      We use humor to empower ourselves, and disempower the enemy, but it doesn’t necessarily work. During WWII, there was all manner of humor directed at how diminutive the Japanese were, and Pearl Harbor caught us literally napping–even small people can build big bombs.

  33. 33
    Sue says:

    At one point my daughter could recite all of Monty Python & The Holy Grail. We still trade quips. I own a copy of “Father Goose” Cary Grant & Leslie Caron. I also own “The Russians Are Coming”. Anyone seen that? It is dated, but priceless. Did anyone besides me like George of the Jungle?

    I tell the children that I work with that unless you can pull off your joke without making someone feel bad, you are not really funny… and most certainly not talented. I am truly tired of the “F bomb”.

  34. 34
    Olivia Searcy says:

    I’ve had the best time on YouTube, looking at clips of Carol Burnett, ‘I Love Lucy’,Robin Williams and ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’. About a month ago, I was watching clips of Blazing Saddles, History of the World, Part 1,Monty Python and ‘Are You Being Served.’ I had the best laugh! Like many others here, I am drawn to intelligence or outright silliness, but I am put off my mean, crude or humiliating humor. Growing up, I heard a lot of Richard Pryor, Moms Mably, Redd Foxx and George Carlin. Bill Cosby too, (although he was a bit tame for my father, whose taste ran more toward off color jokes.) I find I am more drawn to comedy from my adolescence and early adulthood. I connect much less with contemporary comedians.

    But I do love this… David Tennant makes me smile on this one… and Catherine Tate is hilarious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmj4CeUT-Mg

    • 34.1

      Thanks for the clips, and the list. A writing friend was diagnosed with cancer. She asked us to send her all the humor we could find, and there’s a ton of it out there, if you know where to look.

  35. 35
    Maria says:

    It takes a lot to make me really laugh. But the one person who always makes me laugh is my husband. Usually it’s unintentional but his outlook on life and his ability to laugh at himself have endeared him to me for over 20 years. I take myself seriously so he helps me not to. Thank you for the giveaway chance.

  36. 36
    Glittergirl says:

    You struck a chord with me this time. I love humor in my romance novels. Life is too short without humor and if I find it in my “escapeism” books then it’s a win-win. In life some of my favorite comics are Carol Burnett and Jeff Dunham. Carol’s gang would make me howl with laughter. Some of my favorite romance authors that add the spice of humor are: Shelley Laurenston/GA Aiken, Sandra Hill and Lynsay Sands. I can’t wait to add more to that list!

    • 36.1

      What used to tickle me the most was that Carol’s gang would get to cracking up on stage–especially Harvey Corman–and then my dad, who found it all “a bunch of silliness” would begin to crack up.
      We should all enjoy our work that much!

  37. 37
    Mary T. says:

    I love to laugh. I think it is the best thing in this world for the human spitit. I make it a goal to laugh at least once a day every single day of my life. It is one goal that has not been hard to fulfill. I could name a hundred comics and comedians – I love them all (even the blue ones).

    I also appreciate what you had to say about romance novels. I first started reading them about 35 years ago when I was in a rather depressed frame of mind and didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. What the heck is wrong with happy endings anyway??? I did get away from reading them for a few years but recently took them up again when I retired.

    I read a lot of them now and sadly there are a lot of them that aren’t that great – but I love the genre and give them all a chance.

    My favorite writers fall into two catagories – writers like you, Mary Balogh and a few others, who create characters that are so rich and well drawn that I find myself caring about them even after I have finished a book. The other quality that I appreciate is humor. Two of my current favorite authors who use humor are Eloisa James and Julia Quinn. Another favorite of mine from the past is Joan Smith whose books are hard to come by.

    Love your website.

    • 37.1

      Thanks, Mary T. You will be pleased to know the same folks who design and manage the websites for Julia Quinn and Eloisa James also handle mine. I would say those two authors, in addition to having a light touch, also understand human nature, and know how to use the humor so it doesn’t turn a love story into a farce.

      We use humor to get us over the tough spots, and on the way to any happily ever after, there are going to be a lot of tough spots.

  38. 38
    Jessica Card says:

    I enjoy all genre’s of comedy, whether it’s slapstick, raunchy, innocent, honest, or tragic. However the “OH NO THEY DIDN’T” moments in a comedy act really tickles my fancy. Its always refreshing to read a book where the characters are so quick witted they throw you off guard with their ingenuity. I’m currently reading your book Nicholas which contains a perfect example of an “ONTD” moment. When we are first introduced to Ethan and he is meeting with his father, he is asked why he is there to which Ethan quips with the answer “Because you swived with my mother” This exchange made me literally laugh out load, to which my husband gave me one of those “are you insane?” looks. I read many books, sometimes 3 in one week, and eventually they all start to blur together however its these surprising exchanges that stick with me long after the book has been enjoyed that helps set them apart from the rest.

    • 38.1

      Thanks, Jessica, and that’s an example of a very serious hero–maybe my most serious–coming out with a funny. You can hear his dry delivery, can hear that he’s ALSO serious about his response, but not quite.

      Glad you’re enjoying the books!

  39. 39
    Marcy Shuler says:

    In books, I love the humor of Jill Shalvis. I also really love the humor of Ellen DeGeneres.

    • 39.1

      They both have the light, warm touch that’s none the less genuine for being light and warm. You get the sense either lady would be much fun to have lunch with.

  40. 40
    Heather says:

    My little ones. Although they say many funny things, it’s often their youthful viewpoint in everyday life.

    Example: my daughter was three years old and at summer camp. She had broken her wrist while playing with her older brother and had trouble with normal daily activities. I picked her up from camp and her counselor took me aside to tell me that while she was helping her in the bathroom, my daughter had told her counselor very matter-of-factly that she wished that she had a penis.

    Of course she did. It would make going to the bathroom with a broken wrist much easier. Yet none of my adult friends would ever have said such a thing aloud, maybe even thought of it. It did give me a great laugh, though.

  41. 41
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