There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you guys.
No, I’m not actually a man. And it’s a good thing, because I’d be horrible at it. I don’t know how to fix or install anything and I take way too long to get ready.
Nah. The truth is, I’ve been taking a writing class.
I’ve been thinking about taking a class for a while now, and it was actually my New Year’s resolution for 2012. Realizing that the clock was running out, I signed up a few weeks ago.
…… and part of me also did it because I thought there was a chance Jason Schwartzman might be teaching it. And that he might fall madly in love with me.
Shocker: he’s not.
The class is specifically targeted at comedy writing; so I guess you could say I’m testing out the age-old question of whether or not you can actually learn to be funny.
I was excited, but also nervous for my first class. I had so many questions… like what should I wear? And could I bring a pad and paper to class, or would that be lame? What if all the other kids brought iPads or MacBooks? Or worse, what if no one else even showed up and just phoned in via Skype … or hologram:
Luckily, my fears were assuaged as soon as I walked in the door. There are only about 10 people in the class, and it’s a real mixed bag- from a girl about my age with dreams of being a screenwriter, to drama geeks and aspiring novelists, to a middle-aged man who was recently laid off and now wants to do something totally different with his life. There’s also an older man with a long white beard who may or may not be Santa Claus. And if he is, that’s kind of concerning… because it’s probably getting close to crunch time up there in the North Pole and someone should really be supervising the whole toy-making operation.
Anyway, the first week we did a few ice breakers and spent some time talking about different comedic devices and various forms of humour. Then our teacher gave us our first assignment: a 3-5 page piece about something funny that happened to us, to be read aloud in class the following week.
I’m not going to lie, I was freaking out a little bit. I distinctly got the impression that my teacher didn’t appreciate my sense of humour after we got into an argument in class about whether anthropomorphism (i.e. animals doing people things) was a legitimate comedic device. I plead my case using this as an example:
“A pircture of a cat baking…..” he asked, confusedly. “And you think that’s funny?”
So, yeah. I didn’t have high hopes my story would be well received. Plus, although I write a lot on my blog, they are mostly shorter pieces that rely on funny gifs and the aforementioned hilarious cat pictures to supplement my bad jokes. This was different. No pictures. No crossout text. Just me.
The other thing about blogging is that after you hit “publish”, you can hide behind your computer screen and never have to face whether people will laugh or not. The worst that can happen is you don’t get a lot of “likes” or “comments”.. but you’ll never have to endure a room full of awful, deafening silence. And that’s what I feared might happen to me.
After much stress and anxiety, I pulled together a sort of composite piece about funny Thanksgiving memories in our family and hoped for the best.
I was the last to present, and got to hear everyone else’s stories first. One girl wrote an entire piece about burritos. Another man wrote about his dead Aunt Phyllis. It really ran the gamut.
When it was my turn, I was incredibly nervous and looked down at my paper basically the entire time…but shockingly, people laughed. I’m not going to question why, or if it was out of pity.. all I know is that it felt really good. After the first few chuckles, it got easier, and by the end I realized that I was actually enjoying myself.
Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that with blogging, although you largely eliminate the possibility of rejection, you also miss out on the upside. Hearing people laugh at your jokes feels.. well, really awesome.
I’m not out of the woods yet. This week’s assignment is to write a topical piece about something funny in the news, which might prove more difficult. I wish I could make Seth Meyers magically appear and help me out with this one… and then be my boyfriend.
Can you tell I have a thing for funny guys?