Humor has the habit of showing up in the middle of action in everyday life. Like that all so-simple-seeming direction manual for your child’s Christmas toys… in Chinese or French. Or the overflowing washing machine that your puppy is scared of.
Yes, humor is often present right smack dab in the middle of action. Why? Because action often has unexpected reactions and everyone responds to a variety of experiences differently. The woman afraid of spiders may react completely different than the boy who collects them.
When two completely different types of people or animals are in the same situation the responses can be quite humorous.
Humor in the middle of action happens in real life, but how do we make it happen in our stories? That is a bit more tricky. Watching the TV Show Leverage gave me a couple practical applications to try in my novel.
How To Add Humor To Action:
1. Ignoring common sense. In the following clip one of the characters does something completely in opposition to common sense.
2. Stating the obvious in reaction. In the same clip we see Eliot having to instruct Parker in common sense and then seeing her be snarky back.
3. Give something the opposite attention than it deserves. For example, getting hit by a car. (Check out the following clip.)
This also works when you over dramatize something silly. Seinfeld often uses that kind of humor.
4. Make the voice of reason be reasonable and dramatic in the same exchange. In the same clip as above, we see this with Hardison saying, “Nobody is going to kill anybody, except, girl Nate is going to kill you.”
What are some of your favorite examples of humor in the midst of action from your life, fiction, television, or movies?