With all of the serious stories out there, one has to wonder if there’s still a place for some silliness. I’m not talking about a story that throws in puns and sight gags, but one that sets out to be off-the-wall. Thinks like ‘Naked Gun’ or ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. You still have great and coherent stories, but there is a zaniness to events. I guess we still have comedy movies out there, which seem to be predominantly about crudeness or determined to have a message. They still typically take place in reality and don’t try anything that makes an audience laugh in a WTF moment.
I tried this with Crossing Bedlam and its sequel, but I don’t think I was as successful as I thought. It was still very much an action adventure with some bizarre elements thrown in for laughs. Maybe that’s the best we can do too since comedy might require a secondary genre to help it along. ‘Naked Gun’ had crime adventure, ‘Hitchhikers’ had science-fiction, and most sitcoms tend to be a slice of life or coming of adventure thing. So, you probably do need some stable elements to make the humor hit harder. If all you have is craziness then you can lose people who would like some kind of plot. Even an anime I watched called ‘Amagi Brilliant Park’ had a story, which was trying to save a magical amusement park by getting 250,000 guests in 3 months. It was off-the-wall crazy and I can’t even find a gif to do it justice. I mean, it started with the female lead asking the male lead out on a date at gunpoint. Even with the insanity, it was a pretty good story that made the comedy work in its favor.
Maybe we tend to sacrifice silliness for the seriousness of adulthood because we take our jobs as authors so seriously. We want to be seen as a mature professional, so we might instinctively shy away from things that go too far. Kind of like we establish ourselves and then we can let our guard down. I didn’t even consider making a character like Lloyd Tenay until I had a lot of Legends of Windemere under my belt. Makes some sense since we don’t always release our full zaniness with friends until we’re comfortable enough to feel that they won’t turn us into the men in white coats. Still, it does feel like we’re seeing less and less in terms of silly stories. At least in books, which could mean that people are becoming more accustomed to comedy been seen or heard instead of reading about it.
I’m genuinely trying to think of the last book I read that had a lot of comedy, but I’m coming up blank. I don’t want to say it was ‘Hitchhikers’ because that was a very long time ago. So, I’m going to open up the floor and see if anybody knows of some good comedic books. At the very least, maybe we’ll come up with a few thoughts on silly stories in general. Do people even like them? Is it because people have become very critical of comedy?