The other day I blogged about people who lack social filters, and how those awkward conversations are a goldmine for authors.
Now I must confess that I’ve been known to make the occasional joke that turns out to be mildly inappropriate.
Shocking, isn’t it?
The problem when you write humor is that there’s sometimes a fine line between “funny” and “what the hell?”
Case in point, my debut novel MAKING WAVES has a scene in which the hero and heroine are on the balcony of a hotel overhearing the world’s most awkward tryst on the beach below. I was going for a combination of humor and “this shouldn’t be a turn-on but kinda is.”
It was apparent from my agent’s reaction that I’d missed my mark.
“I don’t even know what this phrase is supposed to mean,” she emailed.
“That’s the point – it’s funny, you know?”
Um, no. Apparently it was funny for a few lines. Not for a few pages. The scene got trimmed, and rightfully so.
I’d like to say I only do this in writing and would never have my humor fall flat in real life, but then I’d be both a liar and a pervert.
About a month ago, I was at a friend’s party with several strangers. A gentleman struck up a conversation with me about his friend who makes beautiful, hand-carved wine bottle stoppers, and asked what shape I thought would be most marketable.
“A penis,” I told him for reasons I can no longer recall that probably seemed funny at the time.
There was some discussion about length and girth, and at one point the party’s hostess joined in and we all had a good laugh about it.
A few weeks later, the hostess called. “Remember that guy who was talking to us about the wine bottle stoppers?”
“I have something for you.”
Yes indeed, this stranger took it upon himself to go to his artist friend and request a hand-carved wooden phallus for my wine bottles. And the artist didn’t stop at merely carving. As you can see, he hand-stitched this lovely leather scrotum, complete with two disturbingly lifelike testicles.
The creator was very proud of his work, and though I hadn’t actually planned to purchase such fine custom artwork in the immediate future, I was compelled to cough up the cash and admit that my joke had fallen a bit flat.
So now I have a wine stopper that spends most of its time hidden in a drawer, and a more finely-tuned appreciation for my need to think twice when I think I’m being funny.
How about you? Ever made a joke that’s fallen flat? Or one that’s forced you to purchase a hand-carved wooden phallus? Please share in the comments.