When the World Laughs

Photo by Гоар Авдалян on Unsplash

Every writer has a style, a personality that influences the way they write. Some may be fast and crude, others reserved and timid, and some may be witty. Some may even be all of the above!

I took my pursuit of knowledge further and sat for my Masters of Fine Arts in Writing. It’s a real thing, I promise. However, it’s not for everyone. Go for it if you’re fully funded. If not, read and write voraciously. It is crucial to have a strong vocabulary and a comprehensive knowledge of literature, including works written by poets and writers from other countries, if you plan on being a writer in any capacity. Sorry, I’m not going to debate this.

I say this because I took a class on humor for my graduate degree. Writing comedy is a lot harder than it looks. We think comedians make up things as they go along, but they don’t! Some of the more famous comedians – like late-night hosts – have a gaggle of writers at their disposal. Their entire job is to develop timely, pointed jokes, sometimes the same day a show is supposed to air! It’s a fascinating business, and I don’t think I could ever make that my job.

I like to think of myself as a funny person, but I can’t be at 100% as my day job. So I’ll leave that to the professionals!

This thought leads me to today’s discussion. Sometimes we know the right word; sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes we make a joke, and we laugh, and we don’t know why. If you’re like me, you’re wondering what makes people laugh. When you’re in a conversation, what words do people use to be funny? Then, when it’s your turn, should you say the punchline or keep it to yourself?

  • Amused
  • Bantering
  • Bitter
  • Caustic
  • Comical
  • Condescending
  • Contemptuous
  • Critical
  • Cynical
  • Disdainful
  • Droll
  • Facetious
  • Flippant
  • Giddy
  • Humorous
  • Insolent
  • Ironic
  • Irreverent
  • Joking
  • Malicious
  • Mocking
  • Patronizing
  • Pompous
  • Quizzical
  • Ribald
  • Ridiculing
  • Sad
  • Sarcastic
  • Sardonic
  • Satiric
  • Scornful
  • Sharp
  • Silly
  • Taunting
  • Teasing
  • Whimsical
  • Wry

These words remind me of temperaments that we put our characters through. Would you use one more than another? Try it out.

In summary, bear in mind that you’re not reading a Wabi-Sabi post for the plot. The title is a little bit of a misnomer, but you’ll appreciate that for what it’s worth. Maybe it’s not meant to be funny. It’s just funny that it exists.

I’ll tell you why revision is the best part of writing in your complimentary 15-minute consultation.

Guilliean Pacheco, your friendly neighborhood creativity concierge


Guilliean Pacheco (she/her) is a writer and editor of Filipino heritage and the host of the City of Writers podcast. Her work has appeared in TechTarget, Nevada Humanities, and Helen: A Literary Magazine. She has an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco and is an Anaphora Arts poetry fellow. She’s a misplaced California girl who lives in Las Vegas normally, if one could call living there normal, on Southern Paiute land. Follow her on Twitter.

Use Your Words