Lately I’ve been reading And Here’s the Kicker: Coversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft by Mike Sacks, and I ran across this little gem about writing funny via Dave Barry:
It’s a lot like a magic trick, in that there’s a very mechanical way in which it’s done. There are a lot of obvious and basic structural things you do with a sentence and with a joke and how you set it up on the page. And the trick is to do it in such a way that it doesn’t look like there was any effort involved–that it’s somehow magic.
There’s a certain amount of inspiration, but there’s also a fair amount of work and repetition and practice and mechanics that are involved…
I’ve never seen it put that way before, but he’s exactly right! While cartoonists know the work involved in crafting cartoons, to pretty much everyone else it’s magic.